The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Young Adult Fiction

Seoulmates by Susan Lee

Seoulmates is a fun young adult romance sprinkled with k-pop and k-drama references. Susan Lee gave me a glimpse into a Korean American home through this tender love story between two childhood friends who have grown up. A friends to enemies to lovers story, I couldn’t put it down..

Seoulmates by Susan Lee (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335915788, September 2022)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

A 2022 December Read This Next! Title

This is one of my top romances of 2022! Gonzales’ YA books are charming and this new adult romcom is a delight. Maya’s cheating ex is about to star on a reality dating show and all of his exes are being called together as contestants – including the other woman that helped break Maya’s heart. Sharing a room with her arch-nemesis can only lead to the best revenge plot of all time, right? This has slow burn, hilarious, sapphic joy on every page. Gonzales does a great job with bi representation and she gets better with every book.

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250819161, December 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

A 2022 December Read This Next! Title

This is an absolute gem of a book! Part science-fiction, part romance, Shea Ernshaw delivers another YA novel that is a delight to read. For lovers of stars and post apocalyptic literature!

A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw (List Price: $19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665900249, December 2022)

Reviewed by Hallie Smith, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

A Consuming Fire by Laura E. Weymouth

I will automatically consume anything Laura Weymouth writes after this book, because WOW. Romance, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and a very cute dog: all that and more are found in A Consuming Fire, which showcases Weymouth’s ability to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat for 400 pages.

A Consuming Fire by Laura E. Weymouth (List Price: $19.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665902700, November 2022)

Reviewed by Hallie Smith, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur

This debut is a compelling family drama about generational trauma and secrets in a large family of Afghan-Uzbeki immigrants. As Sara deals with the impending divorce of her parents and the slow painful loss of her grandmother to dementia, she begins to see ghostly apparitions in a home her family’s construction company is renovating. Sara gets pulled into a web of family secrets and realizes that even though her family has a strong storytelling tradition, the stories she’s been told her whole life aren’t the whole story. At times creepy, but ultimately redemptive, this story is all about confronting literal and figurative ghosts.

House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur (List Price: $18.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374388706, November 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton

This adorable YA romance told in short stories from six of the best authors out there is just as good as you hope it will be. Where the previous compilation from these folks took place over the same day in the same city in slightly-related stories, Whiteout is linked together in a more up-front way. A group of friends and partners in Atlanta are working to help a couple reconcile during a city-wide snowstorm that has them trapped in cars, airports, trains, and buildings around town. Inclusive, sweet, and funny, this has it all.

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton (List Price: $19.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063088146, November 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Coven by Jennifer Dugan

I haven’t read very many Graphic Novels, but I highly enjoyed coven! The story was intriguing and I loved the characters and the representation. I also really enjoyed the illustration style. It was eye-catching and detailed. Coven is a perfect witchy, fall read.

Coven by Jennifer Dugan (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593112182, November 2022)

Emma Tara, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Spotlight on: Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

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Legendborn digs into what it means to be the only in a room. In the United States, we’re still in situations where Black students find themselves in a room and being the only Black person. The book that I wrote is about engaging with, deeply understanding, analyzing, holding on to, [and] reshaping your own Blackness in spaces where it’s being challenged or dismissed by other people.

The other theme that I wanted to really engage with is like the types of stories and the type of people that become legendary. Growing up in North Carolina [and] going to [the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill], [the Confederate monument] Silent Sam was up the entire time I was a student there and was the specter of a certain type of racism. How do these things become memorialized and legendary, and Black American people, whose ancestors were enslaved, get put in a position of absence of knowledge?
” ―Tracy Deonn, Interview, Shondaland

 

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

What booksellers are saying about Bloodmarked

  • I’ve thought for days about the review I would give this stunning sequel, but accurate words do not come to mind. I was blown away by the rawness and realness of Bloodmarked. Indeed, Tracy Deonn did not shy away from the rampant institutionalized racism built into the foundation of many influential organizations, like the Legendborn Order. Not to mention the Legendborn’s reaction to the revelation of Bree’s true lineage. Their approach to dealing with the ugly truth? Deny, deny, deny. It’s shameful and disgusting and Bree has to shoulder it along with the rising war between her world and the demons set to destroy it. Bree’s growth as a root user, ether user, and as King is stunning to witness. I truly believe this series should be required reading for young readers, not just because of the extraordinary Arthurian fantasy retelling, but because of the way the characters confront their trauma. It’s amazing, everyone needs to get a copy. I cannot stress this enough- READ THIS BOOK!
      ―Laney Sheehan from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC | Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • Can my review just be me… screaming incoherently? No? Well. Bloodmarked broke me into a million little pieces and left me a changed person in the end who wanted to chunk my arc at the wall but as I also loved it too much to hurt it, I did not do that. I merely shook it very violently and shrieked. Bree and the crew returned for an even more dangerous, action packed adventure with the truth unraveling around them faster than they can even keep up. I’m obsessed with this story, with the characters, and if I could live in it… I would not because I would not survive. Tracy Deonn has crafted an absolutely perfect story and has left me weeping on the floor, waiting for the next installment
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

