May 2022 Reading Recap

Miss Print's Reading Recap

Planned to Read:

  • Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Wilde
  • A Disaster in Three Acts by Kelsey Rodkey
  • The Charmed List by Julie Abe

Read:

  1. The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park
  2. Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
  3. Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Wilde
  4. In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
  5. The Bone Orchard by Sarah A. Mueller
  6. The Charmed List by Julia Abe
  7. Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

You can also see what I read last month.

We Are Inevitable: A Review

We Are Inevitable by Gayle FormanAaron Stein doesn’t really believe in happy endings or new beginnings.

It’s impossible to think those things can happen to him when he’s slowly falling apart. Aaron’s older brother is dead, his family is drowning in the debt they incurred paying for stints in rehab and trying to treat the overdose that killed him. Aaron is ostensibly the owner of the family bookstore, Bluebird Books, but he doesn’t care about it the way his father Ira does or even the way his mother did before the divorce.  Aaron knows the decrepit store is on its way out just like the dinosaurs he’s been reading about obsessively.

The crack in the bookshelf feels like the last straw, the sign Aaron has been waiting for to cut his losses, to sell the store, to move on.

But then his old classmate Chad drops by the store and asks about a wheelchair ramp so he can navigate the entrance. What starts as an old board thrown over the steps becomes an actual ADA accessible ramp when the out of work lumberjacks see what Aaron is doing and decide to help.

Then the lumberjacks see the cracked shelf. And they want to repair it because that kind of shelving is quality. Then they’re fixing the other shelves because they’re already there. And updating the store layout so Chad can fit his chair into the aisles. Then they’re adding a record section. Chad is running an inventory. There’s an espresso machine, a café.

Then there’s Hannah, the band lead Aaron meets at a show with Chad who feels like she could be exactly who Aaron needs.

Suddenly, the downward spiral that was Aaron’s life doesn’t feel so inevitable. There might even be something like hope in the air.

The only problem is Aaron already sold the store. And he’ll have to confront everything that led him to this latest choice–and lot of others from his past–if he wants to give the bookstore and his fractured family one more chance in We Are Inevitable (2021) by Gayle Forman.

Find it on Bookshop.

We Are Inevitable is a standalone contemporary set near the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. The audiobook is narrated by Sunil Malhotra. Most characters are presumed white.

There’s no getting around this, so I’m just going to say it: We Are Inevitable is a heavy book. Aaron and his father are despondent and depressed at the start of the novel. Themes of addiction and recovery play important roles in the plot as Aaron learns about love interest Hannah and also as he begins to come to terms with his brother’s overdose.

Forman presents a melancholy but deliberate look at addiction with respect for all parties involved despite Aaron’s initial hard line response. The financial hardship and Ira’s anxiety (which manifests a panic attack in an early chapter) add further tension to an already fraught story. Moments of humor alleviate some of the story’s weight but you have been warned.

Readers willing to come along for the ride with We Are Inevitable will be rewarded with a story that is ultimately hopeful both for Aaron and his family as well as for the unlikely independent bookstore that keeps trucking along.

Possible Pairings: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey, Recommended For You by Laura Silverman, Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher, Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

*An advance listening copy of this title was provided by the publisher through Libro.fm*

Week in Review: May 28

Blog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

How My Week Went:

My office flooded last week. Sixth time. Same problem that caused the first leak five years ago. I have no desk, no computer, and have been working from a program room on a folding chair most often with my phone. It’s incredibly frustrating and exhausting.

In other news the panel I moderated for SLJ”s Day of Dialog went really well. If you weren’t able to catch it live, the panel was recorded and you can watch the entire event in the SLJ DoD virtual environment, jsut register for the event to get access to all the recorded content for the next three months.

Details and registration here: https://www.slj.com/event/school-library-journal-day-of-dialog-2022-spring#program

A Kind of Spark: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicollAddie has always known that she’s different. But she’s also always had her older sister Keedie to help her figure out how to navigate a world that doesn’t always know what to do with her.

Addie and Keedie are autistic. Their family, including Keedie’s twin Nina, have learned how to help make things easier for both girls offering them space to process feelings and deal with sensory overload. But the rest of Juniper is far less accomodating–something Addie is learning firsthand as her best friend drops her to be more popular and her new teacher constantly bullies and belittles Addie.

Addie suspects Keedie isn’t doing very well at college herself where she is struggling to “mask” as neurotypical. But no one wants to talk to Addie about that.

