What's Up in YA

Victorian Tightrope Dancers, Pirate Adventures, and More!

Hey YA Readers!

I’m Erica, another editor at Book Riot, and I’ll be filling in for Kelly while she’s on vacay. I don’t know about you, but I’m racing to finish all my spooky books before the end of October. I mean, I can and will read them anytime, but reading them during spooky season just hits different, you know?

Anywho, I’ve got a bookish goodie, new paperbacks out, and some YA news! Let’s go

Bookish Goods

bookworm tote bag

Bookworm tote bag by DesignGifts01

You can’t have too many totes! I will say that till the end of my days. This cute one is only $10

New Releases

Welcome to paperback releases out this week. This is but a sample of what’s hitting shelves; you can grab the full list of paperback books out this week over here!

Note that you may need to toggle to the paperback edition from the link.

Cover of The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

Iris is used to being regarded as strange. As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian England, she is always made to feel like a spectacle. If only people really knew how strange she was. Like how she can’t die, for instance. Knowing this oddity about herself and little else, she’s obsessed with learning about herself. That’s why when the dark and mysterious Adam Temple lets on that he knows something of who she is, she’s intrigued. But his help comes with a price, namely competing as his champion in a tournament where people with fantastical abilities compete to become the leader of the upcoming apocalypse.

A Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by MacKenzie Lee

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

Here is the final book in the Montague Siblings trilogy. This time, we follow Adrian Motague, a political writer making a name for himself. But he has a secret: he has the same mental illness his mother struggled with for years. Once he finds a relic of hers — a broken spyglass — the past descends on him and he meets the older brother he never knew about. To find answers about his and his mother’s past, he’ll travel pirate courts, Amsterdam’s canals, and uncharted waters.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

YA Book News

Thanks for joining me today! I’ll say “hi” one more time for Monday’s newsletter, then it’s back to Kelly-Kels. If you want to holler at me, find me on the Hey YA podcast with Tirzah, on Twitter @erica_eze_, or in the In Reading Color or In the Club newsletters.

Until next time, happy reading!


What's Up in YA

Sweeping Chinese Fantasy, Young Reader Editions, and More YA Book Talk: October 24, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

I lied about my time off. I’m actually here today, but Erica will be your all-things-YA guide the rest of the week. I am writing to you in the future from the past, bringing you a look at the latest in YA releases and a look at two upcoming Young Reader Adaptations of adult nonfiction titles you’ll want on your TBR.

Ready? Let’s dive on in.

Bookish Goods

late night readers club shirt

Late Night Readers Club Shirt by YANovelDesigns

Are you or someone you love a member of the late night readers club? Get a shirt to honor that commitment. $18 and up, up to size 4XL, and the ’80s/’90s vibes of this one cannot be beat.

New Releases

Let’s look at two hardcover books hitting shelves this week. You can find the rest of this week’s new releases in the fall roundup of new hardcovers.

strike the zither book cover

Strike The Zither by Joan He

The first in a new series that reimagines the Chinese classic story of the Three Kingdoms, we’re dropped into the year 414 during the Xin Dynasty. It is a time of chaos, with a puppet empress at the throne. The land has splintered into three different factions, and now, three warlordesses are itching to take control all for themselves.

Enter Zephyr.

Zephyr knows there’s no contest. She’s a strategist, a skill she’s developed after being orphaned and after studying under Xin Ren, a warlordess. Ren has loyalty to the empress only so much as it is strategic. When Zephyr infiltrates an enemy camp and meets an opposing strategist, she is taken aback. But in a world where everyone could be an enemy, is Zephyr setting herself and Ren up for disaster?

we are all we have book cover

We Are All We Have by Marina Budhos

It’s 2019 and Raina is ready for the best summer of her life. But everything changes in an instant when ICE knocks at the door of her family’s Brooklyn apartment and takes her single mother away.

