The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Young Adult Fiction

The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee

It’s finally here! The third and final installment of the Montague siblings has arrived, and it is well worth the wait! The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks introduces you to Adrian Montague, the youngest of the Montague siblings, and the only one who is completely unaware that he has siblings. When Adrian discovers a partial spy glass that belonged to his mother, questions arise: Where did this spy glass come from And did it have anything to do with his mother’s death?

While searching for answers, Adrian stumbles across Henry “Monty” Montague, the brother Adrian never knew he had. Adrian is delighted and curious to discover more about his brother, but Monty wants nothing to do with him. Yet after some persuasion, Monty decides to assist Adrian on this quest for answers. Adrian and Monty now find themselves embarking on a journey to find their sister Felicity and discover the secrets of the spy glass. But as always, a simple task for the Montague siblings will take a Herculean effort to keep them out of trouble and alive. The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks is one of the best books I have read this year. It’s filled with laughter, very relatable characters, mystery, and ghosts. Mackenzi Lee has created a historical world that takes the reader into the past and gives us characters that we can recognize and relate to.

The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee, (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062916013, November 2021)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson

Lydia has no choice but to turn to her passion for programming when her whole family becomes either dead or estranged. She fabricates an AI, named after her deceased brother, who makes hacking incredibly easier while comforting her when no one else will. However, Lydia could never predict just how advanced–and sentient–her AI would become. Gibson takes a unique approach with the topic of grief in this science fiction novel. Lydia is given great depth as we explore her realistic, complex feelings and motives. This is an intriguing story about coping with personal loss and finding friendship in the most unlikely of ways.

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson, (List Price: $18.99, Chicken House, 9781338726589, November 2021)

Reviewed by Flyleaf Books YA Advisory Board, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Handmaids Tale meets Lord of the Flies in The Grace Year. I feel like this one flew under the radar but it is truly an amazing coming-of-age story. This is probably the best new YA Dystopia we’ve had in the past few years.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett, (List Price: $10.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250145451, October 2020)

Reviewed by Katherine Downey, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Briseis is out of the school for the summer. Her moms want her to have fun, but all she wants to do is work with the plants at their family flower shop in Brooklyn. See, Briseis has the ability to make things grow rapidly and from the smallest of plant parts. But when they get word that her biological aunt has died (Briseis is adopted) and has left her a vast estate, they head up to check it out. But not everything is as it seems. This quirky story has a little bit of everything: a secret garden, magic, immortality, Greek mythology… And that’s barely scratching the surface!

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron, (List Price: 18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547603909, 2021-06-29)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards

This is a great, tight little YA mystery! information is revealed slowly but not too slowly, so you’re drawn into the plot and want the characters to solve the puzzles. The “ticking clock” mechanic is never exactly explained, but it gives the story a sense of urgency that makes it feel more intense than your average scavenger hunt. It touches on sensitive topics (such as domestic violence and parental abuse) but I think the author does a good job of pulling the question of “what would you do for your brother?” all the way through the story. Totally unexpected twist ending, which wasn’t really set up but was entertaining nonetheless!


Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards, (List Price: $10.99, Sourcebooks Fire, 9781728215785, November 2021)

Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia


Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

Well. That was nuts. Khaw threw together a fast-paced ghost story, the bitter lyricism of her writing conveying the complexity of feelings when you have History with someone, as well as the surreal when an offended ghost decides it’s making an example out of you.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, (List Price: $19.99, Tor Nightfire, 9781250759412, October 2021)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally

Mari is visiting Chicago for Lollapalooza, a chance to see her favorite singer, hang out with her stepsister and see her Dad. Mari is struggling with personal issues- things are rough at home with her mom, her relationship with her best friend is strained, and she is still dealing with resentment towards her father for ditching her and her mom to go live his best life. And she really, really doesn’t want to date and fall in love. But then a Ride Share brings her T.J. Here’s why I love the title of the book: The Pick-Up is definitely referencing the Uber app, but T.J.’s brother Tyler kind of also comes across as a Pick-Up Artist coach to his little bro. Thankfully, T.J. is too pure. He’s like a sexy cinnamon roll. Mari and T.J. have immediate chemistry, but Mari is wary (hehe)- they’re both from out of state, she’s not looking for a boyfriend, her dad cheated on her mom, and then her mom went off the deep end. Sometimes things are destined, and sometimes you have to make things happen. Absolute love for this book!