When Addie learns about the witches who were hanged in Juniper during a witch trial, she immediately recognizes kindred spirits. The more she learns, the more clear it is that these witches were women who were a lot like Addie and her sister–women who didn’t quite fit the mold for what the town considered “normal”, women who had no one to speak for them.

Addie’s campaign for a memorial to the Juniper witches draws ire from her teacher and local officials. But it also brings a new solidarity with her family, new friends, and a chance for meaningful change in A Kind of Spark (2021) by Elle McNicoll.

Find it on Bookshop.

A Kind of Spark is narrated by Addie (whose voice is brought to life, complete with Scottish accent, in the audiobook by narrator Katy Townsend) and set in a small Scottish town. All characters are presumed white. This title received an honor for the Schneider Family Book Award which is awarded yearly by ALA to “honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

Addie’s first person narration is great and, as written by neurodivergent author McNicoll, authentic as she navigates everyday problems like making new friends alongside bigger challenges like campaigning for a memorial for the witches.

While it adds a lot of tension to the story, and leads to a dramatic conclusion with both Keedie and Nina rallying around Addie, the bullying Addie faces from her teacher feels over the top. The abuse is so extreme it had me questioning if I was actually reading historical fiction (even with Nina being a beauty vlogger) because it felt like the kind of treatment a character would face decades ago. I’ll add that I have no familiarity with Scotland or small town life so that might be part of the problem. But it also also felt very strange to have Addie tell her parents about how mean her teacher is (the book opens with Addie’s classwork being torn up because the handwriting is too messy) and they laugh it off and remark that Addie’s grandfather “got the strap” in school and he turned out fine. First of all, it’s hard to believe parents presented as being attentive and caring for Addie (and Keedie) would shrug that off–especially when the threat of forced institutionalization looms over both autistic girls after Keedie’s best friend was forced into a care facility. Second of all, my grandfather also had similar abuses in school–but I am at least twenty years older than Addie which again points to a dated portrayal. My best guess is that the author translated some of her own experiences as a neurodivergent young person to this modern book without fully factoring in changes to social norms/behaviors. And, again, maybe this is more of an issue in small towns that my urban self realizes.

A Kind of Spark expertly weaves Addie’s personal journey with her research and advocacy for the witches creating a multi-faceted and compelling story. The inter-family dynamics with Keedie trying to attend college without requesting accomodations and Nina choosing to pursue content creation instead of college add another layer to this story that, ultimately, reminds readers to celebrate what makes them different.

Possible Pairings: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Rock Paper Scissors: A Review

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice FeeneyBehind closed doors something has been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long while. First it’s the things they don’t talk about it, then there’s the time they spend apart.

Adam has always been a workaholic, happy to toil away adapting best-selling novels into screenplays while neglecting his own creative projects. Amelia has built her whole world around Adam but she knows their marriage is becoming more and more fragile. Most people can see the writing on the wall even if they can’t read it.

Amelia also knows that the right move can set them back on course, so when she wins a trip to Scotland it feels like fate.

Except someone is lying. And someone else never planned for both of them to come back from this trip in one piece in Rock Paper Scissors (2021) by Alice Feeney.

Find it on Bookshop.

Rock Paper Scissors is a standalone thriller. Most chapters alternates point of view between Adam and Amelia. Letters for each wedding anniversary are interspersed throughout offering a glimpse into the past with letters thematically tied to traditional wedding gifts (starting with paper) as well as so-called words of the year (including rock). I can’t say much more about the book’s structure without giving away some of the key twists but if you want an atmospherically creepy reading experience, do check out the audiobook narrated by Richard Armitage and Stephanie Racine.

Feeney presents a satisfying and troubling story that is part thriller and part marriage post-mortem. Amelia’s mysterious past and Adam being face blind (unable to recognize anyone–even loved ones–and unable to read facial expressions accurately) add elements of unreliability and even more suspense to an already taut story.

Rock Paper Scissors is a fast-paced, surprising story about two toxic people who may or may not get the exact ending they both deserve. Come into this one knowing as little as possible for the biggest impact.

Possible Pairings: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, All the Broken People by Leah Konen, Best Day Ever by Kaira Sturdivant Rouda, Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy

*An advance listening copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration through Libro.fm*

Week in Review: May 21

Blog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

How My Week Went:

I don’t know. My office flooded.