Alone with her brother, Raina has to figure out what to do and how to survive. She thought their asylum case was settled, but now, desperate for answers, she, her brother, and new friend Carlos, will take a road trip to find them.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

I love YA nonfiction, and if you’ve been here any amount of time, you know it’s a category of young adult literature I am conscious of regularly highlighting. It used to be that Young Reader Editions of adult books could…be a little underwhelming. They did not feel like their own unique thing so much as a condensed version of the adult book (and I remember as a librarian thinking that any teen who would want to read that book would just pick up the original).

Today, the world of young reader editions is so, so different. These books are incredible in their own right, and even for those of us who have maybe read the adult versions, the young reader editions offer new perspectives and insights making them worth picking up, too. These do not “dumb down” the original; they’re in conversation with them and make the topics relevant, timely, and valuable for today’s teens. As a bonus, the young reader editions make for great adult reading, particularly for those who might be intimidated by or do not have time for the original.

Here are two hitting shelves soon; you’ll want to make sure they are on your radar.

braiding sweetgrass young reader edition

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt (November 1)

If you’re interested at all in nature, the environment, climate, and science, this is a must-read. It braids together Indigenous wisdom and “classroom science,” to highlight what we can learn from the world around us.

I read the original a few years back and it completely changed the way I engage with and see the world. The new young reader edition takes what is in the original and offers even more wisdom, alongside illustrations, sidebars, and exercises for applying what lies within the pages into the bigger world.

caste young reader edition

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Adapted for Young Adults) by Isabel Wilkerson (November 22)

If ever there was a time to learn about race, racism, and the hidden (or not so hidden) systems of power at play in America, it is now. Wilkerson’s adaptation explores the hidden caste system in the country, exploring how those in power have exploited it for their own gain over and over.

But don’t be tricked into thinking this book is only heartbreaking and angering (and indeed, it is both). The book also offers ways forward and encourages ways to challenge and work toward destroying these systems.

As always, thanks for hanging out. Until next time, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, currently reading Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson.

What's Up in YA

Gods Beneath The Sea and More New YA Books and YA Book News: October 20, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

I hope things are going well in your world. It’s been a slow reading week here, though I have been enjoying my current audiobook a LOT; it’s Meet Me By The Fountain, not YA, but about malls and mall culture, so it does tackle a lot of teen talk and discusses the mall as it has historically appeared in teen fiction.

Let’s take a look at this week’s paperback book releases and YA book news.

Bookish Goods

image of a sticky note pad with red mushrooms

Red Mushroom Sticky Notes

We’re going more book adjacent than straight bookish today, but what better way to take notes on your current read or save your place in your current read than an adorable sticky note?

These cute toadstool sticky notes are perfect for fans of all things fall and cottagecore. $5.

New Releases

Welcome to paperback releases out this week. This is but a sample of what’s hitting shelves; you can grab the full list of paperback books out this week over here!

Note that you may need to toggle to the paperback edition from the link.

This week, there are no paperback releases in my records by authors of color. This roundup is not representative of this week’s new releases in terms of diversity and representation.

deeplight book cover

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

It’s been a minute since I’ve read Hardinge, but she has been continuing to build a big, loyal fanbase in the U.S. (she’s had one in her native UK for a long time). This one is pitched as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea meets Frankenstein, and it follows in the years after all of the gods have destroyed themselves. Finding even a scrap of them can be worth a fortune, but few are brave enough to search the depths of the sea.

Fifteen year old Hark finds a still-beating heart of one of the gods and now needs to protect it with his life. This heart could be the way he saves his best friend. But when his best friend Jett touches the heart, he begins to transform. Now Hark has to decide whether to stay loyal to his friend, despite the weird changes he’s experiencing, or whether he needs to put an end to it.

the snow fell three graves deep book cover

The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf

This one is short and sweet: it’s a verse novelization of the Donner Party. I loved Wolf’s take on the Titanic in The Watch That Ends the Night, and this book does something similar in giving a multitude of voices and perspectives on a single historical event.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

YA Book News

Thanks for hanging out. I’ll be out on PTO next week — I’m taking my “holiday break” at the end of October, instead of during the actual holidays — but you’ll be in the capable hands of Erica.