The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally, (List Price: 10.99, Sourcebooks Fire, 9781492684169, September 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young

What would you do if you were recruited to be a kpop idol? When Alice Choy moves from San Francisco to Seoul, she gives up her private studies in music and singing lessons in hopes that she’ll be able to finish school like any other seventeen-year-old. But when she’s scouted at a karaoke bar, her life changes in an instant. Alice is swiftly introduced to a world she’s always wanted to explore in the k-pop industry. But, being an idol doesn’t only entail fame or musical prowess–it also comes with jealousy, scandal, and gossip, all on top of the challenges of training in order to be the best performer possible. This was such a fun read and the perfect book for any k-pop fan.

Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young, (List Price: 18.99, Walker Books US, 9781536213645, 2021-09-14)

Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins

I always knew I was more a glamper than a camper, but with The Woods Are Always Watching, I think I’ll go from hiker to mall walker. The first half of the book is filled with the tension and horror of a friendship falling apart as two besties find themselves on opposite paths post-high school. Friends really know how to hurt you the most…Well, maybe not the most. Because the second half of the book is a furious fight for survival as the girls encounter the most evil threat that lurks deep in the woods. No, not bears, but a serial killer. Plan to read this horror novel during the daytime, preferably on a beach and far away from any woods!

The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins, (List Price: 17.99, Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780525426028, August 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

In the Wild Light is a beautiful tribute to family, friendship, and the natural world. Zentner handles all three subjects with a gentle hand, weaving magical sentences that left me thoughtful and tearful. This is Zentner at his absolute best.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner, (List Price: 17.99, Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524720247, August 2021)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh

Oh my gosh, this was so much fun! If you’re a fan of Phantom of the Opera, you HAVE to read this modern spin on the classic tale. With references to everything from Ghost Adventures to Silence of the Lambs, this is an awesome read for fans of Phantom. Stephanie (this version’s Christine) is no wilting wallflower – she takes control of her own destiny, and Erik’s tragic tale is spun into an even more heartbreaking story. I could barely put this down to go to bed! Themes of romance that transcends time and space, the shattering of a soul, and love of family spread their fingers throughout this book, and it is beautiful. I loved it!

Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh, (List Price: 19.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593116043, August 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

The problem with Kalynn Bayron’s books is that they are so good I never want the book to end. Is it possible to have ten of her books ready so I can read back to back? Briseis has a magical gift of growing plants with just a touch. Her aunt passes away and Briseis inherits an estate which she initially hesitates moving to; however, she discovers she can practice her gift with freedom. Not long after she and her parents move in strange things begin happening and she discovers the reason why she has these powers and how to protect her family. This was such an amazing escape that I could not get enough of!

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron, (List Price: 18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547603909, June 2021)

Reviewed by Deanna Bailey, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

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

A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

I loved the world-building in this fantasy debut! Rueckert created two different religious systems and blended them expertly into the cultures of the different countries. Newly-queened Jiara must understand both if she’s to lead in peace, AND find out who murdered her sister Scilla, who is quickly becoming a pretty scary earthwalker, a ghost consumed by revenge to find her killer. There’s a lot going on with high stakes but the pacing flows well so it is never overwhelming. Jiara is an awesome protagonist you want to follow to the ends of worlds. She’s brave and kind and is constantly on herself for not living up to her older sister’s legacy due to her undiagnosed dyslexia. But she always looks for the Next Best Thing and by opening her heart to her new people, their Watcher religion (while still embracing her own) she learns so much about her own capabilities. Her relationship with King Raffar is awesome and sweet and so refreshing.

A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert, (List Price: 9.99, Flux, 9781635830651, 2021-08-03)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Ellerie with her twin brothers and sisters live in the peaceful Amity Falls that sit on the edge of a dangerous wood. Bells and great pyres keep the darkness at bay, but when strangers appear and Ellerie’s brother Sam starts acting bizarre and hostile, Ellerie finds herself wondering what she would trade to have her parents home and everything back to normal. But in small towns, darkness often isn’t outside, but within the hearts of its residents. Wow. just wow. This is a stunning sophomore novel from Craig, author of House of Salt and Sorrows. I was blown away by the build-up and the dark atmosphere. I stayed up late, laundry sat unwashed, and I was utterly entranced by all the characters in this story. I loved Ellerie and her courage as well as the mysterious Whitaker who stole my heart along with hers. This is going to be one of the most popular books of 2021, so don’t miss out!

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig, (List Price: 18.99, Delacorte Press, 9780593306741, July 2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Fans of GET OUT and SAWKILL GIRLS, prepare to meet Jake Livingston. Ryan Douglass’s debut is gritty and extremely tough to read at times, but with social issues at the forefront and a hero worth rooting for, THE TAKING OF JAKE LIVINGSTON is a deep novel that holds back no punches. Queer, eerie, and heart-wrenching, Douglass takes his readers on an emotional rollercoaster through these horror events – both paranormal and real-life.