  • This book absolutely blew me away. Simultaneously a fast-paced fantasy novel and an expertly crafted meditation on Blackness, Bloodmarked had me hooked from page one. I loved the world building outside of UNC, and I cannot wait for the next book- I hope this series goes on forever!
      ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

About Tracy Deonn

Tracy Deonn is the New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award–winning author of Legendborn, and a second-generation fangirl. She grew up in central North Carolina, where she devoured fantasy books and Southern food in equal measure. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education. When she’s not writing, Tracy speaks on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions, reads fanfic, arranges puppy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything. She can be found on Twitter at @TracyDeonn and at TracyDeonn.com.

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This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

I thoroughly enjoyed how Alessa came into her own as a Finestra too powerful for a single Fonte. The question posed in the book and in this [and our] society: what it means to be selfish and selfless. Is a hero the selfish Ghiotte, or the selfless Finestra, and is the balance necessary to be able to give your best? Can’t wait to see how the next book addresses this! Dante (and Alessa & his banter!) is just the best and I’m anxious to see what happens to him in #2

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250794055, June 2022)

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

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Newsflash: Lynn Painter is The Queen of the YA rom-com! She has grabbed a hold of this reader’s heart and will not let go. The Do-Over brings us Emilie Hornby, an over-achieving people pleasure who is ready for The Perfect Valentines Day. She has her checklist ready to seize her perfectly planned agenda. Things get off to a rocky start when she wrecks her car on the way to school and has to bum a ride with broody Nick Stark, her chemistry partner. Her day goes off the rails when she spots her perfect-on-paper boyfriend kissing another girl. The nerve! The only thing that could make this day worse is to have to re-live it….and the next morning she wakes up to another Valentine’s Day and so it goes. I enjoyed Lynn’s signature witty banter and sweet love story. The Do-Over will be perfect for any YA Rom Com reader and fans of closed-door romances.

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter (List Price: $19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534478862, November 2022)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

The Insomniacs combines the mystery of amnesia with the thrill of a reignited friendship. Ingrid, the main character, works to figure out what she’s missing and how to solve her sudden insomnia in this twisting story. Vance, her best friend from years ago, reconnects. An intriguing read with an unexpected ending. This book explores the uncertainty and depth of relationships along with trauma. In the setting of a high schooler’s life. Overall, a super interesting read!

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg, (List Price: $11.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250257376, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kaylin, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

This dark, twisty fantasy makes the monsters that roam the forest seem to jump straight off the page! I loved the journeys the characters took and this should immediately be given to anyone looking for a fantasy that is filled with tension, intrigue, a little romance, and just overall creepiness. I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for the second book!

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard, (List Price: $18.99, Tor Teen, 9781250194046, November 2022)

Reviewed by Hallie Smith, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller

We all know the story of the little mermaid who fell in love with a prince, made a deal with a sea witch and needs a kiss so she can remain a human. However, what do we know about the handsome prince? What is his part of this story? In the Prince of Song and Sea, Lindsey Miller shows you the life of Prince Eric. His friends, his adventures, and his curse. If you loved Littler Mermaid, you will be delighted to read Prince of Song and Sea with its familiar storyline, recognizable characters, and a deeper dive into a well-loved story.

Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller, (List Price: $17.99, Disney Press, 9781368069113, October 2022)

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

The Getaway by Lamar Giles

What an incredible book! Giles rachets up the tension immediately in this story of paradise gone wrong. The staff and families living at Karloff County’s most famous resort are living happily in harmony until people start to vanish without a trace. As the world outside starts to crumble, young Jay and his friends try to find a way to get themselves and their loved ones to safety – whatever that may mean.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles, (List Price: $19.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338752014, September 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

When I say I inhaled this book…Edie and Violet are twins. And mediums like their mother was. When they were forced between being institutionalized in an 1880s asylum and leaving in the dead of the night, they of course chose to run. And they joined a traveling Spiritualist show—a group of women who buck the oppressive treatment of females (which unfortunately we’re feeling again ??) by hiding their real talents (like oration, doctoring, etc) under the pretense of trances where they commune with spirits. The turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement has always been a fascination of mine and the sister bond between Edie and Violet is wonderful. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Edie when she treats Violet more like a little sister but of course that added to the suspense & tension. The romance between Edie and Laws was perfect. It didn’t take over the story nor read weird with the feminist vibes.

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze, (List Price: $18.99, Union Square & Co., 9781454946786, October 2022)

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

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