There Are A Lot Of Books Releasing In February — Here's What We Read, Loved, And Recommend

    We firmly believe we have something for everyone!

    literary fiction

    The Arc

    by Tory Henwood Hoen

    A little bit speculative, a little bit romance, and a little bit literary, The Arc reminded me of a Black Mirror episode — one that wasn’t so much dark and gritty as it was thoughtful and entertaining. While Hoen’s work has been compared to other successful literary authors, I believe she’s firmly established a strong voice of her own. Ursula Byrne is an overachieving workaholic who has earned her way toward a VP title at an elite branding agency. It might seem like she has it all, but she is burnt out on dating apps and underwhelmed by the people she’s met. Then she received an opportunity to participate in The Arc: a secretive, pricey, sophisticated matchmaking service that goes above and beyond any app. But they are confident they can find your ideal mate. Ursula is then paired with Rafael Banks, and they instantly have a connection. But the arc of a relationship cannot be predicted by any algorithm, and the two begin to realize that love is never a guarantee. There are two different twists in this book I didn’t see coming — yet highly enjoyed. —Farrah Penn

    The Boy With a Bird in His Chest

    by Emme Lund

    This all too unique coming-of-age debut novel follows a young boy named Owen Tanner, whose mother tells him he must keep the bird (named Gail) that lives inside his chest a secret. Lund’s beautiful story can be read as an allegory for being transgender as we see Owen grapple with how homing a bird in his chest makes him different from others. I immensely enjoyed the side characters, Owen’s cousin Tennessee who discovers her own queerness, and Owen’s mother who desperately wants to protect Owen at all costs, as well as the lyrical and thoughtful writing that pulled me right into Owen’s world. —Farrah Penn

    Pure Colour

    by Sheila Heti

    Heti’s breakthrough novel, 2010’s How Should a Person Be?, influenced countless writers and set the stage for our current autofiction boom. Her latest once again breaks the mold of what a novel can be. The plot and setting are abstract; God creates three kinds of people: bird, fish, and bear, the first of which spawns Mira, the protagonist we follow throughout the novel. But questions that have shown up in Heti’s prior work, namely around the problems of living and what it means to be an artist, are still very much at the center. —Karolina Waclawiak


    by Toni Morrison

    Morrison’s only published short story is reissued here with an illuminating foreword by Zadie Smith. Recitatif centers on two girls of different races, Roberta and Twyla, who are sent to a state shelter. Crucially, though, we are never told who is Black and who is white. Like much of Morrison’s work, this story is a deceptively simple and intricate indictment of the ludicrousness of racism. —Tomi Obaro

    nonfiction and poetry

    The Nineties

    by Chuck Klosterman

    Klosterman’s new book, an informative, endlessly entertaining look back at the 1990s, characterizes the decade as one that shifted the paradigms of music, film, news media, politics, and life at large. Covering the significance and peculiarities of Ross Perot, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Titanic, VCR culture, and the internet, the book is less “only ’90s kids will remember this” and more plugged in to a specific Gen X’er American purview. So you’ll learn something about the Waco standoff, Crystal Pepsi, and Phantom Menace, while Princess Di, Spice Girls, and Beanie Babies go unmentioned. (Not a knock against it.) What he always succeeds at is conveying an anecdote, oddity, or thought exercise about the decade that you immediately want to share with a friend. —Emerson Malone

    Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head

    by Warsan Shire

    Before Beyoncé tapped this Somali British poet to write the poetry for her visual album Lemonade, Shire was already a prolific writer, with two chapbooks, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and Her Blue Body, under her belt. Now she’s publishing her first full-length poetry collection, which focuses, like much of her work, on the trauma of forced migration, familial violence, and secrets. This is a collection that merits slow and careful reading. —Tomi Obaro

    Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis

    by Grace Lavery

    With a singular sense of wryness and ribaldry, Lavery charts the course of her gender transition. —Tomi Obaro

    mystery and thrillers

    This Might Hurt

    by Stephanie Wrobel

    Wrobel’s latest opens with a suspenseful bang and successfully leaves readers wondering what on earth is up with Wisewood. Natalie Collins' younger sister has been missing for over a year, and when she receives a threatening email from a place known as Wisewood, a residency on a private island off the coast of Maine where guests are disconnected from the real world for at least six months in order to become their Maximized Selves, she knows she must do whatever she can to find her — before her sister figures out the secret she’s been keeping. Told in alternating chapters between a mysterious narrator’s past and Natalie’s present reality, this thriller isn’t afraid to explore the dark and gritty. —Farrah Penn

    The Verifiers

    by Jane Pek

    Mystery fan Claudia gets to exercise her detective muscle at her secretive day job, where she verifies the identities and truths of clients' suspicious dating app matches. But when one of her clients winds up dead, Claudia tumbles headfirst into a far bigger case — one no one wants to see her touching, but which she can't seem to ignore. Meanwhile, she struggles with her own ability to connect, both as a daughter hiding her sexuality from her mother and a sister who's uncovering just how complex life and their relationships have been for her siblings with Claudia as "the favorite." This astute, page-turning debut sheds light on the necessities and limitations of interpersonal interaction, the role technology plays in its evolution (and de-evolution), and what it means to be human and looking for love in the 21st century. —Dahlia Adler

    The Paris Apartment

    by Lucy Foley

    The author of The Guest List returns with another thriller/mystery told from multiple points of view set in Paris. Foley opens up with a twentysomething named Jess who has hit rock bottom and needs a place to stay — that place being with her brother Ben. But when she shows up to his Paris apartment, Ben isn’t there. And it looks like there has been signs of a struggle. While we slowly uncover what Jess knows, we also get into the heads of Ben’s neighbors…even the ones who don’t exactly like him as a person. If you enjoy a solid mystery, you won’t want to miss this one. —Farrah Penn

    Tripping Arcadia

    by Kit Mayquist

    In this ominous, chilling, and page-turning queer Gothic thriller, a med school dropout-turned-botanist gets in over her head when she accepts a position assisting the physician of a notorious, hard-partying wealthy family with a sickly heir. It's not as if she's in any position to turn down the pay, given her father's out of work and his medical bills have become too much to bear. But the more time she spends with the mysterious Verdeaus and the substances regularly swallowed in her presence, the more it feels like a dangerous from which she soon finds it impossible to disentangle. Because while she'd never heard of the Verdeaus before joining their employ, they do have a link to her life and the misery it's become. And she won't rest until she has her revenge. — Dahlia Adler

    Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead

    by Elle Cosimano

    In this highly anticipated sequel, Finlay Donovan once again finds herself wrapped up in crime and murder. This time, instead of being mistaken for a hit-woman, she's trying to save her ex-husband from one. When Fin discovers there's an ad out for her ex-husband's murder, she — along with the help of her best friend and partner-in-crime (literally) Vero — do some sleuthing to discover who (aside from her) would want her ex dead and how to stop it from happening before it's too late. Soon, Fin finds herself stumbling upon dead bodies, the dark web, and organized crime operations. It's a lot to handle on top of a custody battle, writing a novel, and navigating her relationships with a hot, young lawyer and a smooth-talking cop. But, if anyone's up to the challenge, it's Finlay. —Shyla Watson

    historical fiction

    Circus of Wonders

    by Elizabeth Macneal

    Nineteen-year-old Nell is covered head to toe in birthmarks, which makes her a social outcast in her small 1860s village, but an asset to Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders. When Nell's father drunkenly sells her to Jasper Jupiter himself, she is transformed into the star of the show — quite literally billed as "The Queen of the Moon and Stars." Jasper is eccentric and narcissistic, thriving off of his fame, but his sensitive brother Toby becomes Nell's friend and then lover. Their relationship is sweet and tender, unlike that between Nell and Jasper, who begins to resent her as her notoriety eclipses his. Come for the wondrous circus setting; stay for Nell's epic arc from a shy, ostracized girl to a woman who knows her worth. —Kirby Beaton

