The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Young Adult Fiction

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

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is absolutely breathtaking! I had just been complaining to a colleague that I feel like too many books these days have lost a sense of lightness and whimsy in the canon. While this novel would be far from whimsical, there’s a lovely balance of humor and sweetness to the characters that balance out the darkness within the world and the story. Ultimately a story of deciding one’s birth isn’t what’s important, but what you choose to do, I fell in love with all the characters and had to immediately contact everyone I knew as soon as I finished to tell them to put this on their TBR. Katyani is relatable, talented, and has a sense of humor that had me smirking and laughing to myself without even realizing. Don’t miss out on this wonderful Indian inspired fantasy!

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250823687, October 2022)

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

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

These chaotic passage of events and writing style reminded me a lot of the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper. Plot-wise, as a YA book, it is extremely insightful in regards to the AIDs epidemic, despite the allure of occult fantasy in this queer coming of age story. It was an entertaining read. I appreciate the tribute to notable gay figures within American history, as well as the representation of queer people of color. In all, it was extremely chaotic, and at times cheesy, but I would still read this and would recommend to those who enjoyed the Haunting of Jake Livingston.

Fraternity by Andy Mientus, (List Price: $19.99, Amulet Books, 9781419754708, September 2022)

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

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

Moon Fuentez is a fascinating character. I liked the exploration of the psychological effects of pitting two children against each other in a family. This is a book about resilience through a lifetime of pain. It’s sex-positive. It’s a really original story. Moon’s humor carries a lot of the story and keeps it from feeling too dark.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448674, August 2022)

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly

Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly is a gut-punch of a novel. Its portrayal of grief is raw and furious and heartbreaking. Following the death of his mother, Asher Hunting rotates through therapists and bereavement groups, trapped in a cycle of anger and pain. He wants nothing more than to get revenge on the drunk driver who killed his mother, but avoided jail time on a technicality. Along with an unexpected group of friends from the bereavement groups–teens Sloane and Will and 80-year-old Henry– Asher embarks on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland in hopes of revenge and closure. Four for the Road is a moving examination of the anger that accompanies grief and the earth-shattering reality of loss. For anyone who has ever lost someone, Four for the Road holds a mirror up to the jagged edges that are left behind and validates that being in pieces is okay.

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly, (List Price: $19.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665902281, August 2022)

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya

I love it when the first volume of a series catches your attention and leaves you wanting more. When I started Talli, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I thought it was going to be a normal run-of-the-mill Shonen-like manga where nothing crazily drastic happens to characters. Boy was I wrong. The second limbs start to fly and characters have intense personal issues/trauma means that what you are reading is going to have some meat to it. Really excited to find out more about the lore and characters!

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya, (List Price: $19.99, Oni Press, 9781637150825, September 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery

Uly and Sallie don’t let their differing races (or anything, for that matter) get in the way of their relationship. That is, until the school election rolls around and they find themselves working against each other to benefit their siblings’ opposing campaigns, one of which is built of a bigotry capable of tearing Uly and Sallie–and the entire school–apart. Ivery has managed to craft the perfect mix of funny humor and serious social justice in this engaging read. His entertaining writing style brings Uly and Sallie to life in their dual perspectives. If you’re looking for a lighthearted contemporary read which doesn’t fail to highlight the racial and social injustices that continue to plague our nation, look no further than The Problem With the Other Side.

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery, (List Price: $10.99, Soho Teen, 9781641293549, August 2022)

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

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany Jackson’s newest novel, The Weight of Blood, is a retelling of the King novel, Carrie. I have not read Carrie, but I have seen the movies, so I had that as a base to go off of when I was reading ‘The Weight of Blood’. I really enjoyed the modern take on how race is still an issue in our communities and schools. I was interested to see how Jackson tied in dumping a bucket of something on Maddy’s head, and I was not disappointed to find out what it was and what it symbolized. The whole scene where Kenny is trying to get the police officers involved and how they react….it was beautifully written and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the writing style where it would break away from the telling of Maddy’s story and show pieces of interviews from different witnesses of Maddy’s destruction. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I read the entire book in about 3 days. It isn’t necessarily an original story (being that it is a retelling), but the references to race and police brutality are incredible. It is also just a dang good horror! There are grisly parts that make you want to keep turning the pages and you are drawn in to Maddy’s character.

