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.

Books to Read For National Poetry Month (And Any Other Month)

Books to Read For National Poetry Month (And Any Other Month)

April is National Poetry Month. I try to share poetry throughout the month in my Poetically Speaking series here on the blog. This year, I thought I’d also share some of my favorite poetry collections and verse novels to read this month and all year to add more poetry to your life.

You can shop the full list at Bookshop and Amazon.

Collections:

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Diaz’s work interrogates the erasure of indigenous peoples in America while making space for new stories.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
Are you like me and discovered Amanda Gorman and her work after she delivered her poem at the 2021 presidential inauguration? If the answer is yes, you will be as happy as I am to find this collection of some of Gorman’s other works.

Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood
Gatwood is one of my favorite poets and, while grim, this is one of the most cohesive collections of poetry I’ve seen. Loosely inspired by Gatwood’s own interest in true crime this is a sharp, feminist collection that will stay with you.

Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann
In this collection Hepperman presents 50 poems that bring fairy tale themes and ideas together with the lives of modern girls in clever ways. Eerie photographs accompany the poems to lend a haunting quality to this deceptively slim volume.
Read my review.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur
Kaur’s collections are and interesting combination of artwork and poetry. Sparse verse and line drawn art work well to complement each other in this visually oriented collection.

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón
I love Limón and no poetry roundup would be complete without one of her collections.

the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace
There are a lot of entry points to amanda lovelace’s work but this collection is still one of my favorites. I love the empowerment and the way the poems play with traditional fairytale imagery.

Verse Novels:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Can you know a sister you have never met? Can you claim a family that doesn’t know you? As Camino and Yahaira come to terms with their father’s lies and transgressions both girls will have to grieve everything they have lost while they try to understand what they have to gain in this verse novel that pulls no punches as it tells the story of a complicated family with immediacy and care.
Read my review. (Want even more Acevedo? Be sure to check out The Poet X too.)

500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario
What happens when your attempt to be a better person might be making you worse? To revamp her reputation with her Ivy League obsessed classmates, Nic Chen has a simple plan: she will write college admission essays. For a price. But as Nic learns more about her classmates, she realizes she still has a lot to learn about herself and her moral compass in this shining verse novel.
Read my review.

Lawless Spaces by Corey Ann Haydu
This verse novel introduces readers to the Dovewick family and tackles the isolation and loss of the pandemic (specifically 2020’s quarantine months) while also exploring what it means to carry generational trauma. A powerful, ultimately healing story that is easily my favorite book of the year.
Read my review. Read my interview with Corey about the book.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Rome, 1610: Artemisia Gentileschi had limited options when her mother died at twelve. She could join a convent or she could work in her father’s studio grinding paint, preparing canvases, and modeling as needed. She chose art. McCullough beautifully details Artemisia’s passion and commitment to her art in this verse novel that follows Artemesia’s teen years and continues through her rape by Agostino Tassi and the subsequent trial.
Read my review. Read my interview with Joy about this book.

After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy
This book explores a love triangle from two sides and dual POV and verse. It’s also one of the older ones featured but I had to included it because this book is such a key part of my blog. Terra was the first author I ever interviewed and in many ways this book inspired what eventually became Poetically Speaking.
Read my review. Read my interview with Terra about this book.

Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz
What begins as a story about a spoiled girl and a common boy becomes, in the author’s capable hands, a much larger commentary on art, friendship, and identity as we watch Melisto and Rhaskos transform, becoming “the girl as electric as amber, the boy, indestructible as clay” in this richly layered verse novel.
Read my review.

Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe by Carole Boston Weatherford
Everyone knows about Marilyn Monroe’s difficult life and tragic end. Few people know the traumatic start of her life watching her mother struggle with schizophrenia, moving through foster care, and even teen marriage. While evidence of her transition from brunette pin-up model to blonde bombshell is immediately obvious, the road that got her there has never been explored from her own perspective. Until now.
Read my review.

Poetry-Infused Stories:

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Paul is gone and with him pieces of Emily are gone too. Even before his suicide, Emily knew she would never be the same. She just didn’t know it would hurt this much. Vacillating between guilt and anger, Emily Beam is sent to an all girls boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts. Surrounded by history from Emily Dickinson’s life, Emily delves into poetry and her new life hoping to escape.
Read my review.