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenAt the edge of the wilderness in northern Rus’, winter might as well last forever. Huddled near the stove, stealing warmth from the embers of the fire, Vasya and her siblings listen to their nurse Dunya’s tales. The old woman weaves stories of dutiful domovoi, vengeful nymphs, and thrilling tales of Morozko–the blue-eyed demon who brings snow in his wake and claims souls who cross his path. Those who are wise do well to honor and care for the house spirits who guard their territory from Morozko and other, darker, creatures.

But things are changing throughout Rus’. Only one god is worshipped in Moscow, not a god who has room or time for house spirits and the old ways.

When Vasya’s widowed father remarries, her devout step-mother tries to bring the new ways to their home in the wild forest. Others are quick to bend to the beautiful, sophisticated mistress of the household. But Vasya sees things that others do not. She watches the spirits wasting away to mist without their regular offerings. She sees something dangerous lurking in the shadows as old rituals are neglected.

Trapped between threats of a forced marriage or confinement in a convent, Vasya is more certain than ever that her place is in the forest protecting her home and her loved ones. But as misfortune circles her family and her home, Vasya will have to challenge everything she has ever known and forge a new path for herself if she wants to face a threat straight from her childhood nightmares in The Bear and the Nightingale (2017) by Katherine Arden.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Bear and the Nightingale is Arden’s debut novel and the start of her Winternight trilogy which continues with The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch. This historical fantasy is set in the 14th century in the territory that was eventually united as Russia. All characters are presumed white. Arden includes a historical note at the end of the book detailing her inspiration, real historical events, and her own divergences from history within the novel.

The Bear and the Nightingale brings together historical events with fairytale creatures to create a richly layered story. Covering a wide span of time and adhering to traditional Russian name conventions, the beginning can feel dense as there are many characters and names to track. But, like any good story, Arden soon draws readers in as new viewpoints are explored and new elements of the plot are teased out as the story also touches on moments of horror and Vasya’s character arc as she comes of age and dares to forge her own path.

In a world where the safe paths for a woman are marriage or life in a convent, Vasya chafes as she grows older and her freedom dwindles. Vasya’s story is intensely feminist as she struggles throughout the novel to fit in the strict confines placed upon her as a woman in society–something which becomes a central theme of the trilogy–while also clinging to her agency even when it means she is literally targeted as a witch.

A slow build and deliberate pacing add tension to the story as the plot builds toward a final confrontation between Vasya and those who oppose the old ways. The Bear and the Nightingale is a story of opposites that explores the liminal spaces between blind faith and genuine belief, between feigned duty and true loyalty; a tale about familial ties and devotion to both the people and places that feel like home.

Possible Pairings: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover, The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

The Maidens: A Review

The Maidens by Alex MichaelidesAfter so many years of defining herself in relation to her husband Sebastian, Mariana Andros is no longer sure who she is or how she can keep going after his sudden death.

She still has her work as a group therapist but that’s cold comfort when she has nothing but memories to hold onto.

A distressed call from Zoe, the niece she and Sebastian raised, is enough to rouse Mariana from her grief. One of Zoe’s friends at Cambridge University has been murdered. The death is violent and sinister. Worse, it is only the first.

Reluctant to leave her niece in a time of crisis, Mariana agrees to stay at the college surrounded by memories of her own time as a student when she and Sebastian first met. The longer Mariana spends on the familiar campus, the more certain she is that Edward Fosca is the killer.

Fosca is a charismatic and well-liked Greek Tragedy professor. Sharp and formidable, his cult of personality is so strong among his female students that it’s not hard to intuit his guilt despite an alibi.

As Mariana is drawn further into the investigation, her fixation on Fosca grows. Pursuing Fosca could ruin Mariana’s professional reputation, her personal relationships and–as she gets closer to the killer–even her life might be forfeit in The Maidens (2021) by Alex Michaelides.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Maidens is Michaelides’ second novel. Most of the story follows Mariana with a close third person narration. All main characters–including one readers may recognize from Michaelides’ debut–are presumed white.

The Maidens is a tense university-set thriller with an audiobook version ably narrated by Louise Brealey and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Michaelides covers similar territory here to his debut, once again featuring a psychoanalyst protagonist and a shocking case.