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson, (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063029149, September 2022)

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack

This book will feel like the longest and shortest book you have ever read. You feel the words and the images with every page. You will laugh, you will cry, and then you will ugly cry! If Anything Happens I love You addresses grief and school violence through they eyes and innocence of a child. A poignant story that will leave you deeply moved.

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack, (List Price: $16.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 9781524871253, September 2022)

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

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

A modern retelling of Lord of the Flies, set in a trash fire of a hipster festival? YES PLEASE. Rafi is a true-crime podcaster on the trail of a hot story who finagles tickets to the exclusive Fly Fest. The headliner is an adored indie musician who may have had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of his first girlfriend and Rafi is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Arriving on the island, hordes of spoiled influencers realize they’ve been set up – there is no food, no shelter, and (gasp!) no wifi! Can they all get out safely? Can Rafi uncover River Stone’s secrets? Can they survive without the constant reassurance of IG likes? Moldavsky has crafted an ingenious update on a classic mini-society gone wrong and I loved every second of it.

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky, (List Price: 18.99, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250230126, August 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo

I love dark academia. My love for it started with Harry Potter as a child and has only grown since then. I was delighted to dive into a school of witches and warlocks that’s brimming diversity opposed to the same old tired tropes. When her friend Noreen goes missing in the cursed forest, Abigail will stop at nothing to unwrap the truth and save her mentee. The art is beautiful. This is going to be the perfect recommendation for Halloween and beyond!

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo, (List Price: 17.9, HarperAlley, 9780063056305, August 2022)

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

The Darkening by Sunya Mara

Vesper Vale, the daughter of failed revolutionaries, is on her quest to save her father from the storm. Vesper must lie about everything, including her feelings, to get inside the prince’s cold and unfeeling heart. However, when armed with her own choice, will she choose trusting the prince, or the storm? Interesting, heartbreaking, and fast paced, with plot twists you’ll never see coming, this one is a perfect choice for fantasy, action, and romance readers.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara, (List Price: $18.99, Clarion Books, 9780358561989, July 2022)

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

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

Powerhouse debater and soccer star TJ is considered one of the most beautiful girls at her school. But when a meme starts circulating comparing her flawless beauty to her Sikh cousin’s natural hairiness, TJ decides to ditch her hair-removal routines to show herself and the world that it’s possible to be both hairy and beautiful. The world, though, seems determined to prove her wrong — except her debate rival Charlie, who doesn’t seem to care at all. A fun, flirty story that couches a cutting criticism of societal beauty standards, handled in a way that will win over readers regardless of personal opinions.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo, (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593403396, June 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg

Perfect for preteens and teens who want to read Outlander but probably shouldn’t. When Klara accidentally hits a mysterious Scotsman with her car, she has no idea the true intensity of the situation. Callum has stepped out of the 1500s to protect Klara, the last Pillar of Time, at all costs. An evil force is murdering the Pillars, greedy for the powers of the gods, and Klara and Callum are the only thing in his way. This was an amazing story that sucked me in. Alsberg uses imagery that truly puts the beauty of Scotland in your mind. She also writes character development extremely well. She does a great job building Callum’s acclimation to the modern world at the right pace, without making it cringey or a joke. Klara also has great development through the story, and you can see her heal and strengthen bonds she left unattended because of her mother’s death. Klara, despite having a man fated to protect her, is also allowed to be strong and fiercely independent. Throughout her relationship with Callum, she grows stronger, not weaker and submissive, like some YA main characters in a protected/protector situation.

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg, (List Price: $19.99, Inkyard Books, 9781335284891, June 2022)

Reviewed by Scarlett, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas

This is truly a novel for both teens and adults. I’m Gen X and saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the theater back in the day and absolutely loved this plot! R. Eric captures the essence of teen friendship – how it really is your whole world once you start getting ready to fly the nest. His characters all have really interesting relationships with both peers and parents – no one is having the same experience yet they are all listening to and supporting one another. R. Eric is the funniest man on earth, and I knew I’d love this book.

Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas, (List Price: $18.99, Kokilas, 9780593326183, May 2022)

Reviewed by Sissy Gardner, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

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