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass, (List Price: 17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9781984812537, July 2021)

Reviewed by Brad Sells, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson

Erica and Thomas love each other. It’s promising that they can look forward to a new relationship together–until Erica wakes up one morning to see her body vandalized with vulgar drawings, offensive words, and several names, including Thomas’. This debut is enhanced through Erica and Thomas’ own perspectives, in which Gustafson fleshes them out very well and provides two sides to this engrossing story. I’m positive that After the Ink Dries will inspire somebody, as it succeeds in illustrating the struggle-but also the possibility- of having courage and hope when it seems like the world is against you.

After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson, (List Price: 19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534473690, July 2021)

Reviewed by Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

An exiled princess, a deathly curse, dragons, and magic come together to make Six Crimson Cranes a breathtaking fantasy that had me hooked from the very first chapter. Elizabeth Lim’s world-building is lush and dreamy, the fantasy spin makes this story dark and vivid, and Shiori and her brothers quickly began to feel like old friends to me. If you love fantasy and books that feel like a fairytale, I dare you to pick up Six Crimson Cranes and try to set it down – prepare to be addicted.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, (List Price: 18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593300916, July 2021)

Reviewed by Brad Sells, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison

The idea of a twisted fairy tale is nothing new, but this book’s “dear reader” style and the changes it chooses to make to the traditional format are absolutely fantastic. I absolutely devoured this book. I was laughing one minute, and holding my breath in terror the next! If you like modern interpretations of classic stories, with curses, ghosts, princesses, with a healthy dose of laughter in between – read this book now!

How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison, (List Price: 18.95, Black Spot Books, 9781733599481, July 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

Eerie and chilling to the bone, The River Has Teeth is a razor-sharp novel that had me devouring its secrets late into the night. Unique magic and two girls set on their own quests for vengeance will keep readers turning these pages – and looking over their shoulder for any monsters in the night.

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters, (List Price: 17.99, HarperTeen, 9780062894250, June 2021)

Reviewed by Brad Sells, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

A queer, Black book inspired by The Secret Garden and Little Shop of Horrors with a flower-powerful, badass girl at the center trying to unravel a family mystery. I simply can’t love it more. It’s amazing and you need it in your life.

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron, (List Price: 18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547603909, July 2021)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans, Louisiana

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

For fans of love triangles and fierce heroines that kick butt, These Hollow Vows is a dark fantasy full of twists and betrayals. I found it a delightful story that I couldn’t help but tear through. The author’s writing is engaging as much as it is enchanting and I have a feeling that Brie is going to charm many readers. I can’t wait for the next installment!

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan, (List Price: 17.99, HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780358386575, July 2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

In a near-futuristic Toronto, blood contains enough genetic material to determine people’s career, their success, and even love life–and for Voya and her family, it also contains an ancestral link to powerful magic. Until, possibly, Voya. As her bloodline hangs in the balance, Voya has to come to terms with who she is, where she comes from, and who she really loves to become the witch she’s always wanted to be. This futuristic fantasy is POWERFUL, to say the least.

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury, (List Price: 19.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534465282, June, 2021)

Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Inspired by Argentinian myth, this coming-of-age tale is packed with magic, friendship, and adventure as Manu tries to find her place in a world where she has always felt unwanted only to stumble into a new one altogether. Intriguing from the very start, Garber writes a story comprised of lovable characters, relevant social commentary, and just enough mystery to always keep you guessing.

Lobizona by Romina Garber (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250239129, 8/4/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard, author of the popular Red Queen series, is back with a new fantasy series. Odd things are happening in Allward. When a battle with Elders and mortals alike is lost, leaving only two survivors, they know they’re in over their heads, but everyone in power is reluctant to help. Instead, Dom, an Elder, decides to head out on his own to solve the problem. He gets help from an assassin, a pirate’s daughter, and a squire along the way, forming a cadre with a forger, a bounty hunter, and a witch. But the road to victory is hard and they don’t know who to trust.

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (List Price: $19.99, HarperTeen, 9780062872623, 5/4/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund

This fast-moving and well-written book tells the story of three girls, and how they dealt with the three boys in their lives (one’s twin brother, one’s ex-boyfriend, and one’s crush). After the boys die in a freak plane accident where they were the pilots, the girls work together to figure out what really happened. This book also dives into the deeper themes of the pressures put on high school students when it comes to grades and athletics, mental health, and the social image that a student is trying to uphold.

The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund (List Price: $18.99, Philomel Books, 9780525518037, 4/13/2021)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Lara has been crushing on Chase since she was a little girl. Now it’s senior year and he’s finally noticing her. But on the first day of school, in walks Lara’s summer friend/romance Jasmine–in town to stay. Lara’s into Chase, but she also can’t forget about Jasmine. What’s she going to do now? I loved how we not only get a questioning bi-romance, but also get some good friendship dynamics in Cool for the Summer. If you’re looking for a light summer read that also manages some heavy emotions in a Grease vibe, look no further!