Until then, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Twitter.

What's Up in YA

New WWII YA Books, Celebrating Diwali, and More YA Book Talk: October 17, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

This is my fall break between classes in my counseling program*, and what I love about these little week-long breaks is my belief that I will read dozens of books during them. The truth is, I read the same amount I read when in class — sure, I get back a few hours on the weekend, but those hours are used for all of the other things that got put off, too. I may be able to listen to my audiobooks a little longer, but at some point, I think I’ll learn my eyes are bigger than the calendar and clock and, well, my own energy.

Which is all to say that this is your reminder that no matter how much you do — or don’t — read at any time, you’re still a reader and book lover.

*At some point, I’ll dig into bibliotheraphy, which has been a modality and practice talked about far more than I anticipated and that I think has some really cool research behind it.

Enough from me! Let’s dive into this week’s new books and take a look at YA books fitting for Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Bookish Goods

read banned books print

Read Banned Books Print by SpaceInkShop

This linograph style print not only has a good message, but it is really nice to look at, too. $15.

New Releases

Let’s look at two hardcover books hitting shelves this week. You can find the rest of this week’s new releases in the fall roundup of new hardcovers.

This week, two books about World War II that explore two very different wartime experiences from two different marginalized groups.

beneath a wide silk sky book cover

Beneath the Wide Silk Sky by Emily Inouye Huey

Sam Sakamoto lives in rural Washington and following the recent death of her mother, knows she has to put aside her dreams of becoming a photographer to focus on the family farm. Sam has to help ensure they can make payments on it and keep their livelihood safe.

What Sam doesn’t anticipate is the coming war. It’s December 1941 and Pearl Harbor has just been attacked. White Americans are turning their hatred toward Japanese Americans and, as much hope and promise as there seems to be between Sam and her neighbor Hiro — he wants to help her stoke her creative flames with photography — the real threat of Japanese incarceration camps may put those things even further out of reach.

nothing sung and nothing spoken book cover

Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken by Nita Tyndall

This queer historical romance, set during the Swing Youth movement in World War II Berlin, follows Charlotte, a teen who would go anywhere Angelika would. That’s how she finds herself in an underground club the summer before the start of the war, dancing to jazz and swing music, both of which were not allowed (not to say anything of the queer club, of course).

Charlie knows she should keep this club and all of this dancing a secret, but she tells her friend Geri. Now, they’re going to the club over and over…despite the rise of the Nazi party and their dangerous rules.

Now, those swing dancers are ready to break even more rules. But how far will they go?

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

This week is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a celebration that honors the triumph of good over evil. People from India, Singapore, and other South Asian countries celebrate, and though it is a holiday associated with Hindu, Sikh, and Jain faiths, it has become a much broader cultural celebrations. It begins on the 24th this year and runs five days, during which a number of diverse traditions happen. Some of the most common include gathering with family, the lighting of candles, and the sharing of sweets and other special food.

For those who don’t celebrate or may be less familiar with the festivities, perhaps you may be more familiar with some of the elaborate (and GORGEOUS!) rangoli — these intricate pieces of art are created on the floor and involve rice, flowers, and sand.

Finding YA books where Diwali is part of the story is a challenge. There are a number of great children’s picture books, but for YA? Few, if any. That said, the themes of family and togetherness are huge in books by authors from these cultural backgrounds. Let’s take a look at three books to read in honor of Diwali (and, obviously, far beyond it, too!).

born confused book cover

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

A classic of YA lit, this book is a standalone in a duology that follows Dimple Lala, a teen who has spent her life resisting her parents’ traditions. And now as she’s preparing to turn 17, things get more complicated as she reels from a breakup, a friend who seems to be MIA, and her parents’ insistence she marry a “suitable boy.”