Undercover by Beth Kephart
Kephart uses poetry and prose to tell a layered story about love in all of its forms whether for family, friends, nature or even for words in this book that is partly a retelling of the play Cyrano De Bergerac and partly something entirely unique.
Read my review.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
This story is told entirely through Gabi’s diary entries as she navigates an especially complicated year in her life as many long-standing problems come to a head including her father’s addiction and Gabi’s mother’s disapproval of Gabi’s plans to go away to college.
Read my review.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Readers who are up to the task of a difficult read with darker subject matter will find a powerful story in Rose Under Fire with an incredibly strong and inspiring heroine at the center of its story.
Read my review.

Your Basic Witch Reading List

A shorter version of this list originally appeared on LJ.com:

Basic Witch Reading List

With The Book of Magic (Alice Hoffman’s sequel to Practical Magic) releasing last year, now is the perfect time to round up some witchy fiction to get you in the mood. Read on to find essential reading for every witch including adult fiction and young adult titles.

You can shop the full list at Bookshop and Amazon.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in Salem, Massachusetts for more than two hundred years. After all, who wouldn’t blame every wrong thing on the local witches? Get ready for The Book of Magic with the book that started it all by introducing readers to sisters Sally and Gillian and their aunts Fran and Jet. Grab the prequels The Rules of Magic (about Franny and Jet in the 1960s) and Magic Lessons (family matriarch Maria’s story starting in the 1660s) to round out your reading experience.
Read my review.

Witch Please by Ann Aguirre
Danica Waterhouse, co-owner of Fix-It Witches, can fix almost anything except her family’s long-running feud over witches interacting with mundanes. Titus Winnaker wishes someone could fix his rotten luck when it comes to love. When the two meet, Danica thinks she’s found Mr. Right Now. But Titus won’t settle for anything less than being Danica’s Mr. Right.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
In the Russian wilderness where winter lasts most of the year, Vasya grows up immersed in the magic of the surrounding woods and the chyerti (spirits) who call it home. When crops begin to fail and misfortune threatens the entire village, Vasya has to embrace her unique perspective and her magical gifts to save everything she holds dear–even if it means exposing herself as a witch.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Tea never meant to raise her brother Fox from the dead or expected to become a dark asha—a bone witch to those who fear and revile them. But that is exactly what happens when Tea comes into her powers, setting her life on a dramatically different course.
Read my review.

Labryinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
When Alex’s spell to get rid of her magic on her Death Day backfires her entire family disappears from their Brooklyn home. She’ll have to travel to the world of Los Lagos to get them back with help from her best friend Rishi and a strange brujo boy with his own agenda.
Read my review.

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters, Freya and Ingrid, have lived quietly in North Hampton, Long Island for years. All of that changes when Freya’s upcoming wedding forces them to reveal the truth–and embrace the magical powers they’ve been banned from using for centuries.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw
Two hundred years ago in the town of Sparrow three sisters were drowned as witches. Every year since then the Swan sisters have returned to Sparrow, claiming the bodies of unwitting local girls and using them to wreak their vengeance on the town by drowning boys foolish enough to fall under their sway. Penny is used to watching the Swan Season unfold with wary detachment, except this year there is a new outsider in town—a boy that Penny is determined to protect.
Read my review.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Clara is the first Everwitch in a century–her powerful magic tied to every season. In autumn, Clara fears her magic. In winter she accepts that she might be the only one who can help combat the dangerous effects of climate change on the weather witches are struggling to control. In spring she falls for Sang, the witch training her and the witch she’ll risk everything to protect. In summer Clara will have to decide if she’s brave enough to embrace her magic no matter the danger.
Read my review.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Diana Bishop would much rather be a scholar than a witch. After she discovers a magical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Diana finds herself at the center of a magical awakening as daemons, witches, and vampires are drawn to the library and the treasure the book offers–provided anyone can break its spell.

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
Emmy Harlow isn’t a very powerful witch. And that’s fine so long as she can stay away from her hometown Thistle Grove and her player ex-boyfriend, Gareth. Emmy’s return home to visit her best friend gets complicated when she meets Talia Avramov–a powerful dark witch looking to get revenge after a bad breakup … with Gareth. Emmy is all about revenge. The bigger question is why Emmy can’t stop thinking about Talia. And what she’s going to do about it.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
There’s no such thing as witches in New Salem in 1893. But there used to be. You can still catch traces of them in the witch-tales collected by the Sisters Grimm. You can see them in the second name every mother gives every daughter. You can hear them in the special words shared only in whispered songs and stories. In the beginning, there’s still no such thing as witches. But there will be.
Read my review.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Connie’s plans to begin work on her dissertation, specifically on finding a new primary source for it, are derailed when she has to clean out her grandmother’s long-vacant house in Salem. When a mysterious key leads Connie to the name Deliverance Dane and mention of an elusive “physick book” that could change everything previously known about witchcraft in colonial America, Connie’s personal and professional lives merge in pursuit of the book.
Read my review.

