My year of not buying many books is still going strong, mostly because I’m able to access a lot of books through Netgalley and my audiobook service. I actually have eARCs for 2 of the books listed in this post, 2 will be available on my audiobook service when they come out, and I’ve preordered a signed hardcover of the 5th one, so I think that’s not too bad at all.
Curious what books I’m talking about? Let’s get into them!
Claribel A. Ortega – Ghost Squad
Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.
For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.
Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.
With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.
I’ve been hyped for this book ever since it was announced, which feels like such a long time ago, and I can’t wait to finally be able to read it. This is one of my most anticipated middlegrade releases of the year, and it sounds so incredible.
Alex Gino – Rick
From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.
Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.
But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.
As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.
Another middlegrade I’m really looking forward to is Rick! I loved George when I read it, and this LGBTQ+ middlegrade will focus on a young boy realizing he’s asexual, which I’m so excited for, because of course I’m asexual myself. It’s such a special thing to me to be able to see my identity in middlegrade books.
Jennifer Dugan – Verona Comics
From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop.
Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.
Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.
They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.
Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?
I loved Hot Dog Girl last year, which I thought ended up being a pretty underrated book that felt so real. I’m very curious about Jennifer Dugan’s second novel, and I’m hoping to read it very soon.
Samira Ahmed – Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
Told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed traces the lives of two young women fighting to write their own stories and escape the pressure of familial burdens and cultural expectations in worlds too long defined by men.
It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her professor parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.
Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron.
Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.
I’ve loved Samira Ahmed’s previous books, especially Internment, which was a horrifyingly relevant book that I think is a true must read. I actually got to meet Samira Ahmed at a YA event last year, and was able to get my book signed, which was very lovely. Her new book is partly a historical fiction, and I’m always here for historical fiction in YA.
Beth O’Leary – The Switch
Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…
When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.
Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.
Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?
The Flatshare was one of the first books I read when I started getting into adult romance last year. I picked up a signed hardback from Waterstones then, so of course I also needed a signed hardback of The Switch from them. This book sounds so good and I’ve already seen people saying it’s even better than The Flatshare.
What book(s) are you looking forward to this month?
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