…So when that “suitable boy” happens to be spinning at a club Dimple goes to, she’s thrown for a loop about where and how to find herself, where and how to follow tradition, and when it is okay to forge her own path.

tina's mouth book cover

Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap, illustrated by Mari Araki

Tina, who is in 10th grade, just got into a fight with her best friend Alex. Their friendship is in tatters, and Tina doesn’t really know how to move on. It’s made even harder since Alex is so easily slipped into the popular girl role. Then there’s Neil, the boy Tina has a fierce crush on, but with whom she doesn’t think she has a chance. Over the course of the story, which is set up as a project for Tina’s class on existentialism, Tina figures out who she is, what she likes to do, and who her true friends are. The art in this one is spare, allowing the story to really shine, and it is a book steeped in Indian culture.

you bring the distant near book cover

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

A complex and lovely intergenerational story about culture, about citizenship, about family, and all tied together through powerful romances. Each of the five characters are distinct, but what I loved is seeing where and how each of the five women make one another whole — and how their different interests and passions run through their family.

As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll see you later this week for your YA paperback releases and your YA book news.

Until then, happy reading (or not reading!).

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Twitter.

What's Up in YA

An Epic Adventure Fantasy, Esports Competition, and More YA Books and Book News: October 13, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

The weather here has been what could be described only as picture perfect fall — sunny, with crisp-but-not-cold air, with trees aflame in all of the autumnal hues. It’s made crawling beneath a blanket to read feel so dang right.

Let’s dive into this week’s paperback releases and YA book news so we can all get back to really indulging in fall reading (or mentally indulging, if it’s not a reality this second).

Bookish Goods

bad witch book club sweatshirt

Bad Witch Book Club Sweatshirt

It’s sweatshirt and hoodie weather (well, almost — it’s still in the mid-60s and 70s here) and this Bad Witch Book Club sweatshirt is thematic now…and frankly all year long. Snag it in several color options, through size 5XL, for $34.

New Releases

Welcome to paperback releases out this week. This is but a sample of what’s hitting shelves; you can grab the full list of paperback books out this week over here!

Note that you may need to toggle to the paperback edition from the link.

dont hate the player book cover

Don’t Hate The Player by Alexis Nedd

This might be the only book I can think of that tackles esports, despite esports being a huge thing.

By day, Emilia Romero is a field hockey star and incredible student. By night, she’s the only female member of a successful esports team. She keeps that part of her life on the down-low, since it can be a rough place to be a girl. When a major esports competition comes to her town, she decides it’s time to prove herself, both to her team and to the broader community of players.

One problem: a member of a rival team recognizes her. And that rival, Jake, has had a crush on her for a long time. Can they forge a real relationship and keep Emilia’s secret life safe? Or will there be consequences for their feelings?

This is a fabulous read alike to Eric Smith’s Don’t Read The Comments (and lol at their title similarities, even!).

jade fire gold book cover

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

Love the collision of romance, action, and magic? Then look no further.

Their world is on the brink of war, and Ahn — who is without a family or past — meets Altan — a lost heir — and the two of them see each other as an answer. Altan may be able to reclaim the throne while Ahn may be able to understand the power of the magical (and deadly) abilities.

There will, of course, be a price to pay in their quest for knowledge, for answers, and for power.

Tan’s stand alone fantasy has been pitched as Girls of Paper and Fire meets A Song of Wraiths and Ruin.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

YA Book News

As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll catch you on Saturday with some great book deals.

In the mean time, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, currently reading Woman, Eating by Claire Kodha (not YA, but would definitely appeal to fans of The Moth Diaries).

What's Up in YA

A Reimagined Rapunzel, Pandemic Lit, Audio Nonfiction, and More YA Book Talk: October 10, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

I hope your week is starting off strong. Let’s keep it going with a look at this week’s new book releases and two outstanding nonfiction titles on audio for your listening needs.

Bookish Goods

green due date cards

50 Green Library Cards by Knot and Bow

Every month, I share my reading stats over on Instagram using a library due date card. Every month, I get asked where I get them. The answer is Etsy! This is one of the packs I’m just about out of and will need to replace soon. $8 for 50!

