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)
We all know about Lizzie Bennet and Darcy — but what about Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, and her sordid history with Wickham? If you’re a Pride and Prejudice fan, you’ll recognize several characters in this contemporary spin, but Georgiana Darcy gets the main character treatment. She has to deal with what Wickham did last year that almost got her expelled from prestigious boarding school Pemberley, a brother who’s both more and less absent than he should be, and everyone in school hating her for various reasons. Her one saving grace is her band friend Avery, who is the only one who doesn’t treat her as an outcast and so might be able to help her with her mission to get her life back on track. A fun take on Pride and Prejudice that is familiar enough to be enticing but new enough to keep your attention.
Accomplished by Amanda Quain, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250817815, July 2022)
This was a fabulous debut! The main character was obnoxious but in an eventually relatable way that you come to love by the end. She’s a strong woman who makes good decisions for herself. The supporting characters were charming. The college campus setting was really inviting. But the greatest thing was the references. SO MANY GOOD REFERENCES! When one of the characters goes to the hospital and is in Room 616 I had to stop reading for a minute because it was just too good.
How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063114302, August 2022)
Nick has gone from writing about an Extraordinary boyfriend to actually having one, and is the best thing ever. Except now more Extraordinaries are showing up in Nova City, and of course it’s up to Nick and his friends (old and new; just wait until you meet Miss Conduct!) to figure out what’s going on and who are good guys and who are bad guys. Not to mention all the family secrets that Nick is uncovering. I love Nick so much, in all his awkward glory, and this book just cements that. If you haven’t read The Extraordinaries yet, do that, then run right out and get Flash Fire, because it is just as good.
Flash Fire by TJ Klune, (List Price: $10.99, Tor Teen, 9781250203694, July 2022)
This graphic novel is absolutely adorable! What could be better than first loves, witchy powers, and magical bakeries? Ray is such a sweet and relatable protagonist, and I found myself rooting for her wholeheartedly throughout the book. At its core, Crumbs is a novel about self empowerment and the importance of personal choice– I loved it!
Crumbs by Danie Stirling, (List Price: $24.99, Clarion Books, 9780358467793, July 2022)
Reviewed by Jessica Baker, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I love a good metagenre work, so Slip, a graphic novel about visual art, is right up my alley. Slip’s artwork is emotional and striking in its roughness; it’s very reminiscent This One Summer by the Tamakis (which I love). A particularity of Slip’s art I adored is the agelessness of the human drawings, which makes the narrative’s themes feel universal even as the book focuses on young adults. The book is about defining oneself as an individual, particularly when your friends seem to need you. It’s a difficult and necessary topic, and McCool does really well with it.
Slip by Marika McCoola, (List Price: $17.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616207892, July 2022)
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)
A standalone epic mystical murder mystery fantasy novel. Blood and Moonlight kept me on my toes the entire time, all the way to the bittersweet ending. Catrin, our protagonist, has a very unique gift: a type of sight where she can spot flaws in architecture. Perfect for someone who is tasked with watching over this spired city. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. It can be gruesome at times, so fantasy fans and true crime fans find a perfect blend here, but be a little wary if you’re sensitive to gore.
Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty, (List Price: $19.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9781250755810, June 2022)
Calling this the coolest most creative young adult book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, just wow! Powerhouse Jason Reynolds teams up with longtime best friend and artist Jason Griffin to bring the most interesting memoir I’ve ever read. Originally published in 2009 as Reynolds’s first book, this tiny but mighty memoir follows the two as they chase huge aspirations in New York City. Worlds, collages, and paint splatters cover the pages rather than paragraphs and it works so perfectly. Almost like a zine nonfiction novella, and if that wasn’t a thing it is now and I want more!