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250765826, 5/11/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

I have been waiting for this book since it was announced and I have to say–it is even better than I was hoping it would be. This follow up to The Hate U Give tells the story of Maverick Carter in his teenage years. Starting when he finds out he’s a father and going until just before Starr’s birth, Thomas takes us back to the Garden and once again shows us how to walk in someone else’s shoes. Mav is trying to be the best man and father he can be. He finds a “straight” job at a local store to get away from the world of drug sales and gangs but the money isn’t enough to support him and his growing family. Will he be able to get out from under the thumb of King, his friend turned leader of the King Lords and provide for his family? You won’t be able to put this down until you see how it ends and even then you will wish for more stories from this universe.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (List Price: $19.99, Balzer +Bray, 9780062846716, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

I really really enjoyed this book! It’s perfect fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Frankly in Love! There’s fake dating, and you will absolutely love it! I couldn’t get enough of this book!

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534462458, 11/10/2020)

Reviewed by Brittany Bunzey, Read With Me, A Childrens Book & Art Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Priya has moved all the way across the country from New Jersey to Stanford to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. But when she gets Lyme disease from a tick, everything is out on hold while she moves back home to deal with her chronic disease. She’s in pain most of the time, bit ends up finding solace in those with similar conditions online. She discovers one friend in particular, Brigid, lives only about an hour away and when Brigid disappears from the group and stops answering texts, Priya steals the family car to visit her. However, she instead of Brigid, Priya finds an enormous dog/wolf-like animal locked in the basement. She accidentally lets it out, but locks it in the bathroom and calls animal control. But all they find in the bathroom…is Brigid. This was a fun story that also shed a light on how hard it is for people who have a chronic illness, but also the great friendships you can find if you’re open to it.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal (List Price: $18.99, Quirk Books, 9781683692348, 4/27/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews

I really enjoyed this read! I blew through it and actually read most of it on New Years Eve! What a perfect way to ring in the new year! This is perfect for your younger readers who are reading up, and honestly it can be enjoyed any time of the year!

New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews (List Price: $9.99, Underlined, 9780593179857, 12/1/2020)

Reviewed by Brittany Bunzey, Read With Me, A Children’s Book & Art Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I finally had the privilege to read this legendary trilogy while forced into quarantine, and I’m sorry I waited this long. The world of the Grisha, the characters, and the villain was amazing and immersive. It only made me want to dive into the rest of the novels set in this world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (List Price: $10.99, Square Fish, 9781250027436, 5/7/2013)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Not Our Summer by Casie Bazay

Becca and KJ are cousins, both about to graduate from high school. But because their mothers are estranged, they don’t know each other at all. When their maternal grandfather dies, they have to come together for the reading of his will. In it, their grandfather has given both of the girls and both of their mothers a nice sum of money. The only catch is that the girls must complete a five-part bucket list before they get the money. The list is a set of things the grandfather always wanted to do, but his mounting agoraphobia wouldn’t let him. I LOVE that we have a story that, at its root, is about friendship. And while there’s a smidge of romance, it’s FAR from the main plot. It took me a moment to warm up to the two girls, but in the end, I enjoyed them, flaws and all.

Not Our Summer by Casie Bazay (List Price: $17.99, Running Press Kids, 9780762472291, 5/11/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

Parachutes by Kelly Yand

Parachutes is a story I won’t soon forget. This coming-of-age tale is told from the perspectives of teenagers Dani and Claire as they find their worlds turned upside down. Claire is ripped from her wealthy life in Shanghai to attend a high school in California where Dani is her new host sister. Claire finds herself quickly immersed in a new group of friends as she tries to adjust to her new life. But debate star Dani De La Cruz has problems of her own, and the two don’t exactly hit it off. However, they eventually find themselves leaning on one another as they tackle situations too big to handle alone.

Parachutes by Kelly Yand (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062941084, 5/26/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

Alex is a teenager with a secret–he can see the future when he touches objects and people. Sometimes it’s mundane, like seeing him put on his own shoes, and sometimes it’s devastating, like seeing his little brother Isaiah’s gravestone. Alex knows he probably can’t change the future, can’t stop all the ways death might come for his brother–especially in a neighborhood gripped with racial tension–but maybe he has time to connect with Isaiah before he loses him for good. This book will gut you in all the right ways.