Although it is decidedly high concept, The Maidens does little to capitalize on any of its potential. Mariana–a theoretically complex protagonist dealing with intense grief, a patient who is stalking her (which causes her surprisingly little distress), and an increasingly obsessive interest in Fosca as the book progresses–is reduced to little more than a grieving widow. If she has a personality beyond missing Sebastian and investigating Fosca, Michaelides never shows it.

Abrupt chapter breaks eliminate any chance for readers (or Mariana) to meditate on plot points not to mention leaving no room for anything in the way of character development. The breakneck pace of the story and its focus on plot are perhaps why so much of The Maidens feels heavy-handed. Information key to solving the mystery is obscured with plot devices including intermittent chapters from a nameless male character while the identity of the murderer is heavily broadcast even as their motivations remain frustratingly opaque.

With a resolution that is as unsavory as it is unsatisfying, The Maidens feels less like a thriller by the end and more like an object lesson in the veracity of the maxim “physician, heal thyself.” Readers looking for a twisty thriller where no one is quite who they expect would be better served by Alice Feeney’s Rock Paper Scissors which although not a dark academia novel employs similar narrative devices to better effect.

Posssible Pairings: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton, Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney, House of Correction by Nicci French, Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian,  Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration through Libro.fm*

50 YA Books to Read for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. You might also see it referred to as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. It’s a great time to read, recommend, and showcase books by and about Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. Not sure where to start? That’s where this list comes in. There are a lot of fantastic books to choose from on  this list, and beyond, with more coming out all the time. Happy reading!

50 YA Books to Read for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

You can shop the full list at Bookshop.

The Charmed List by Julia Abe
Ellie Kobata’s Anti-Wallflower List for the summer goes horribly wrong at number 4 when she tries to get revenge on Jake Yasuda, her former best friend–and the only person who understands her secret life as part of a magical community.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Celine’s hopes for a new start as a dressmaker in 1872 New Orleans take a turn when she gets caught up in the city’s glittering underworld–and the ageless creatures who lurk in the darkness.

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi
When coming out to his Muslim family ends with eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi fleeing to Rome even he’s surprised when his new life leads to a US customs room where he has to tell to a US Customs officer to keep his hard-won freedom.

I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn
After one tiny transgression Melody and her mom are whisked out of New York to join the rest of their family in Korea where Melody discovers trendsetting fashions, a cute boy, and some old family secrets.

A Show For Two by Tashie Bhuiyan
Mina Rahman knows her dreams of winning a film contest and leaving New York behind are about to come true when indie film star Emmitt Ramos agrees to star in her film–as long as she plays his tour guide. But what happens when exploring with Emmitt shows her that the city she always wanted to leave might be home after all?

A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee
Miuko’s safe if uneventful life changes forever when she is cursed. Now she has to travel across the realm of Awara to break the curse before she transforms into a demon forever.

Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Evelyn Skye
This Halloween in Moon Ridge, any love forged will last forever. Which is why Onny, Ash, and True are determined to brew a love potion for their coven of best friends and charm the loves of their lives.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Guided by the firebird–a creature thought to have shifted from reality to myth–Tala and a ragtag group of misfits from the Order of the Bandersnatch will have to work together to get Alex safely into Avalon and back on his throne.
Read my review.

Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
Seven years ago Elena Soo and her best friend Robbie Choi promised they’d go to prom together. Now Robbie is back to make good on that promise. Except he’s a K-pop idol and Elena isn’t sure she wants to be overshadowed by one more person in her life.

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen
Penelope Pickering decides to help her best friend Helena Higgins transform street merchant Elijah Little into a gentleman chef in this gender-flipped retelling of My Fair Lady set in an alternate 1830s England where Queen Charlotte reigns and Culinarians act as literal tastemakers cooking for the elite.

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
As an assassin, Cal’s life belongs to the queen. While Shadow dreams of becoming an assassin herself she is destined for a life in the queen’s court. When a surprise attack throws them together their attraction is as undeniable as the fact that their love comes second to their duties.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo
When TJ Powar and her Sikh cousin Simran become the subject of a mean-spirited meme, TJ decides to stop shaving, waxing, and plucking her hair just like Simran and prove that you can be hairy and beautiful.

Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon
Sunny is determined to fill the notebook his brother left him with a series of rash decisions including cutting his hair and ditching his turban so that he no longer looks Sikh–or like himself at all. When Mindii steals Sunny’s notebook his latest decision to get the full prom experience turns into an all night adventure with even more decisions.