    Redwood and Wildfire

    by Andrea Hairston

    This speculative history takes place at the turn of the 20th century, when the magic of moving pictures has taken ahold of America. But the real magic lies in people like Redwood, a Black woman whose inherited hoodoo powers (and fiery confidence) scare the neighbors in her small Georgia town. After her mother is murdered by a racist mob, Redwood and her Irish Indigenous friend Aidan Wildfire Cooper flee to find a place where neither has to hide their roots. As they make their way to Chicago, they use their combined magic to perform, because the love of storytelling is stronger than the need for safety. This is a tender, but explosive, novel about friendship, magic, and the pain and power that come with not belonging. —Kirby Beaton

    A Lullaby for Witches

    by Hester Fox

    Margaret Harlowe felt more called to the wild woods of her family's estate than to the parlors and finery expected of a woman of her status. Soon, rumors about her mysterious beauty, power, and wildness had the townspeople crying "witch," and her powers only grew darker. A century and a half later, Augusta Podos takes a job at Harlowe House, an old family-estate-turned-museum. But when she discovers the inklings of Margaret's past that history hasn't been able to expunge, she goes searching for more on the mysterious woman. But digging deeper uncovers a dark and twisted link between the two women — one that Augusta will have to break in order to survive. A spine-tingling blend of paranormal and historical fiction that feels gothic, gloomy, and perfect for winter. —Kirby Beaton

    When We Lost Our Heads

    by Heather O'Neill

    A coming-of-age story about the intense and toxic friendship between two young women in the late 1800s. Marie Antoine is spoiled and enigmatic, the heiress of a sugar factory; Sadie grew up poor, but has just moved into Marie's wealthy neighborhood so her brother — her parents' favorite — can move up in society. When these two meet, the course of their lives will change. Their friendship centers on an immediate, fervent love for each other that borders on obsession. The book follows Marie and Sadie as they navigate life — both together and apart — from finishing school to brothels to life in a factory. It's a twisted, perverse story that's difficult to put down, like a car crash you can't look away from. You may not like the characters, but you'll be desperate to know what they'll do next. —Kirby Beaton

    The Great Mrs. Elias

    by Barbara Chase-Riboud

    A fictional novel about the true events surrounding Hannah Elias, one of the wealthiest Black women in 1900s America. When a murder and mistaken identity bring police to Hannah's lavish 20-room mansion in New York, the life she's worked hard to build — and the past she's tried to forget — begins to unravel. Switching through Hannah's past and present, we discover the secret skeletons lurking in her childhood and the things she had to do to earn the life she now lives. But now, her identity revealed to the public, she's ensnared in scandal, protests, and accusations of blackmail. This tragic historical fiction is gilded in glitz, drama, and suspense. —Kirby Beaton

    An Impossible Impostor

    by Deanna Raybourn

    In the 7th volume of this Victorian London-set mystery series, Veronica Speedwell (adventuress) and Stoker (natural historian) are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch, on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. A few years prior, Euphemia's eldest brother (and the heir to Hathaway Hall), Jonathan, was believed dead in the eruption of Krakatoa. Recently, a mysterious man arrived to Hathaway Hall, matching Jonathan's description and carrying his possessions. But what he lacks is memory — he doesn't know who he is or where he has been. Sir Hugo hopes that Veronica can help determine if the man is in fact Jonathan, or if instead he's someone in search of the family's priceless jewels. It is only when Veronica meets the amnesiac in person that she realizes he is a ghost from her past, and to solve the case she'll need to delve into her own history. This series is one of the most delightful historical mystery series in existence, and if you're still looking for something to fill a Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries void in your life, this is just the thing. —Rachel Strolle