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Tired of her unerring ability to read fortune (and misfortune) in tea leaves, Vanessa Yu tries switching to coffee and running away to Paris with her aunt. But some gifts can’t be ignored and Vanessa will have to embrace hers before she can start living on her own terms.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
Spiritualism is gaining popularity in New York in 1880. When Beatrice Dunn answers an ad reading “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” her fate is tied to tea shop owners Adelaide and Eleanor as the three women confront dark forces converging throughout the city.

The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan
In Gilded Age New York, when Annis becomes the pawn in a feud between two witches–one using magic to help others like herself and one using dark magic for personal gain–Annis must awaken her own powers if she wants to keep control of her own fate–and her life.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
In exchange for ten years of service from Agnieszka, the Dragon will continue to protect the valley from the enchanted Wood that plagues them with strange creatures and the threat of encroachment. But the Wood is changing; the creatures are growing bolder. With secrets and strange revelations at every turn it will take everything Agnieszka and the Dragon have to fight what’s coming for them.
Read my review.

The Near Witch by VE Schwab
There are certain truths in Near: The Near Witch is an old story to frighten children, nothing more. The wind is lonely and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town Near. For all of her life, Lexi has known these three things to be true from the town, from her life, and from the stories her father told her. What happens when two of those truths turn out to be wrong?
Read my review.

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
Iraya has grown up a prisoner waiting for her chance at revenge. Jazmyne, the Queen’s daughter, knows her position is precarious when her death will strengthen her mother’s powers. Always meant to be enemies, the two form an uneasy alliance to fight a common enemy in this Jamaican-inspired fantasy.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Vivi doesn’t expect big results when she uses a scented candle to curse her ex-boyfriend after their breakup. That is, of course, until Rhys comes back to Graves Glen, Georgia to recharge the town’s ley lines and gets hits by the full force of the curse. Now Vivi and Rhys have to work together to break the hex before it destroys their town.

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
When her husband dies under mysterious circumstances during their magic act in Vegas, Revelation “Reve” Dyer flees to her childhood home in the forest of Hawley Five Corners. While there, Reve will uncover the mysterious Hawley Book of the Dead–an ancient book that might hold the truth of Reve’s own past and a path toward her future.

Miss Print’s Top Ten: 2021

Better late, than never when it comes to sharing favorite books right?

After much deliberation, and a few detours, here are my top reads from 2021 (click the title to read my review):

Miss Print's Top Ten Books of 2021

You can shop the list on Amazon or Bookshop.

*backdated as I post content I missed in December (details why here: See you in 2022).

Read-a-Likes for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 earning Albertalli a National Book Award nomination and winning the William C. Morris YA Debut Award in 2016. The movie adaptation (retitled “Love, Simon”) hit theaters in March 2018. Any fan of this book knows you can’t have too much Simon, but in the meantime these books can fill that Simon-shaped hole in your heart.

Click the book titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop the list on Bookshop.

cover image college for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

 

If You Want a Book with Blackmail or Mystery:

  1. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: All of them were caught using cell phones during school hours. All of them claim they were framed. On Monday afternoon the five of them walk into detention at Bayview High. Only four of them walk out alive.
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Frankie embarks on a path of unprecedented mischief, mayhem, and intrigue during her sophomore year at boarding school.
  3. The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby: Charlie and John have nothing in common except for art and ambition. They are both determined to win and they won’t let anything stand in their way. Not a soul-killing job at Salad Stop or an unsympathetic girlfriend. Not a dad’s girlfriend’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend. And definitely not a very minor case of kidnapping.
  4. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: They start as nobodies. Three misfits trying to find their way. Bound together by shared outrage new girl Grace, queer punk girl Rosina, and nerdy loner Erin become the Nowhere Girls as they try to seek justice and change in their small Texas town in the aftermath of Lucy’s attempt to report her gang rape–a crime most of the town chooses to ignore.