Malice by Pintip Dunn
Alice’s mundane life is upended when a sudden, sharp pain hits during lunch and a voice in her head demands that she tell Bandit Sakda that she loves him. Except that isn’t the only thing the voices wants her to do …
Read my review.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Zafira–a young woman who disguises herself as the Hunter to aid her starving people–and Nasir–the crown prince who carries out deadly work for his corrupt father–are both sent to hunt for a mythical artifact that could return magic to their realm. But only if they can learn to trust each other and work together.

When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert
When Beth witnesses an act of domestic abuse, her friend group becomes even more important to her as she does everything she can to try and keep the tightknit group together during their senior year of high school and beyond.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Lucky and Jack both have secrets and dreams they’re afraid to share. After one unforgettable day together in Hong Kong they’ll both have to decide if chasing what they really want is worth being honest with themselves–and each other in this modernized version of Roman Holiday.
Read my review.

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
Seeking redemption for her dark past Rosalind Lang acts as an assassin for Shanghai where her newest mission forces her to go undercover as one half of a married couple in this inventive take on As You Like It.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
When Izumi finds out that her never-in-the-picture father is actually the Crown Prince of Japan she’s whisked off for a whirlwind trip to meet her paternal family. Add to the mix lots press, a cute bodyguard who might hate Izumi (or not?!), and plenty of scheming cousins and Izumi is in for a trip she–and the rest of Japan–won’t soon forget.
Read my review.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
In a future world ravaged by climate change, sisters Cee and Kasey will do anything to get back to each other in the wake of Cee’s disappearance in this sci-fi thriller where sisterly love is leveraged against the greater good.
Read my review.

Tahira in Bloom by Farah Heron
When her fashion internship falls through Tahira finds herself working at her aunt’s boutique, entering a flower arranging contest, and falling for the infuriating coworker whose help she needs if she wants to win.

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
Joseon (Korea), 1426: Hwani is crossing the sea to travel to her childhood home of Jeju, a penal island of political convicts, to retrace her detective father’s steps and–with help from her estranged sister–hopefully discover why he disappeared months ago.
Read my review.

The Wild Ones by Adiba Jaigirdar
Paheli is part of a band of magical girls, all rescued by a boy named Taraana with stars in his eyes, and granted magic to help others like them. When Taraana comes back to the Wild Ones for help, the girls will do everything they can to save him because protecting him means protecting themselves.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub
When a mysterious coffeeshop customer grants Sy three wishes in exchange for his help, who is he to argue? When it becomes clear this girl might really be magic, Sy will have to decide how much he’s willing to wish if it means a second chance at love with his ex-boyfriend.

Butterfly Yellow by Thannha Lai
Hằng and LeeRoy start as strangers in Texas in the summer of 1981. By the end of the summer these most unlikely friends will both realize that there’s more to life than plans as Hằng tries to reunite with her brother who was evacuated from Vietnam years ago as part of Operation Babylift.
Read my review. Read my interview with the author.

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
Can Linh and Bao beat the odds and find love despite the years long feud between their families’ competing pho restaurants?

Flip the Script by Lyla Lee
Hana thinks she’s prepared to headline a new K-drama and deliver a contract romance with the actor playing her love interest for the media. But everything Hana knows about K-dramas (and love) goes out the window when she starts to fall hard for the new actress meant to play her romantic rival on the show.

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
Val’s plan to sneak aboard ship to find her twin brother and revive their acrobat act is perfect. Until disaster strikes and, as the Titanic begins its last night as an ocean liner, Val and her brother will have to worry about surviving the present before they can plan for the future.
Read my review.

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee
Candace Park would give anything to be like the glamorous K-pop idols she watches on Youtube. So when she wins a coveted chance to enter an idol trainee program in Seoul she knows she has to go. But between the rigorous training, drama between trainees, and the pressure Candace will have to decide if being an idol is worth giving up who she is now.

Seoulmates by Susan Lee
After years of rejecting her Korean heritage, Hannah Cho isn’t sure what to do when all things Korean are suddenly popular with her mostly white friend group–especially when embracing K-pop and K-Dramas could help her win back her ex-boyfriend. And her estranged childhood best friend–now a K-Drama star himself–is suddenly back in the picture.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
Monsters are real. When Joan’s entire family comes under threat she’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness to save them.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
When her brothers are cursed and turned into cranes princess Shiori will have to use her own forbidden magic to save them.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
A competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi (masters of ancient and magical tea making) might be Ning’s best hope to save her sister’s life. But only if she can survive the backstabbing competition and fierce court politics she finds within the imperial city.