New Releases

Let’s look at two hardcover books hitting shelves this week. You can find the rest of this week’s new releases in the fall roundup of new hardcovers.

i miss you, i hate this book cover

I Miss You, I Hate This by Sara Saedi

I am in the middle of this one right now, and I went in without any knowledge, other than I love Saedi’s writing. This is a pandemic book, but in a lot of ways…it’s very cathartic for me so far.

Parisa Naficy and Gabriela Gonzales are seniors and despite how different they are — Parisa is from a wealthy family and Gabriela’s moms can hardly make ends meet — they build a strong friendship. It’s them against the world.

But when a global pandemic hits and their entire lives are turned upside down, what do their futures look like?

This one is funny, it’s full of heart, and, like I said, surprisingly cathartic, despite how much I didn’t think I wanted to read a book about the pandemic.

princess of souls book cover

Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo

Itching for a Rapunzel-inspired YA fantasy? This is it.

Selestra has been trapped in a tower for 16 years as she waits to take her mother’s place as the King’s Witch. The King’s Witch foretells death at the Festival Predictions and those who outrun the prediction get the chance to steal immortality from the King.

No one has had that chance yet, as everyone has failed to outrun their own death.

Nox is a soldier in the King’s army and he’s ready to take the King’s mortality, as well as kill his court. Nox is Selestra’s first prediction. But as soon as she touches Nox, death is out for both of them. Now they have to work together to outrun their fate.

I’m so glad to see the YA snake cover slither back in, too.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

I’ve been enjoying a lot of nonfiction on audio lately — and to be fair, I usually only listen to nonfiction on audio — but I’ve been conscious of listening to more YA nonfiction specifically. Here are two excellent listens to catch up on great YA nonfiction (& a way to continue understanding how vast this category of literature is, as these are two very different books).

what the fact book cover

What The Fact?: Finding the Truth in All the Noise by Dr. Seema Yasmin

This should be essential reading for everyone. Yasmin’s book is a guide to information, digital, and media literacy, and in a very listenable way, breaks down how to differentiate fact from fiction in what you read. The history of how newspapers shifted between being sensational to “objective” — if objectivity is even the goal — grounds the book, and Yasmin does a stellar job exploring how we become media savvy in a culture that makes it as challenging as possible to do just that.

The audio for this is compelling, so don’t think a book about literacy will be too academic. There are sound effects used very thoughtfully, and Yasmin’s performance showcases not only her expertise on the topic but also her passion and enthusiasm for helping young people (and honestly, I learned so much* even though I do this for a living!) navigate the world of news, fake news, mis-/dis-/mal- information, and more.

Yasmin won’t tell you what to think or how to think. That line, which she delivers repeatedly, is what will cause many of the purveyors of fake and misleading news to absolutely hate this book.

But really and truly, she doesn’t.

*I was surprised to learn — even though I shouldn’t be — how it’s not uncommon to pay people with certain pedigrees to give soundbites and quotes that are purposefully wrong or misleading. I have always thought it to happen, especially as I watch “doctors” and “therapists” being cited by right-wing book banners about the dangers of reading the books they don’t like, but hearing it and being validated about those hunches was powerful.

we are not broken book cover

We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson

Johnson is one of the best memoirists writing for YA readers right now. This book is an encapsulation of the joys and challenges of growing up a Black boy in America and it’s a moving love letter to Johnson’s grandmother and cousins, who helped shape them to be who they are today. Interstitials from Johnson’s cousins written as letters to their grandma are beautiful and poignant.

This is a book about grief, but the way it’s written is also a tremendous celebration of a force of Black womanhood and Black family life. The audio is performed by the author and it is out of this world good. I loved All Boys Aren’t Blue on audio, Johnson’s debut, but I may have loved listening to this one even more.

Note content warnings on this one for sexual assault, death, and difficult family relationships.

As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll see you later this week with your YA news and new paperback releases.

Until then, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Twitter.

What's Up in YA

A Queer Mystery, Families Unexpectedly Reunited, and More YA Books + Book News: October 6, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

I am back and can’t wait to dive back into all things YA. While my plans to do a lot of reading were, err, not the most successful, I will say I listened to an incredible YA nonfiction title on audio I’ll talk more about in Monday’s newsletter.