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534445451, 4/6/2021)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold

It could be argued that now is not the time to read post-apocalyptic stories of flu-flies and societal breakdowns. But I am hard-pressed to think of a time when The Electric Kingdom is not worth delving into. I loved absolutely everything about this book. With characters and prose that you can’t get enough of (Oh Kit, you had me from the moment we met in the library) this story is a captivating yet poignant reminder that hope and beauty can be found even in the midst of ruin; that the simplicity of survival can teach us more than a life of luxury ever could and most importantly, that we are all connected in ways our minds may only begin to understand. Defying genre, The Electric Kingdom is at once elegantly eerie and tragically comforting.

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593202227, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Ashley Bryan, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

American Royals II: Majesty by Katharine McGee

Dramatic and soapy in the best way! This face-paced sequel to American Royals took turns I wasn’t expecting, and I enjoyed every second. After finishing Majesty, I’m even more obsessed with the initial premise of this series–American Royals, yes please!

American Royals II: Majesty by Katharine McGee (List Price: $18.99, Random House Books for Young Readers, 9781984830210, 9/1/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

Better Than the Movies is such a joy of a book! You’ve got enemies to lovers with a main character who has the energy of Jack Black’s character in The Holiday–goofy and sweet, full of love and loss, and of course, a deep, nerdy love for movie soundtracks. Better Than the Movies will have you squealing and swooning, and you definitely need this on your shelves!

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534467620, 5/4/2021)

Reviewed by Brittany Bunzey, Read With Me, A Childrens Book & Art Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

A beautiful story about love and loss, and how sometimes those things can be really complicated. Acevedo is obviously a master storyteller in both prose and verse. Clap When You Land is no exception to her brilliance. More than anything, I appreciate the reverence with which Acevedo writes. You can tell how important it is to her to tell stories about and for girls who are underrepresented in YA. Honestly, she is one of my author crushes (and I will read anything she writes).

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (List Price: $18.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062882769, 5/5/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Project by Courtney Summers

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

Orphaned and betrayed, Lo Denham seeks to uncover the truth about the organization that her sister thinks saved her. However, the closer Lo gets to the Unity Project, the more she struggles to make sense of her own traumatic past. Perfect for fans of dark YA thrillers, The Project is a chilling story sure to leave readers speechless.

The Project by Courtney Summers (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250105738, 2/2/2021)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Raffy LOVES cosplay. So, he’s been furiously working on an entry for a local convention with his friend May. But he has several obstacles, not the least of which is an unsupportive mother and his ex, Luca, who has entered with one of their other friends. But Raffy is a natural with a sequin and he’s sure he can pull this one off. This delightful romance-meets-cosplay book from Ryan La Sala is perfect timing for those of us with the blues from missing our favorite conventions this year.

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala (List Price: $17.99, Sourcebooks Fire, 9781492682691, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

Pudge and Prejudice by A.K. Pittman

Take Pride and Prejudice and set it in the mid 80s at a high school in Texas and you’ve got Pudge and Prejudice. Elyse and Jayne Nebbit have moved to Texas with their parents and three younger sisters. Their new school is obsessed with football and their star quarterback, Billy Fitz. And Elyse finds herself a little obsessed with Billy herself. We’ve all read retellings where the changes are obnoxious and make the story too far in tone and theme from the original. I’m glad to say that one is true to the original, while still updating it for 1980s Texas. This was a sweet, fun story about teens, but which works well for preteens as well.

Pudge and Prejudice by A.K. Pittman (List Price: $15.99, Wander, 9781496442833, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder

A. K. Wilder creates a delightful world of savants and phantoms: creatures made to serve those who call them. Ash is a non-savant who somehow gets the attention of phantoms that aren’t even supposed to acknowledge her when she doesn’t have a phantom of her own. Marcus is the heir to the throne Ash serves and she follows him to the mysterious island of Aku where he must tame his own powerful phantom. Their guide to Aku, Kaylin, has his own secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder (List Price: $18.99, Entangled: Teen, 9781640634145, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

This had me at the edge of my seat from beginning to end. If you love Greek mythology you will love this! Every seven years, nine Greek gods must walk the earth as mortals and the descendants of Ancient Bloodlines hunt them to steal their powers and immortality. Lore ran away from this world when her family was brutally murdered by a rival line. But she comes across her childhood friend Castor and the goddess Athena before a hunt, and after binding her fate with Athena, she enters the hunt to fight a new god and to avenge her family and save her home: New York City.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken (List Price: $18.99, Disney-Hyperion, 9781484778203, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Girl on the Line by Faith Gardner

Growing up is hard. Add social media and an unattainable view of what beauty is and being a teenage girl feels like nothing will change and life is hell. When Journey recovers from her suicide attempt she must figure out how to go forward and how to interact with her family and friends. Achingly raw and beautifully written. A must read.