    Good Girl Complex

    by Elle Kennedy

    Good Girl Complex is a college-set romance novel that is fun summer vibes in book form, which comes together in a remarkably swoony way. Bad boys, smart girls, inherent wealth versus working class, a carnival, friends-to-lovers, a secret bet — have we seen it before? Sure! But is it a deliciously steamy and cozy treat? Absolutely. Mackenzie is an entrepreneur who took a gap year to launch her startup, but now she’s forced to attend Garnet College to please her parents. Cooper Hartley is a townie, a local bad boy, and an identical twin who is introduced to Mac one evening, and despite a bet he makes with his friends, and despite being from different worlds, real feelings begin to sizzle between the two. —Farrah Penn

    Count Your Lucky Stars

    by Alexandria Bellefleur

    When current fifth wheel Margot agrees to tour a wedding venue with her engaged friends, she doesn't expect to run into newly divorced wedding planner Olivia, Margot's childhood friend and first love who she hasn't seen in a decade. A series of mishaps leaves Olivia without a place to stay, and out of the goodness in her heart, and maybe because of the sparks still between them, Margot offers her spare room, hoping this time doesn't end in disaster. —Rachel Strolle

    A Perfect Equation

    by Elizabeth Everett

    Letty is perfectly happy being a spinster if it means she can continue running the only ladies' social club in London...that's also secretly a retreat for female scientists and mathematicians. But keeping this huge secret from exploding (literally) requires a partner: Viscount Greycliff. The two don't get along, despite obvious sparks between them, and their relationship takes a turn when Grey shuts down the club in order to please an anti-feminist men's group who can help him score the leadership role he's been dreaming of. Letty is forced to work with Grey in order to convince him to reopen the club and, as they spend more time together, their chemistry deepens. But love gets in the way of both of them getting what they want in this historical romance. —Kirby Beaton

    Delilah Green Doesn't Care

    by Ashley Herring Blake

    Blake's smart and sexy first foray into adult after years of publishing gorgeous Sapphic middle grade and young adult follows Delilah Green back to a hometown that barely gets to call itself that. Having lost both her parents at a young age, Delilah spent her childhood at the mercy of her stepmother, Isabel, and now they've brought her back to photograph her own stepsister, Astrid's, wedding events, which means spending time with all the girls she was more than happy to leave behind when she turned 18...including Claire Sutherland. But the gorgeous, divorced single mom is a whole lot sweeter and more fun than Delilah remembers, and suddenly being stuck in Bright Falls doesn't seem so bad... —Dahlia Adler

    I'm So (Not) Over You

    by Kosoko Jackson

    Kian's ex broke up with him months ago, but when Hudson comes crawling back, it isn't with his heart in his hands, but with a request: He wants Kian to pose as his boyfriend, just while his parents are in town. But of course, that fully backfires when they end up as wedding dates, though Kian's not mad about it; it's an extremely high-profile event that'll bring him closer to the perfect names to bolster his journalism career. But when feelings start to overshadow the fakeness, Kian has to decide just how far he can let this fauxmance go. Second-chance romance and fake dating? Yes, please! —Dahlia Adler

    Lease on Love

    by Falon Ballard

    After getting passed over for a much-needed promotion, Sadie Green drowns her sorrows at the bar and accidentally mixes up a dating app with her roommate-finding app. So, when she finds herself at Jack Thomas's Brooklyn doorstep looking for a hookup, she's surprised to discover that she's more interested in his home than him — which is perfect since he has a spare room. Jack has been grieving the unexpected death of his parents and finding solace in movies and video games, but not so much in human interaction. Now roommates, Jack's affordable rent gives Sadie a chance to chase her dreams, while Sadie's vivacious presence helps bring life back into Jack's world — and possibly love too. —Shyla Watson

    Ramón y Julieta

    by Alana Quintana Albertson

    When celebrity chef Julieta Campos kisses a handsome stranger on Dia de los Muertos, she has no idea that he's actually Ramón Montez, heir to a fast-food empire whose business is destroying the local community. He also happens to be the son of the man who stole her mother's taco recipe long ago, not to mention her new landlord. As they're forced to work together, Julieta's feelings for him grow, as does the rivalry between their families. Fate brought them together, but will their differences tear them apart? —Shyla Watson