Bookish Goods

personalized embroidered corner bookmarks

Personalized Embroidered Corner Bookmarks by CraftyDreamsbyAsh

As we roll closer to gift giving season, why not surprise a book lover – or treat yourself to! – a personalized embroidered corner bookmark? These are so lovely and would make a recipient feel so special. The craftsmanship on these is incredible! $35.

New Releases

Welcome to paperback releases out this week. This is but a sample of what’s hitting shelves; you can grab the full list of paperback books out this week over here!

Note that you may need to toggle to the paperback edition from the link.

a line in the dark book cover

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

I love that Malinda’s mystery/thriller is getting a repackage following the huge success of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, though admittedly, the original cover for this book is fantastic. Alas, I suspect this might bring in some new readers who love books that look like this one.

Jess Wong is okay being a girl on the sidelines, always watching and observing. The most important thing to her is being best friends with Angie…even if Angie doesn’t quite pick up all of Jess’s cues. So when Angie begins falling for a girl at a local boarding school named Margot, Jess’s observational skills are heightened.

Angie keeps bringing Jess into her budding friendship with Margot, but Jess continues to resist. Something is wrong with Margot and her circle, but Angie keeps getting closer. When things take the turn Jess saw coming, it is Jess who will have to step in and crack open the secrets and darkness among the three of them.

Go to this one and stay for a twisty story of friendship…and maybe something more.

things we couldn't say book cover

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles

This one has been on my radar since it was announced and I’m so glad I could be reminded to pick it up sooner, rather than later, in its paperback edition.

A look at the complexities of love – the romantic kind, the familial kind, and the friendship kind – is at the center of the story of Gio, a bisexual teen navigating his father’s drinking habit and friends who seem to keep wanting him involved in their drama. Complicating his life more is his mother, who left him, his brother, and his father, when Gio was 9.

Gio’s mother is back now, and he’s not sure what to do. Does he forgive her? Does he ask questions?

….and then, there’s this boy Gio is starting to catch feelings for, too.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

YA Book News

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you with some (EXCELLENT) deals on Saturday and new books + book talk on Monday.

Until then, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, currently reading The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund.

What's Up in YA

Witchy Vibes, New Releases, and More YA Book Talk: October 3, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

I’m back for the final time before Kelly returns and I’m in a witchy kinda fall mood and here to spread the vibes. I’ve got a Hocus Pocus sweatshirt, new releases, and some witchy YA reads to start off October right!

Bookish Goods

Hocus Pocus Sweatshirt/Tee

Hocus Pocus Sweatshirt/Tee by LureBoutiqueClothing

It’s the time of year when I rewatch Hocus Pocus. You already know I’ll be doing so in my new sweatshirt. $30+

New Releases

A Scatter of Light cover

A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo

This takes place nearly 60 years after Lo’s award-winning Last Night at the Telegraph Club (and shows a little of what happened with the characters after the book finished). This one is still set in California, but this time we’re following Aria Tang West, who gets banished from Martha’s Vineyard to California by her parents. She’s made to stay with her artist grandmother, and is surprised that what she thought would be a boring summer is made anything but by her grandmother’s gardener Steph Nichols. Steph has her questioning her identity and introduces her to a whole new world full of new experiences and community.

The First to Die at the end cover

The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

This is the prequel to the mega popular They Both Die at the End. In it, we follow two new strangers who both sign up for Death-Cast. Even though there is still some doubt concerning whether this thing called “Death-Cast” can really predict when someone will die, Orion Pagan and Valentino Price both sign up, anyway. Orion has a heart condition and just wants to know when his final day will be, while Valentino became more cautious because of a near fatal accident his twin sister was in. The two of them meet in Times Square and immediately click, but then the first End Day calls go out and one of them is told they will die but the other isn’t. Neither of them knows what will really happen in the end, but they both know they want to spend whatever remaining time together.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

I am a moody, seasonal reader who loves all things witchy, so naturally I am super excited to read all the new witchy books during October. I’ve highlighted a couple here for you to join in the fun!