If You Want a Book with a Musical (or a Play):

  1. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle: Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
  2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two boys, one name, and one collision course that sets both Wills on the path of love, friendship, and an epic high school musical.
  3. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: Already on the wrong side of her school’s worst mean girl, Claudia doesn’t know what to think when they’re both forced to try out for the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But mandatory participation might be exactly what Claudia needs to broaden her horizons.
  4. Anything Could Happen by Will Walton: Tretch knows his dads will support him if he comes out. But he’s not sure what it would mean for his quiet small town life, or his painful crush on his straight best friend. But practicing dance routines alone can only go so far. Tretch will have to put himself center stage if he wants to get his due.

If You Want a Book with Pen Pals:

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  2. In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  3. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty: When Cassie, Emily, and Lydia join their school’s pen pal project they don’t expect to make friends–let alone fall for–they boys they’re writing to at a neighboring school. But taking their written correspondence to real life proves more challenging than any of them realize and might even put the rest of the pen pal project at risk.
  4. Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Justyce hopes to find some answers in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after he is profiled and unfairly detained by the police. But as Jus tries to follow his teachings and writes to Dr. King to try and make sense of his life, Justyce starts to wonder if those teachings have any place in the modern world where boys like Justyce are still dying.

If You Want a Funny Story:

  1. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg: When Rafe moves to a new all boys’ boarding school he decides to start with a clean slate where he isn’t “the gay kid.” Except keeping a secret like that isn’t easy. Especially when he might also be falling in love.
  2. Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornbough: Nattie is fine with blending in, joking with her friends, and possibly, sort of, flirting with Zach the Anarchist. But when local pop star Sebastian writes a hit single called “Natalie,” Nattie suddenly finds herself at the center of speculation about “Natalie’s” identity and wondering if she might have a future in the limelight, after all.
  3. The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne: Enthusiastic Daisy is more than ready to support her best friend, Hannah, when she comes out. But Daisy’s can-do attitude backfires when her efforts to end her school’s ban on same-sex dates at dances goes viral and pushes Daisy’s efforts to support her best friend to the sidelines.
  4. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: Three friends, two love stories, one wild convention, and fandoms galore.

If You Want a Story About This Crazy Thing Called Love:

  1. One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva: Alek Khederian’s summer school nightmare starts to look up when he meets confident, irreverent Ethan and realizes he might be exactly what Alek needs.
  2. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan: Mark and Kate don’t know each other beyond adjacent seats in class. They’re both in love, they’re both scared, and they just might be able to help each other face what comes next.
  3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: Both Noah and Jude are haunted by old ghosts and past mistakes. With the help of a curmudgeonly artist and a spectacularly messed-up boy, Jude thinks she can put the pieces of her family back together. Except she only has half of the pieces. It will take both Jude and Noah, together, to make things right.
  4. Fan Art by Sarah Tregay: As senior year wraps up, Jamie is forced to admit he has a problem: he’s fallen hard for his best friend. Jamie might be able to get together with Mason with help from the girls in his art class. But is the chance at romance enough to risk a lifelong friendship?

This post originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Read-a-likes for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Jenny Han’s heroine Lara Jean Song endeared herself to readers in Jenny Han’s trilogy and, of course, in the Netflix adaptations. Hopefully these read-a-likes will help fill the Lara Jean shaped hole in your heart if you’ve finished the series.

Click the book titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop with some bonus titles included.

Lara Jean Read-a-likes collage with cover art for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, PS I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara JeanIf you’re anything like me and consider yourself Lara Jean’s number one fan, you might want to check out these fan buttons I made to declare your allegiance online.

If You Want a Book With Sensational Sisters:

Book covers for books with sensational sisters

  • The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway: Sisters April, May, and June rediscover their childhood powers after their parents’ divorce. April sees the future, May disappears, and June reads minds. The powers help them cope with a tumultuous year but could they also have a bigger purpose?
  • The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: When Katie’s family moves from New York City to rural Fir Lake, she expects to face all of the changes with her older sister, Michaela. But the harder Katie clings to her memories of the city, the more Michaela adapts to life in Fir Lake, leaving Katie to wonder what happens when your best friend starts to look like someone you don’t know.
  • Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu: Missing her sister as she immerses herself in college life, Montana dives head first into a friendship with Karissa, an intoxicating girl from her acting class. Throwing herself into new relationships and trying to remake herself, Montana isn’t sure if she is losing herself or finding herself for the first time.
  • The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson: Sisters Brooks, May, and Palmer don’t know how to cope with their father’s sudden death. Brooks starts drinking, Palmer focuses on softball and middle sister May is left to hold their family together. As the girls drift apart they each gravitate to their father’s 1967 Pontiac Firebird. The Golden Firebird might be a horrible reminder of everything they have lost, but it might also be the key to finally moving on.
  • Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: Josie can always translate the things around her into her own native language of Josie. But living a life in translation is exhausting–especially with her sister marrying an insufferable man. Love is found in many languages. With so many things around her changing, Josie is about to get a crash course in the true meaning of the word. 