    Lockdown on London Lane

    by Beth Reekles

    From the author of The Kissing Booth comes a new story about five twentysomethings who find themselves confined to their building as a seven-day lockdown is mandated during the early days of the pandemic. During the week, relationships are explored, friendships are tested, and conceptions are challenged. —Shyla Watson

    Homicide and Halo-Halo

    by Mia P. Manansala

    It's summer in the little town of Shady Palms, which means the Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant is in full force, which Lila Macapagal won years ago, much to the chagrin of her cousin Bernadette. After getting caught up in a murder investigation just a few months ago, Lila is trying to lay low. But when a pageant judge winds up dead and Bernadette becomes the prime suspect, Lila puts down her animosity toward her cousin and picks up her amateur sleuth cap to help solve the case. Solving a murder is no easy feat, especially when she's being pursued by two eligible bachelors...and possibly a killer. —Shyla Watson

    Not the Witch You Wed

    by April Asher

    Violet Maxwell is a magic-less witch who wants nothing to do with Lincoln Thorne, the alpha wolf shifter who broke her heart years ago. But once again, Violet doesn't get what she wants, and when the two are forced to find mates, they decide to pair up and fake date each other to appease the old supernatural laws and buy themselves some time. Though Violet is hesitant at first, spending time with Lincoln reignites old feelings, and there's a chance that this time around, things with Lincoln might work out in her favor. When secrets resurface and threats loom, Violet finds herself in a situation that even magic (if she had any) might not be able to solve. —Shyla Watson

    The Lady Tempts an Heir

    by Harper St. George

    Lady Helena March is a young widow who's more interested in funding The London Home for Young Women to help "fallen mothers and illegitimate children" than she is in finding a second husband. But society frowns upon her foundation, and the only way she'll earn money is if she gets support from a man. Maxwell Crenshaw is an American in England who has absolutely no interest in settling down. But when his father falls ill and starts talking about Max "carrying on his legacy," he suddenly finds himself with an ultimatum — find a woman to marry and reproduce with or he and his sister can kiss the family company goodbye. Not willing to abandon all his hard work, he and Violet concoct a plan: They'll pretend to be courting so he can appease his father and she can get funding for her foundation. But playing pretend turns sour real quick, and navigating unexpected feelings is harder than either of them could've imagined. —Shyla Watson

    The Good Girl's Guide to Rakes

    by Eva Leigh

    When Kieran Ransome finds himself in yet another scandal, his father threatens to cut him off unless he settles down with a respectable wife. Kieran's lifestyle means he doesn't really know any respectable society women, so he enlists the help of his best friend's sister, Celeste. Celeste is a society darling who lives a prim and proper life according to etiquette. But she yearns to break out of her cage and have some adventure. Celeste agrees to introduce Kieran to potential matches if he shows her the dark and dangerous parts of the city that he knows so well. Thus begins their routine of tea parties and socials at day, gambling hells and brothels at night. Kieran begins to wonder if the perfect wife for him has been under his nose all along, but someone finds out about their wild adventures and threatens to ruin Celeste's reputation, potentially destroying the best thing that could ever happen to him. —Shyla Watson

    science fiction and fantasy

    Moon, Witch, Spider, King

    by Marlon James

    This second book in the Dark Star Trilogy — pitched as the African Game of Thrones — occurs simultaneously as Black Leopard, Red Wolf and can be read first or second. In the first book, Sogolon the Moon Witch is Tracker’s antagonist. Now the perspectives are switched, and Sogolon tells her 177-year-old story of how she became the Moon Witch and her feud with the Aesi, the king’s chancellor. Abused by her brothers as a child, then saved from a whorehouse by a woman and her pet monster, Sogolon eventually comes to work in the royal house. She sees kings rise and fall and remembers everything. Her expansive memory serves as a threat to the chancellor and also contradicts Tracker’s version of events in Black Leopard. Moving, vivid, and thought-provoking, this second book is, if anything, even more brilliant than the first. —Margaret Kingsbury