Cover of Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson

Deep in Providence by Riss M. Nielson

Miliani, Inez, Jasmine, and Natalie are best friends living in Providence, Rhode Island who spend their time together practicing the Filipine brand of magic Miliani’s grandfather taught her. When Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, their world is upended. They make a plan to resurrect her with magic, but they soon learn that to make this happen, they’ll have to sacrifice a lot. Long-held secrets are revealed and bonds fracture as the girls try to contend with the loss of their friend.

Over My Dead Body cover

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo

In this graphic novel, Abby’s best friend Noreen goes missing. The two girls are students at Younwity’s Institute of Magic where young witches learn to hone their craft. Because of Samhain festival preparations, no one gives too much attention to Abby when she presses the issue of Noreen’s disappearance, they assume, instead, that the Coven will find her. Something is telling Abby not to trust that, though, and her investigations soon lead her to finding out secrets and she gets directed to the woods that are off limits where another girl went missing years ago.

The color palette is rich and the overall vibe is dark academia + witches, which is just something that is perfect for fall.

Thanks for having out with me while Kelly was gone! If you’d like to come say hi, you can find me at @erica_eze_ on Twitter or talking all things YA on the Hey YA podcast with Tirzah Price.

Until next time!


What's Up in YA

Forbidden Magic, A Cynic’s Romance, and More YA Book Talk & News: September 29, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

It’s Erica! I’m back to hang out and talk YA while Kelly’s out for the week.

How’s your reading been going lately? I just officially started off spooky season yesterday with a pumpkin spice latte and the audiobook of Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson. I read her book Dead Girl Gang around this time last year and thought it was so much fun. Scout’s Honor is about a girl who has to rejoin a social club that is kind of like the Girl Scouts…except their main purpose is slaying parasitic aliens who feast on human emotions and flesh. If I finish it before Kelly gets back, I’ll let you know how I liked it.

Bookish Goods

Celestial Stars and Moon Holographic and Gold book holder

Celestial Stars and Moon Holographic and Gold Book Holder by LovetheAlchemy

I love everything moon, stars, and astrology, and this page holder is both pretty (holographic!) and sturdy (birch wood!). $15

New Releases

Welcome to paperback releases out this week. To check out a more complete list, head here.

Note that you may need to toggle to the paperback edition from the link.

Descendant of the Crane  paperback cover

Descendant of the Crane by Jone He

This is a Chinese-inspired fantasy that is full of court deception. it follows Princess Hesina of the land of Yan, who is a reluctant royal. That is, until her father is murdered and she suddenly has to rule. To find out who killed him, she enlists the help of a psychic, even though magic was banned years ago. With her illegally obtained clues, she gets Akira, an investigator, to further help her suss out what happened since she can’t trust anyone. Not even her own family.

It Only Happens in the Movies cover

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Audrey is understandably cynical about romance. With her parents’ divorce and her own breakup, she’s justifiably not the most romantic person right now. When she meets Harry, who is one of her movie theater coworkers, she thinks she can resist his confident flirting. She’s wrong, of course, but that doesn’t mean their romance will be like it is in the movies…

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Thanks for chilling with me for a minute! I’ll be back with Saturday’s YA book deals.

In the meantime, you can catch Tirzah and I talking about some great YA books by Latine authors to read for Latine Heritage Month (and every other month of the year, obvi).

Until then,


What's Up in YA

A YA Birthday Party, Fake-Dating Laughs, and More YA Book Talk: September 26, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

One of my favorite things to do is take a week off working to do absolutely nothing. I try to do it around my birthday, as a way to ease into another whole year of life. I’m off this week for that reason and cannot wait to spend time indulging in self-care, fancy coffees from my favorite cafe, doing yoga, and, of course, reading.

You’ll hear from one of my fab colleagues the rest of the week and into early next.

Bookish Goods

book cork board

Book Pin Board by TowerofTreasure

I adore this cork board shaped like an open book. How fun would this be as a place to track your reading progress or, if you work in a school or a library, a place to share what you’re reading/book recommendations/engage in a passive program with teens? $29+.