If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

Book covers for books with sweet romance

  • Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Not-quite-openly gay Simon is blackmailed into being the wingman for a classmate unless he wants his sexual identity (and the privacy of the amazing but still anonymous boy he’s been emailing) made public.
  • Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira: Unsure what to do about Dev potentially liking her, bookish Phoebe turns to the heroines in her favorite books for advice. But it turns out fictional romances don’t always translate well to reality. If Phoebe wants her own happy ending, she might have to figure out the answer herself.
  • Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: June and Oliver have seen each other around for years, an annoying side effect of their mothers being best friends. But they don’t get to know each other until the start of senior year when their mothers arrange for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Day. As they get to know each other, both June and Oliver will have to decide if young love has a place in a world where high school doesn’t much matter.
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since eighth grade. They chat and text constantly. They talk on the phone for hours. They know each other better than anyone. But only online. After an impulsive decision to road trip to Vegas to meet Nick, Hannah has one night to get to know Real Life Nick and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Natasha believes in science and facts. Which is why it’s so hard to hope for a miracle on her last day in New York City. Daniel believes in poetry and fate which is why he knows the moment he meets Natasha that their lives are about the change forever.

If You Want a Book With a Love Triangle:

Book covers for books with love triangles

  • Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler: Vanessa Park is passionate about acting and loves being on set–even with her flirty co-star Josh Chester. Van’s happy to have her new career handler, Brianna, but unsure what to do when her friendly feelings for Bri become something else.
  • A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody: Ellison Sparks has the worst Monday ever but she knows that with a second chance she could fix everything. But what happens when she gets seven chances? As Ellie tries again and again (and so on) to get her Monday right she starts to realize that the dream Monday she’s been chasing might not be so perfect after all.
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: When she receives an email from someone (Somebody/Nobody to be more specific) offering to help make sense of her perplexing new school Jessie isn’t sure what to think. Is his offer genuine? Is it an elaborate prank? The potential for a new friend and some much-needed information win out. The more Jessie and SN email and text, the more she wants to meet him in person. But as she gets closer to discovering SN’s identity, Jessie also wonders if some mysteries should remain unsolved.
  • The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder: In a year filled with changes and heartbreaks both small and large, Penelope will have to figure out how to move forward–especially when she knows exactly how fragile a heart can be.
  • The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott: Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s smart, funny, and he understands her. He’s also dating her best friend. Sarah liked him first, but it doesn’t matter. She still likes him. That doesn’t matter either. At least, it’s not supposed to. The only problem is, it does.

If You Want a Book About Growing Up:

Book covers for books about growing up

  • Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo: In a year filled with a lot of change and a lot of new things for both Amelia and Chris, this improbable pair will learn that friendships–and sometimes even more confusing feelings–can blossom anywhere.
  • This Raging Light by Estelle Laure: Lucille is used to being responsible and she knows that if she takes things one step at a time she can handle anything. She can find a job, she can take care of her little sister Wren, she can make sure no one notices that their mother is conspicuously absent. But Lucille isn’t sure if she can do all of that while holding onto her best friend and maybe falling in love.
  • The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart: The whole mess started with Finn. Well, technically it might have had more to do with Kim. But Finn is definitely involved. So is Jackson. And his four ceramic frogs. When it’s all said and done Nora, Cricket and Meghan are not speaking to Ruby. Kim isn’t either but that isn’t really a surprise. And that’s almost all before fifteen-year-old Ruby starts having panic attacks that lead to her eleven shrink appointments.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna Oliphant expected to spend her senior year in Atlanta with her friends. Instead her wannabe-sophisticated-noveau-riche dad has exiled Anna to boarding school. In Paris. Where the funny, charming, gorgeous Etienne St. Clair takes Anna under his wing. As Paris begins to feel more like home, Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses that bring their friendship to the verge of romance. Even while Etienne is very much still taken. But anything seems possible in the City of Lights. Maybe Anna and Etienne really are meant to be, maybe Anna will even learn some French.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Elise Dembowski has tried countless times to make herself better. Less different. Less precocious. Every time it’s been a horrible failure. Until one magical night when Elise wanders into a warehouse dance party and something finally does change. At the party Elise finds people who accept her; not some mainstreamed version of herself, not the invisible version or the fake one. Just her. In the midst of the party and the magic Elise also finds something almost as important: DJing.