    by Edward Ashton

    Mickey, who’s part of a human colonization mission, works as an “Expendable,” someone commissioned for dangerous, potentially suicidal, tasks; if he dies, a new Mickey is regenerated with most of his memories. We meet the titular hapless protagonist, the seventh iteration, trapped in a subterranean crevasse on the austere ice planet Niflheim. He’s left for dead and immediately replaced with Mickey8, whom he finds sleeping in his bunk. They have to keep their duplication a secret and covertly hide to avoid anyone finding out. Ashton’s world-building unspools beautifully, illustrating the techno-socialist society undergoing a famine. His creature design of the terrifying “creepers,” the native species that populates Niflheim, is also great. Thematically similar to Duncan Jones’ movie Moon and frequently compared to Andy Weir’s book The Martian, Mickey7 is a darkly funny sci-fi thriller from start to finish. If that doesn’t sell you on it, note that writer-director Bong Joon Ho is reportedly set to adapt it into a movie with Robert Pattinson. —Emerson Malone

    Reclaim the Stars

    by Zoraida Córdova

    This anthology of young adult SFF short stories features works by 17 Latin American diaspora authors. “Reign of Diamonds” by Anna-Marie McLemore features queer magical space princesses. In “Leyenda” by Romina Garber, a water witch seeks to free witches from an oppressive system. When a manifesto reaches a prison colony in “This Is Our Manifesto” by Mark Oshiro, it ignites a revolution. Other authors include Daniel José Older, Isabel Ibañez, and Maya Motayne. This is a much-needed and magical anthology. —Margaret Kingsbury

    Sisters of the Forsaken Stars

    by Lina Rather

    The second book in the Our Lady of Endless Worlds novella space opera series is as fantastic as the first, Sisters of the Vast Black. In the second book, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are feeling unmoored after the events in book one and their separation from the Catholic Church. As they travel among the stars trying to remain hidden from the Church, each sister is tormented in their own way by questions about their faith. Despite their efforts to remain hidden, they become enmeshed in a rebellion against Central Governance. This feminist and queer series wraps philosophical and moral issues within an entertaining and riveting intergalactic setting. —Margaret Kingsbury

    A River Enchanted

    by Rebecca Ross

    It’s been a decade since harpist Jack Tamerlaine set foot on the Isle of Cadence, where he was born and spent his childhood. He’s now an assistant music professor on the mainland, but when he receives a letter asking him to return, he immediately hires a boat owner and journeys to the isle, risking his place in the university. Cadence is an island full of capricious spirits and enchantments. While Jack assumes Cadence’s ruler asked him to return to the isle, it’s actually his daughter, Adaira — Jack’s childhood enemy — who seeks his help. Young girls have begun disappearing on the island, and Adaira believes Jack’s harp skills and her knowledge of stories and enchantments may be the key to saving them. Delightfully atmospheric, this compelling first book in a new fantasy series makes for a perfect rainy day read. —Margaret Kingsbury

    Dead Silence

    by S.A. Barnes

    This intense sci-fi horror is like Titanic meets Alien 2. Claire Kovalik is bringing her team home at the end of her last deep space mission when the ship picks up a distress signal from an area yet to be explored. They follow the signal and discover a luxury space-liner that has been missing for decades. It’s clear from the onset that something tragic has happened on board, but Claire orders a search of the ship to both secure their rights to a finder’s fee and to search for survivors. Blood and ghosts greet Claire when she boards the liner, though she initially blames the ghosts on her PTSD from a childhood tragedy. However, when other crew members begin hallucinating and hearing whispers in the dark, Claire worries something more sinister is going on. The audiobook read by Lauren Ezzo makes for compulsive, edge-of-seat listening. —Margaret Kingsbury

    young adult

    This Woven Kingdom

    by Tahereh Mafi

    I’ve been an avid reader of Mafi’s since her dystopian hit Shatter Me, and her foray into the world of YA fantasy contains rich imagery and characters, a spellbinding, twisty plot, and lyrical prose. This Woven Kingdom is a story set within a Persian kingdom, inspired by Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, and follows two main points of view: a servant girl named Alizeh and the crown prince Kamran. Alizeh is not just a servant, but an heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom who has been forced into hiding. When she meets Kamran, who has an inkling there’s more to Alizeh than what he sees, they begin to learn they’ll have to work together for the sake of their kingdom. Once you finish, it will be impossible not to crave the next book in this planned trilogy. —Farrah Penn