Girl on the Line by Faith Gardner (List Price: $17.99, HarperTeen, 9780063022300, 1/19/2021)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy’s Pumpkin is a delight. I was so happy to return to Clover City and meet brand new characters–twins Waylon and Clementine–and see a bunch of familiar faces, including previous protagonists Willowdean and Millie. Fans of Dumplin’ and Puddin’ will not be disappointed!

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062880451, 5/25/2021)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson

Noa wakes up and he’s in a spacesuit, floating outside a ship. In space. But he has zero idea how he got there. Not only that, but inside the ship are DJ and Jenny and neither of them knows how they got there either. I read this author’s The State of Us and LOVED it, so I knew I’d be up for this one. It’s an entirely different genre, but still has the same humor and heart.

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson (List Price: $19.99, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448537, 1/19/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

With You All the Way by Cynthia Hand

The night after Ada’s failed attempt to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, she catches him cheating on her. But their family is soon off for a 9day stay in Hawaii at a yearly medical conference, so she hopes that will take her mind off things. But she’s in a fight with her older sister and then her stepdad drops the bomb that he’s staying home from this trip and Ada just feels worse. This was a sweet story, full of high drama and I am here for it. I loved how flawed and real the characters were and this compulsively readable story kept me entertained from the start.

With You All the Way by Cynthia Hand (List Price: $17.99, HarperTeen, 9780062693198, 3/30/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

Valeria may have not been trapped by the mystical freeze that stole her family and village away but she never really escaped. She realizes this is true when she’s blackmailed into returning with her best friend she thought she’d lost the year before. In order to earn his freedom and her own, she must go back to the cursed village and hope to survive once more. This story was fantastic! Twisty and terrifying, I tore through it at a ridiculously fast pace. I can’t wait for the next installment!

The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski (List Price: $17.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062871503, 3/2/2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Just Our Luck by Julia Walton

Just Out Luck is a moving and absolutely hilarious tale about Leo, a high school boy all caught up in his own anxiety. Leo normally keeps his head down, but a fight with another boy at school starts a strange chain reaction, tangling Leo up in something he thought he never would have been part of by choice. I absolutely loved the character building in this amazing, touching book.

Just Our Luck by Julia Walton (List Price: $17.99, Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780399550928, 12/29/2020)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff

“Everyone thinks they have to save the world, but they have to save themselves first.”

Amina is a new student at the prestigious Gardner Academy. A scholarship student from the Boston area, her parents send her to the boarding school after an attack on their Temple leaves her with persistent nightmares and an unhealthy obsession with the specter of Fascism. She has no interest in leaving home, but once at Gardner she meets a group of like-minded students who also fear a coming crisis. Together they form the Eucalyptus Club and work together to prepare for such events as nuclear holocaust or government overthrow. But someone is targeting their group with malicious intent, and it will take all of them to find out who. In How to Pack for the End of the World, Michelle Falkoff mixes the mundane every day of high school (albeit an elite boarding school) with the very real existential dread that today’s youth must learn to cope with. The concerns of Eucalyptus are based in reality and while the games the students play may seem too direct at times, they will speak to a generation that is growing increasingly intent on speaking out before it is too late.

How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff (List Price: $17, HarperTeen, 9780062680266, 11/10/2020)

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

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

Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis

Fans of Romeo and Juliet retellings will love this especially with the diverse characters! Jerzie Jhames is competing for a lead role for a hip hop Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet–Roman and Jewel. She falls short of her dreams and becomes the understudy for Jewel, while the lead title goes to celebrity actress singer Cinny. As Jerzie wallows in her disappointment, she meets Zeppelin Reid, the handsome lead actor for Roman. It’s love at first sight, and as they get to know one another, they begin their own Romeo and Juliet story. I love reading teenage black girls stories, especially about their first love!

Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335070623, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Albert’s fairytales are filled with the dark beauty and decay of withering roses and fog-filled forests. Many of them are nightmare-inducing but all of them are too enthralling to put down and I wondered if Albert may have bespelled me herself; her prose is that good. Tales from the Hinterland is for girls too covered in thorns for a traditional tale and for all who dream of a dark starless sky.

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert (List Price: $19.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250302724, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Sami Thomason, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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

Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller

I’ll straight up say I’m not much of a thriller girl. I much prefer fantasy and magic over “the true monster is man”. But Don’t Tell a Soul is definitely an exception. It’s called a modern Rebecca, but I cannot attest to the veracity of that as it is one of the rare classics I didn’t read!

Bram is just trying to escape her own secrets when she stumbles into the deep ones of Louth. I personally adored every character in this tale, they’re all extremely well developed and I loved trying to hatch their secrets as I read. Nothing is as it seems, and the twists and turns will have the reader up at night. Highly recommend for any thriller/mystery lover, especially those who like a nice dose of smart and clever teenagers more mature beyond their years.

Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller (List Price: $17.99, Delacorte Press, 9780525581208, 1/26/2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

What’s starts off as a light and cheery coming-of-age story, quickly turns as unexpected sisters and family drama are tossed in. Abby Day is a relatable teen struggling with boy problems and AP Lit, when she suddenly learns that she has a sister! As she and her influencer sister try to uncover the mystery of their separation, they learn to appreciate each other not just as friends, but as sisters. Emma Lord’s story is unique and modern, detailing the trials of family, making careers out of passions, and navigating friendships, making it all I could think about for the last few days. Though, all Abby’s family drama makes me grateful the worst thing my sister ever did was go see Harry Styles without me!

You Have a Match by Emma Lord (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250237309, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Silky Hou, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Henri relies on his charm in all aspects of his life, but that charm doesn’t extend to his classmate Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honorable dog-walking business, she blackmails him into extending some of that charm into helping her social life. Philippe has once again written a cast of characters that readers will love and puts them in realistic dilemmas that will make readers laugh and cringe in solidarity.

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (List Price: $18.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062824141, 9/8/2020)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Into the Real by Z Brewer

Into the Real deserves its own genre of gender queer science fiction. Main character Quinn’s life gets split into thirds after a run-in with the always present Coe in their post apocalyptic town. From leader of the resistance to a patient at a conversion therapy camp, Quinn finds themself in different situations but still with the same town, people, and questions. With each different life, they must decide what’s more important–living true to themself or blending in. With a revealing truth at the end, Quinn realizes what really happened to her hometown.

Into the Real by Z Brewer (List Price: $17.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062691385, October, 2020)

Reviewed by Nannette Matthews, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Ash is a typical white All-American football-playing teen. Then he gets tackled into another dimension, and has to confront issues he’s never directly faced before. From homophobia to racism, sexism to privilege, Ash gets a crash course on every hard-hitting issue we face today. This is an important and timeless tale about perceiving a world beyond your own.

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman (List Price: $17.95, Quill Tree Books, 9780061998676, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Lizy Coale, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

The final volume in Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreakers series is here and it did not disappoint! The world of Emberfall and Syhl Shallow are set to go to war as Rhen grapples with the sorceress who won’t stay dead and Grey realizes he might have to fight his own brother. The story is split between four points of view and we get to see Harper and Lia Mara’s struggles as well. I received an early reader’s copy of A Vow so Bold and Deadly and I enjoyed every breathless second! The writing was just as captivating as the first two and there were so many adorable swoon-worthy moments squeezed in between the political intrigue and struggles of these new young rulers. I devoured the first two books just as quickly as I did this one, but I already find myself eager to reread the entire series as a whole. This story started out as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but became its own unique story with fantastic twists and turns to keep any reader satiated and satisfied by the end. I would recommend this story for anyone who enjoyed the first two as well as those who enjoy some political intrigue with their romance.

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (List Price: $18.99, Bloomsbury YM, 9781547602582, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

I… adore this series, and the finale was no different. After book two where I was left terrified for Rhen and Harper, since I still love them more than I could ever love Gray and Lia Mara, I wondered how in the world book three could end happily. Somehow–I say that as if I didn’t trust Brigid entirely–she did it! It was bittersweet, but it was beautiful. I adore Harper still, that headstrong, beautiful girl who doesn’t take Rhen’s nonsense. And Rhen! My wonderful, selfless, traumatized boy. Their POVs mixed with Gray and Lia Mara just worked out so perfectly I wasn’t left wanting at all. Everything wrapped up so wonderfully and honestly, I would love to have another book set years later to see the aftermath, if Brigid was so kind as to give us that.

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (List Price: $18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547602582, 1/26/2021)

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

There isn’t another writer out there like Kristin Cashore. Her gift for capturing the inner pain and struggle of a character is unfathomable in its depth. Everyone who loved Bitterblue will be thrilled to see how her character has grown into a brilliant queen, and it’s a thrill to be back with Giddon and Hava, too. Most important, readers are going to fall in love with Lovisa, a conflicted daughter of Winterkeep torn between the truth she desperately wishes to hide from and her moral compass. This isn’t even mentioning the telepathic foxes, mysterious sea creatures, and expansive world-building that Cashore weaves into the story. I’m delighted with this new book in my favorite fantasy realm and have no doubt readers new and old will be too.

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore (List Price: $19.99, Dial Books, 9780803741508, 1/19/2021)

Reviewed by Sami Thomason, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Balzer + Bray, January

I loved HAPPILY EVER AFTERS. It’s one of those wonderful reads that leaves it’s readers nose-wrinkling happy. It’s a wonderful exploration of new and old best friends, family dynamics, and the pressure we put on ourselves and on living up to the expectations of others that can sometimes lead to paralysis. This book is absolutely lovely, and I’d easily pick it up to read it again.