If You Want a Book with a Baker:

Book covers for books with bakers

  • A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis: Lainey dreams of becoming a chef and having her own cooking show one day. With the lack of African American female chefs–not to mention vegetarian ones–she figures her odds of hitting it big are excellent. When her best friend (and crush) moves away, Lainey finds comfort in the kitchen as she works through new recipes and makes peace with the past.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  • The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Mike Lawrence: Alba loves living behind the bakery, drawing comics, and watching bad TV with her friends. Unfortunately Alba’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the return of a boy she used to know, complications with her best friend, and the flock of doomsday enthusiasts coming to Eden Valley for the end of the world.
  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson gave up her ice skates for baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner after a betrayal completely altered her plans for her future. When she has a chance to start coaching the boys hockey team, Hudson will also haveto decide if she wants to start skating again on her own terms.
  • Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood: Between moving, having no money, changing schools, and his father suddenly revealing that he’s gay Dan has more than enough issues without an impossible crush on the girl next door. Dan narrows all of his problems to six impossible things. With a penchant for making lists and following through, Dan is optimistic about fixing at least some of them–maybe even his mom’s wedding cake business that seems to result in more cancelled weddings than actual cakes.

Bonus: If You Want Another Rom Com:

Book covers for books releasing in 2017

  • Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan: Texan teen Piper dreams of leaving Houston far behind and attending art school in New York City with her best friends. Piper’s art might be enough to get her out of her stifling life at home, but only if she’s ready to take a chance on the unknown.
  • Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: When Rachel moved away she left a love letter for her crush, Henry Jones, in his favorite book in his family’s bookstore. But Henry never came. Now Rachel is back in the city and working beside Henry, the one boy she had hoped she would never see again.
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo: Desi Lee is a straight A student who knows CPR, car mechanics, and definitely has her application to Stanford well in hand. Love and flirting, however, remain a painful challenge. When Luca Drakos–probably the hottest guy ever–enters Desi’s life, she decides it’s time to improve her flirting game. And she knows exactly how to do it thanks to the Korean dramas her father loves.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple Shah has plans now that she’s graduated. Those plans do not include playing along with her mother’s mission to find her the ideal Indian Husband. Rishi Patel believes in love and the tradition behind arranged marriages. He’s thrilled to have the chance to woo his future wife over the summer. Dimple and Rishi’s parents didn’t mean to start the arrangement when their children were so young, but how can they ignore the serendipity of both teens choosing the same summer program?
  • By Your Side by Kasie West: What happens when the good girl gets locked in the school library for the long weekend with the bad boy?

Lara Jean Read-a-likes collage with cover art for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, PS I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara Jean

This piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2016.

Book List: Pride Month Reading List

June is Pride Month. Any time is a good time to celebrate the lives and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) people. You can join the Pride movement yourself with this reading list to keep you busy for the rest of June and into the summer.

Pride Month Reading List cover collagebanner

Click any of the linked titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop the list at Bookshop.

Hani and Ishu, Follow Your Arrow, Verona Comics, Felix Ever After, The Scapegracers, you should see me in a crown, girl serpent thorn, midnight lie

  • Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler: Lara has everything she thought she wanted. But now that she’s gotten the boy of her dreams, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl from her past?
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust: When her search for answers and a way to break the curse that makes her touch poison lead Soraya to a guard who claims he can see her for more than her poison and a prisoner in the dungeons who may have the answers Soraya needs, she will have to decide if she will be a princess or a monster.
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: Creating a secret profile to try and out his harasser should be simple since Felix is so sure it’s his longtime nemesis, Declan. But when Felix and Declan start talking, Felix realizes nothing is exactly as it seems–especially Felix’s own feelings for Declan and his best friend Ezra.
  • The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Sideways is almost as surprised as Jing and Yates and Daisy when the magic she was hired to add to a scare season party works. Party magic soon leads to dead deer in a drained pool, an unknown party guest nearly assaulting Yates, devils, and trouble as the girls start to learn more about the magic they all share and what it means for their fledgling friendship.
  • Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan: Neither Jubilee nor Ridley are looking for anything long-term, but their connection is immediately obvious. Unfortunately it’s also immediately inconvenient due to their parents’ intense dislike of each other and their rivalry.
  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar: What starts as a business transaction to secure Hani acceptance from her biphobic friends in exchange for the visibility Ishu needs to win Head Girl quickly becomes something more when the girls start to realize they might actually like each other. Turns out staging a relationship is a lot easier than trying to start a real one.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: Prom season is always hectic in Campbell and competition is always fierce. Liz knows most people in Campbell don’t see her as prom queen material. The better question is if Liz is ready to step out of the ensemble and use her solo to convince them otherwise.
  • The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg: Maximo and Jordan will have to decide what they’re willing to risk on a fledgling relationship while working on a food truck together during a hot Arizona summer.
  • Last Night a the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo: America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown when Red-Scare paranoia is an especially big threat to Lily Hu’s family. The Telegraph Club offers a respite but Lily will still have to decide how much she can afford to risk for her family and her own ambitions to give herself a chance with Kath.
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children takes in used-up miracle children who have outgrown their knack for finding hidden lands. When a new girl, Nancy, arrives it becomes clear that a darkness lurks at the home and it will be up to Nancy and her schoolmates to unravel the secrets of the Home and their own pasts.
  • The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee: Sisters Eileen, Claire, and Murphy used to be close. A visionary, a planner, and a performer respectively, the sisters could accomplish amazing things. But that was years ago. Now the girls can barely stand each other. Days before Christmas Eileen receives a letter that could change everything. The sisters have inherited a house that could have answers for Eileen, money for Claire to get out of town, and a chance for Murphy to feel like she’s part of a family again.
  • The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski: As Nirrim and Sid search for answers about the secrets of the High Kith and Herath itself, Nirrim will have to decide if doing more than surviving is worth the risk–and the cost.
  • Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi: When CeCe’s efforts to keep her public persona a secret go spectacularly wrong CeCe will have to answer uncomfortable questions from Josh and confront the media attention centered around who she chooses to date and the version of herself she chooses to share.

Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon’s debut novel Everything, Everything took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 and won even more fans when the story came to life on the big screen with the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinsom. If you’re looking for more read-a-likes now that you’ve read the book and watched the movie, this booklist has everything, everything you might want to read next.

Click titles to read my reviews where applicable.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop.

collage art for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonIf You Want a Book Where a Character is More Than Their Illness:

cover art for The Memory Book, Zac and Mia, Before I Die, Hold Me Like a Breath

 

  • The Memory Book by Lara Avery: Sammie doesn’t believe that one diagnosis can change her entire life. She starts writing down her memories big and small as her degenerative illness, Niemann-Pick Type C, begins to take its toll on her memories and her health.
  • Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts: Zac and Mia would never be friends friends in the real world. But different rules apply when you’re in a hospital.
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham: Tessa knows she is dying. Instead of waiting to disappear without a trace, Tessa decides to complete her “before I die” list in the precious weeks she has left.
  • Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt: When disaster strikes, Penelope is thrust into a world of secrets and betrayals she is ill-equipped to understand. As she struggles to make sense of her shattered past and shape her own future she’ll also learn that life isn’t always a fairy tale. Sometimes you have to make your own happy ending.

If You Want a Book That Goes the Distance (Literally):

cover art for Let's Get Lost, So Much Closer, In Real Life, Anna and the French Kiss

  • Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid: When Leila arrives right when she’s needed most in her ridiculously red car she changes the lives of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia forever. But it will take a 4,268 mile road trip for Leila to realize what she needs herself.
  • So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti: Brooke moved to New York City for Scott Abrams. Will she wind up staying for herself?
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses and close calls that bring their friendship to the verge of being something more. Even while Etienne is very much still taken. But anything seems possible in the City of Lights. Maybe Anna and Etienne really are meant to be, maybe Anna will even learn some French.

If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

cover art for The Great American Whatever, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, American Street

  • The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle: Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  • I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil: When Bea loses her boyfriend to quirky new girl Toile, she decides to use her mathematically proven Formula for social happiness in high school to reinvent herself as eccentric and adorable “Trixie”.
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi:Fabiola Toussaint and her mother arrive in the United States eager to join Fabiola’s aunt and cousins. But her mother is detained by ICE at a facility in New Jersey and Fabiola arrives alone. Fabiola finds new friends and first love, but she also learns that nothing in America is what she imagined back home in Haiti–not even her new home at the corner of American Street and Joy Road.