    Daughters of a Dead Empire

    by Carolyn Tara O'Neil

    Russia is on the edge of civil war in 1918 following the execution of Tsar Nicholas, and this novel expertly tells the stories of a pair of girls caught in the center. Evgenia is a communist peasant girl in search of a doctor for her brother, accepting a diamond in exchange for taking a bourgeois girl as far south as possible. The latter, Anna, barely escaped the massacre that took the rest of her family from her, and is being hunted by the Bolsheviks. This fresh, thrilling take on Anastasia establishes that O'Neil is a debut author to watch. —Rachel Strolle

    Full Flight

    by Ashley Schumacher

    If you like your books to leave you ugly-crying in your car after just thinking about it, weeks after you've finished, then you need this book. Fall is contest season for the marching band, and new saxophonist Anna is determined to prove herself. When she's assigned mellophone player Weston as a duet partner, she's slightly intimidated — after all, the town thinks he's nothing but trouble. But as the two, and the marching contest, grow closer, forces threaten to tear them apart. —Rachel Strolle

    You Truly Assumed

    by Laila Sabreen

    After a terrorist attack brings a new wave of Islamophobia into Sabriya's life, she turns to her online journal, You Truly Assumed, for comfort. But when it goes viral, fellow Muslim teens flock to it and find a community in it. Soon, Zakat and Farah join Bri in running the blog — Zakat after her own haven is vandalized and Farah in the midst of a dreaded visit with her father and his new family — as it continues to grow. But when one of them is threatened, they must determine who is behind it, and whether to shut the blog down or to make sure their voices are still heard. —Rachel Strolle

    Ophelia After All

    by Racquel Marie

    Ophelia Rojas — lover of Cuban food, rose gardening, her best friends, and boys — is a hopeless romantic, despite the gentle ribbing from her friends and parents about her endless stream of crushes. But with prom coming up right after a breakup, she's surprised to find herself crushing on quiet Talia Sanchez. With her friend group cracking under the impending arrival of graduation and separation, and the unraveling of the identity Ophelia thought she knew, it's time for her to discover who she truly is. This contemplative coming-of-age is a perfect addition to YA shelves. —Rachel Strolle

    The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

    by Axie Oh

    If you're looking to be swept into a magical world, dive into the pages of this majestic magical marvel of a book. Every year, a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the bride of the Sea God in hopes that when the true bride is chosen, the deadly storms that sweep away entire villages will end. Many believe the true bride is Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village and the beloved of Joon. But when Joon's sister Mina sees Joon following Cheong to the sea, despite the death sentence that goes hand in hand with interference, Mina throws herself in the water to save him. But the Spirit Realm is not what the village believed, as the Sea God is asleep, and Mina must work with a mysterious young man named Shin to wake him. —Rachel Strolle

    All the Right Reasons

    by Bethany Mangle

    Cara didn't mean for her rant about her father to go viral. Honestly, even posting it in the first place was an accident. But it quickly catches the attention of TV producers that are working on a new dating show for single parent families, and they quickly sweep Cara and her mom off to film. While they work to narrow down the competition full of suitors and their kids, including a contestant she's desperate to move her mom away from, the two begin to clash in the cutthroat world of reality TV. But both find themselves falling for forbidden loves, with Cara falling for son-of-a-contestant Connor, and her mom falling for someone outside the field of contestants. Plus, there's the looming presence of her father and his new wife in their lives...a presence the producers are all too willing to mine for drama. This new release is an absolute delight, with shades of Gilmore Girls and The Bachelorette, and one that should definitely be on your radar. —Rachel Strolle