My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds, (List Price: $10.99, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781534478220, June 2022)
Amazingly talented (and attractive) quarterback who’s new in school cheerleader destined to be captain of the squad = a story we all know. But what if the quarterback is a girl named Jack, and although she’s wildly talented, she’s also loathed by her new team, as well as everyone on the cheer squad — except for Amber, who falls for the new quarterback almost immediately. Coming out to her team risks jeopardizing her chance at becoming captain, so Amber has to think about what truly matters to her. I adored Amber and Jack and I loved their perfect high school romance
Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler, (List Price: $19.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250765840, June 2022)
Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Madison is a full-on Disney nerd. When she wins a trip to a new, fully immersive Disney vacation full of cosplay and magical Disney magic, she’s beyond excited. But when her girlfriend breaks up with her, she convinces her best friend to come instead. Lanie is not a Disney fan. She’s not a hater, she just is way less familiar than Madison. But she throws caution to the wind and goes anyway. Hopefully they’ll both get their Happily Ever After. This story was fun and crazy and this Disney nerd enjoyed every minute.
Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari, (List Price: $18.99, Disney-Hyperion, 9781368075473, June 2022)
Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia
Hell Followed With Us is a book that sinks its teeth into you from the first page. Andrew Joseph White crafts a horrifying apocalyptic world that feels at once utterly fresh yet familiar as the narrative grapples with climate change, illness, religious extremism, and LGBTQ issues. Its a furious novel– but not without hope as protagonist Benji, a young queer trans boy with a monster inside him, falls in with a found-family of other queer teens and embraces the opportunity to fight back against his oppressors who would otherwise use him as a bioweapon for their own violent ends. Hell Followed With Us is an original, unique YA horror debut guaranteed to stay with readers long after the last page.
Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Tee, 9781682633243, June 2022)
Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
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)
“There are a lot of layers to realistic romance. For me, I always start with an initial attraction. Physical attributes are obvious, and they do play a small role, but what I really mean is something that catches the other person’s attention in a surprising way. Is it an unexpected skill? Their tone of voice? The way they treat animals? All of the above? And then there are the opposites: challenges to overcome. Is someone stubborn? Angsty? Aloof? Are these challenges worth looking past? Just like people are multi-faceted, characters should be, too.” —Brigid Kemmerer, interview, Beyond the Read
What booksellers are saying about Forging Silver into Stars
I loved the Cursebreaker trilogy and was so excited to return to the world! It was so much fun getting to know some of the side characters better from the original trilogy, and as always, the world-building was absolutely scrumptious! I stayed up wayyy past my bedtime to finish this and it was so worth it. ―Catherine Edmondson from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC Buy from Main Street Books
Forging Silver From Stars is Brigid Kemmerer at her best. Addictive, full of intrigue, twists, and tension. Fans of the Cursebreaker series will find this latest installment to the world to be a more than a worthy addition. To reuse a comment I’ve made about Brigid’s earlier books, which applies well to this one, too: think Game of Thrones for the younger set, infused with 100% more feminism. ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL Buy from Books & Books
I hate to sound like a broken record but Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. Forging Silver into Stars is the perfect mix of characters we know and love from her Cursebreakers series and new characters we get to fall in love with for the first time. Brigid’s characters are ones I want to be friends with even on their bad days because she takes the time to let us get to know them in a flawed, honest, and hopeful way. I regretted every time life forced me to put it down. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. ―Rayna Nielsen from Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, LA Buy from Blue Cypress Books
About Brigid Kemmerer
Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Defy the Night, the New York Times bestselling Cursebreaker series, which includes A Curse So Dark and Lonely, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, and A Vow So Bold and Deadly, and Forging Silver into Stars. She has also written the contemporary young adult romances Call It What You Want, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost, as well as paranormal young adult stories, including the Elemental series and Thicker Than Water. A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her family. http://www.brigidkemmerer.com @BrigidKemmerer
Fallon would rather forget about her hookup with her BFF Chloe right before Chloe left for college, but her mom’s ice cream truck business has other plans. Fallon is a protagonist who is easy to cheer for, and I was so invested in the rivals-to-lovers, will-they-won’t-they romance. This is a delightful, perfect novel for summer, made even better by the ice cream puns.
Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan, (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593112564, May 2022)