New Releases

Let’s look at two hardcover books hitting shelves this week. You can find the rest of this week’s new releases in the summer 2022 YA book release roundup. The fall roundup of new hardcovers hit Book Riot last week, too, so get ready to launch into that more fully in October.

lark and kasim start a revolution book cover

Lark and Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender

Because Lark wants to be a writer, they begin to build a social media following. Kasim, Lark’s former best friend, accidentally posts on Lark’s Twitter threat about deep and unrequited love for a secret crush and now, those tweets are the subject of school obsession. Who are they in reference to? Lark decides they’ll protect Kasim and claim those tweets were in reference to another classmate. . . but now, with the school and thousands of outsiders following and trying to unravel the truth behind those tweets, it might be bringing Lark and Kasim closer together. Can love ignite revolution?

well that was unexpected book cover

Well That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Sharlot’s mother has caught her in a “compromising position” and decides the best solution is for them to head to her mother’s native Indonesia.

Meanwhile, George Clooney Tanuwijaya’s father–yes, he’s obsessed with American celebrities–is also trying to rein in his son. They are some of the wealthiest people in Indonesia and no way can anything mar the family’s reputation.

So when Sharlot’s mother and George’s father strike up conversation online, each pretending to be one another’s children, they think it’ll be so their children find the “right” kind of partner. But when the real Sharlot and George find out about what their parents are doing, they are horrified…and then maybe begin to actually fall for one another.

This one’s got fake dating, ridiculous parents, a romantic island adventure, and loads of humor.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

It is true that there are very few books on non-Christmas holidays in YA. It’s especially true for non-Christian focused holidays, though we’re finally seeing the tides turn a bit here. There are books like Gloria Chao’s Rent-A-Boyfriend which travels from Thanksgiving through Chinese New Year, and we’ll see Suzanne Park’s The Christmas Clash hit shelves early next month, which is set at Christmas but follows rival Korean and Chinese restaurants. Slowly but surely, there are books representing Jewish traditions making their way onto shelves and (if reading book announcements doesn’t steer me wrong) more than a couple Halloween-set stories, too.

One thing that still seems to be another rare breed in YA? Books about birthdays. It seems much more prevalent in middle grade than YA, despite the fact teens celebrate some pretty milestone birthdays: 15, 16, and 18, among them.

I don’t know about anyone else in my age bracket [deeply elder millennial], but I lived for the early seasons of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, wondering what it must be like to have access to such unlimited funds and connections during my teens. I’d love even more of that spirit–and the opposite, too–in YA. Not to mention that there are so many possibilities in the realm of sci fi and fantasy for birthday-focused stories.

Let’s look at a couple that are out there and wish upon some candles we see more. Imagine all of the possibilities.

once upon a quincenera book cover

Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

18-year-old Carmen wants a happy ever after, but that’s not looking possible. She’s doing a summer internship that involves performing in a ballgown during the hot summer heat in Miami. Not ideal.

Worse? The company she’s interning for is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s quinceañera, which promises to be over-the-top. Carmen’s required dance partner for the party? Her ex-boyfriend Mauro.

Can Carmen find her happily ever after? Is it possible as she’s now being put inside her Worst Possible Scenario?

sugar town queens book cover

Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn

Amandla and her mom have always been the talk of Sugar Town. Her mom struggles with visions and beliefs that if a certain behavior is practiced, Amandla’s father will return. They’re also the talk of town because Amandla is brown and her mother is white.

So when Amandla wakes up on her 15th birthday and her mom has had a vision–if Amandla wears a specific blue sheet and a halo, then her father will come back. Amandla writes it off, of course. Until she discovers a mysterious address and bundle of cash in the bottom of her mother’s purse. She’s going to make it her mission to find her father. But what she discovers is so much bigger than she could ever imagine.

A few other birthday themed books worth adding to your TBR include Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson (the birthday is an inciting incident), Birthday by Meredith Russo, and You Wish by Mandy Hubbard.

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you later this week.

Until then, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Twitter.