    In the Serpent's Wake

    by Rachel Hartman

    Seraphina introduced the kingdom of Goredd, filled with both humans and dragons. The spinoff, Tess of the Road, returned to that world, presenting a girl fighting back against a world where troublemakers like her don't fit into the mold of proper ladies. With the help of a quigtl friend, she had to work through heavy secrets from her past. Now Tess is back in this sequel, exploring a whole new part of the world on a complicated mission. She's joined by Spira, a dragon seeking a new identity, Marga, a countess, and Jacomo, a priest searching for his soul. The unlikely group will have to find a Serpent at the bottom of the world, the very last of its kind. It's impossible to count the number of people I know who have screamed about how wonderful Tess of the Road is, so let me add to that chorus and tell you that this sequel makes picking up the series even more desirable. —Rachel Strolle

    Finding Her Edge

    by Jennifer Iacopelli

    It shouldn't take a lot of persuasion on my part to get you to read this ice dance romance, but I'll try anyway. Adriana is the daughter of gold-medalist parents, and her sister is heading to the Olympics. All she wants is to live up to the family name, hoping to earn a spot on the podium at the upcoming Junior World Championships. But her dad's lavish lifestyle doesn't quite live up to his income, and their skating rink is struggling because of it. So a deal to host the rest of the Junior World team is reached, and now Adriana is training on the same ice as her first crush, Freddie — the one who barely acknowledged her existence for the last two years. But to drum up even more publicity, her partner Brayden suggests telling the world that they are together, leaving her caught between the past and present. This Austen retelling from one of the best sporty YA writers is deserving of a gold medal all its own. —Rachel Strolle

    Golden Boys

    by Phil Stamper

    If you've been sitting there wondering why you haven't yet read a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-esque summer adventure book about a friend group of four queer boys, you don't need to wait any longer, because Golden Boys is here to fulfill all those dreams. Sal, Reese, Gabriel, and Heath are small-town best friends, united by their queerness and their big dreams. It's the summer before their senior year, and each is heading off in a different direction. Sal is journeying to Capitol Hill, interning for a US senator. Reese voyages to Paris for design school. Gabriel winds up in Boston, volunteering with an environmental nonprofit. And Heath, regrettably, is heading to Daytona Beach, assisting his aunt at her beachfront arcade. This warm hug of a novel contains plans, pride, and passions, and will delight you. —Rachel Strolle

    Mirror Girls

    by Kelly McWilliams

    Charlie and Magnolia are twins, but have grown up in different worlds. Separated after the lynching of their parents, killed for loving across the color line, Charlie lives in Harlem and is a young Black organizer, while white-passing Magnolia is heiress to a Georgia cotton plantation. When Magnolia learns the truth of her heritage, her reflection vanishes from mirrors. And when Charlie's grandmother falls ill and wishes to be buried in Georgia, Charlie reunites with the sister she never knew she had in their ghostly town. This haunting story will stick with you for a very long time. —Rachel Strolle

    Sunny G's Series of Rash Decisions

    by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

    Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, this contemporary debut stars a Sikh boy named Sunny who's re-finding himself in the wake of the death of his golden boy brother. Now determined to truly live under a new set of bold and brazen rules, Sunny has cut his hair and shaved his beard, plays in a band, and allows himself a wild night of going wherever the wind takes him. Except the wind is actually a girl from school who shakes things up more than Sunny himself ever could, forcing him to confront what it really means to make rash decisions, to live life, and to follow his heart. —Dahlia Adler

    children's fiction

    Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

    by Jamar J. Perry

    Two years ago, Cameron's parents disappeared, and ever since, his grandmother has kept The Book of Chidani locked away. The book tells stories of a fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger...and it's been calling to Cameron. When he and his friends decide to open the book, it transports them to a Chidani in extreme peril rather than the land of beauty the book presented. Chidani has been waiting for a hero to return and save them, and they think it's Cameron. —Rachel Strolle