– Brittany Bunzey, Read With Me: A Childrens Book & Art Shop in Raleigh, NC

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Melody is in her junior year of high school and all her dreams have come true. She finally gets to be the stage manager of her high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. But the theatre is riddled with superstition. Every new play has a new superstition and a counter-curse for that superstition. So, when Melody’s love life causes problems with their current play the stage kids decide that when Melody is in love, that’s when things go wrong. The superstition for the spring musical is going to be that Melody doesn’t fall in love. Melody is on board with the plan. But that’s before their local celebrity, Odile Rose, comes back from filming a TV show and is cast in the musical. Everyone thought Odile was snobby and standoffish, but she’s not that way with Melody…

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley (List Price: $17.99, HarperTeen, 9780062409263, 12/1/2020)
Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Poston delivers a unique new fantasy world in Among the Beasts & Briars, and I am here for it! Aloriya has been safe and prosperous for hundreds of years, kept safe by the crown worn by their ruler. But when the king dies and his daughter isn’t crowned for a few days as she mourns, their world is put into peril. Cerys, the gardener’s daughter and best friend to the princess, is cursed from the forbidden wood that borders Aloriya, and it’s up to her to save them all.

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062847362, 10/20/2020)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

I absolutely adore this clever, cozy, flower-dotted novel that manages to be gentle and whimsical and yet serve up scenes of truly spine-tingling eldritch horror. Written in the vein of Diana Wynne Jones and featuring the absolute Very Best Fox of young adult literature, this is a story that spans the gap between middle grade and adult fantasy readers. I would recommend this to fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and An Enchantment of Ravens equally, and I cannot wait to read more Ashley Poston.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062847362, 10/20/2020)

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

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

A brilliantly nerdy rom-com about being yourself with effervescent joy. David Yoon is the master of teen-talk and I loved these characters like I loved my friends in high school. Sunny Dae, fake rock star and geek extraordinaire, is the kind of teen male protagonist who reads realistically, through every ill-conceived plan and rock star salute. I love him and I love Super Fake Love Song.

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon (List price: $18.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers,9781984812230, November 2020), recommended by Sami Thomason-Fyke, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

After a whirlwind–and somewhat embarrassing–first encounter, Birdie doesn’t expect to meet Daniel again. Then she shows up for her first night shift at a quirky hotel and realizes that she’s about to become his coworker. Set against the artsy, eclectic backdrop of Seattle, this sweet and sex-positive romance charmed me at every turn.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534425156, January, 2021).

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC.

Eventide by Sarah Goodman

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
Tor Teen | 9781250224736
October 6, 2020

An evocative YA historical fantasy thriller by debut author Sarah Goodman, for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray

MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES

Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect…

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.

Soulswift by Megan Bannen

This beautifully bittersweet stand alone asks “what would you do if your entire reason for being was built on lies? Your religion, your existence, all of it. Well. Most of it.” Our two main characters follow a terribly sad path where they find their own bits of hope, all leading to an, as I said, bittersweet ending. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building within this book, and would not be disappointed if Megan returned at any point later, following other characters.

Soulswift by Megan Bannen (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 11/17/2020)
Recommended by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
Crown Books for Young Readers / 9781984829665
Publication Date: September 29, 2020

The stunning sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin. Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas.

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system.

Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University…and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center.

Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce—the protagonist of Dear Martin—Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.

The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Who killed Emma? The perfect, popular, and beautiful cheerleader? The suspects at her high school are like every other high school–except one of them is the killer. Page-turning and completely funny! Nothing is as it seems which keeps adding up to a book you will share with your nemeses and friends!

The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett (List Price: $17.99, HarperTeen, 12/1/2020)
Recommended by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia author Scott Reintgen does a topnotch job of world creation in Ashlords. In joining alchemy and apocalypse, he paints a portrait of a forbidding society where chemical magic may be the way to survival.

If you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll thrill to the nail-biting tension of the races in Ashlords.

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen (List price: $17.99, Crown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

I can’t stop thinking about this fearless, genre-bending, and romantic debut novel. It’s a story that begins with grief while Sia attempts to heal her heart post-trauma, but then she’s assigned a school project with tall, shy Noah and some of her carefully constructed barriers start to fall away. Then the UFO sightings begin. Featuring a diverse cast, meddling ghost Abuela, aliens and so many gorgeous sentences, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is beautiful, important, and addictive. I can’t wait to read what Raquel Vasquez Gilliland writes next.

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (List price: $18.99, Simon Pulse), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

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