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma
Gemma Huang’s big acting opportunity forces her to break her family’s biggest rule: never set foot in Beijing. After arriving in the city, Gemma starts a summer of big reveals and romance as she learns more about her family’s mysterious past.

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra
Katyani’s lifelong plans of becoming a guardwoman in the Garuda and advising the crown prince are torn away when tragedy strikes. Alone in a land infested with monsters, Katyani will have to learn to embrace her true identity if she wants to forge her own path.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Eris and Sona are on opposite sides in a violent war until chance brings them together and the girls who thought they were sworn enemies end up forming an unlikely alliance–an maybe even stronger bonds.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Mina searches for the Sea God in order to save her brother in this retelling of the Korean folktale The Tale of Shim Cheong.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily XR Pan
The more Hunter Yee and Luna Chang are drawn to each other, the more strange things begin happening in their town as they try to navigate love and family secrets.

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
As Sunny discover new friendships, a boy named Theo who is as annoyingly fond of farm puns as he is cute, and some other new connections, she’ll learn that sometimes you have to go offline to really grow during a summer at a digital detox camp.
Read my review. Read my interview with the author.

Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
Four sisters, four seasons, four romances in one book as Nidhi, Avani, Rani, and Sirisha Singh all find love at their family home–and the most romantic inn in America–The Songbird Inn on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest.

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman
Four siblings, one magical artifact, centuries of secrets as Vira, Ronak, Kaleb and Riya reluctantly work together to replenish their kingdom’s dwindling magic supplies.
Read my review.

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate
A weekend tour of a prototype spaceship takes on a new meaning when the apocalypse is early and Leigh Chen is among the handful of survivors who manage to escape the planet.

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
The four realms of Life, Death, Light, and Darkness all converge in the City of Dusk. Without favor from their patron gods, all of the realms are dying–something the four heirs refuse to accept without a fight.

The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons
Vale Hall, an elite boarding school that seems to be the answer to all of Brynn’s problems, promises a free ride to any college of her choice . . . for a price. Instead of earning good grades and building up her extracurriculars, Brynn and the other Vale students are expected to use their conning abilities to help the school with special projects–a task for which Brynn is uniquely well prepared.
Read my review.

This Place Is Still Beautiful by XiXi Tian
Sisters Margaret and Annalie Flanagan will have to confront their family’s fractious past–including their white father abandoning them and their Chinese mother–after their house is vandalized with a racist slur.

Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
The last thing Ever Wong wants to do is spend her summer in an educational program in Taiwan learning Chinese and preparing to start at Northwestern’s pre-med program in the fall. Instead of rigorous study Ever finds herself in a program with minimal supervision and her exuberant roommate Sophie Ha egging her on as Ever breaks every one of her parents rules–especially when it comes to no dating.
Read my review.

Private Label by Kelly Yang
Serene Li and Lian Chen don’t have a lot in common except for being the only Asian American kids in their affluent white community in Southern California. Still, a chance meeting at a Chinese club at school quickly brings the two together.

Love Decoded by Jennifer Yen
Gigi Wong’s plan to turn her aunt’s professional matchmaking advice into an app to make new friends goes awry when the app goes viral and Gigi finds herself at the center of a school scandal that hurts her best friends Kyle and Etta.

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon
When beautiful new student Cirrus Soh mistakenly thinks Sunny Dae is in a rock band like his older brother, the nerdy teen feels he has no choice but to go along with it. Faking it until he makes it seems easy. Until Cirrus asks to see Sunny play and his fake band starts to feel very real.

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
At Sinclair Prep Nancy has always known that being good and being the best are mutually exclusive. As the stakes climb, Nancy will have to choose how much she’s willing to give–and to take–in order to stay at the top.
Read my review.

Week in Review: May 14

Blog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

How My Week Went:

Same news as last week: I’m moderating a panel on May 19 for SLJ’s Day of Dialog. Check out my blog post linked above and the SLJ site for details. Mark your calendar for the It’s in the Air panel where I’ll be moderating a fantastic group of authors.

Details and registration here: https://www.slj.com/event/school-library-journal-day-of-dialog-2022-spring#program