If You Want a Book That Has Some Unexpected Moments:

cover art for Something Real, The Boy in the Black Suit, My Kind of Crazy, Highly Illogical Behavior

  • Something Real by Heather Demetrios: When their family’s reality show is cancelled Bonnie™ Baker hopes that she and her twelve siblings can start living a normal life. Then her mother announces that Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air and Bonnie™ will have to take drastic measures if she wants to protect the normal life she’s started to treasure.
  • The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds: What happens when a boy who works at a funeral home meets a girl who never cries?
  • My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul: When Hank’s promposal attempt ends with a fiery lawn, budding pyromaniac Peyton Breedlove blackmails him into friendship.
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley: Solomon hasn’t left his house in three years. Lisa, with help from her boyfriend Clark, decides to fix Sol and his agoraphobia. And write a scholarship-winning essay about it. But it turns out psychology isn’t so straightforward when love and friendship come into the mix.

collage art for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Books with Bakers, Chefs, and Other Food Enthusiasts

Everyone has to do it eventually but surprisingly few YA fiction books have any reference to it. I’m talking about cooking and baking, of course. This list features books for teens with bakers, chefs, and foodies.

collage cover art for Books with Bakers book listClick book titles to read my review where applicable. You can shop the titles on this list plus a few bonus suggestions on Bookshop.

If you want even more titles check out the “cooking & baking” tag on my blog for every book I’ve reviewed that features cooking or baking.

  • Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake: Hadley and Sam are both hurting. They’re feeling abandoned and maybe even betrayed by their parents’ choices. Neither of them expects to find comfort or connection with the other–especially Sam who knows exactly how ludicrous their mutual attraction really is–but then they find exactly that. And maybe more
  • A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis: Lainey dreams of becoming a chef and having her own cooking show one day. With the lack of African American female chefs–not to mention vegetarian ones–she figures her odds of hitting it big are excellent. When her best friend (and crush) moves away, Lainey finds comfort in the kitchen as she works through new recipes and makes peace with the past.
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Sydney is used to living in her older brother Peyton’s shadow. When Peyton is sent to jail for drunk driving, Sydney tracks down the victim of the accident and finds herself drawn into the warm and chaotic world of the Chathams and the pizza parlor they run.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  • Taste Test by Kelly Fiore: As accidents mount in the kitchen arena of Taste Test, a new televised cooking competition, Nora has to try to find the culprit while proving she has what it takes to win.
  • Stir It Up! by Ramin Ganeshram: Anjali dreams of hosting a cooking show where she can showcase dishes inspired by her Hindu and Trinidadian heritage. When she has the chance to compete in a cooking show will she be able to defy her family and attend the audition?
  • The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler: Penny’s life is far from sweet when her mother moves them from the big city to Hog’s Hollow so that she can open a cupcake bakery.
  • The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Mike Lawrence: Alba loves living behind the bakery, drawing comics, and watching bad TV with her friends. Unfortunately Alba’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the return of a boy she used to know, complications with her best friend, and the flock of doomsday enthusiasts coming to Eden Valley for the end of the world.
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley: Baker Rae “Sunshine” Seddon’s life takes a dramatic turn when she is abducted by a gang of vampires. And survives.
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Catherine is more interested in baking than the attentions of Wonderland’s unmarried King–especially when she has big plans to open her own shop and is secretly courting Jest. Cath wants to choose her own path but in a land filled with madness and magic, she may not get the chance.
  • Cake Pop Crush by Suzanne Nelson: Alice Ramirez loves baking and helping at her father’s bakery, Say It With Flour. When a rival coffee shop opens across the street, Ali tries to give her family an edge with trendy cake pops.
  • The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier: Keri has her hands running her bakery when she is unexpectedly chosen as the next Lady of Nimmera. Only time will tell if one inexperienced and unexpected heir will be enough to repair Nimmera’s quickly fading boundary magic and help the small country thrive even in the face of imminent invasion.
  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson gave up her ice skates for baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner after a betrayal completely altered her plans for her future. When she has a chance to start coaching the boys hockey team, Hudson will also haveto decide if she wants to start skating again on her own terms.
  • The Prank List by Anna Staniszewski: Rachel Lee will do anything to save her mother’s cleaning business if it means not moving to Connecticut and losing her new best friend, almost-boyfriend, and her pastry classes.
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Every year when the temperature drops, Sam changes into a wolf–Grace’s wolf, the one always watching her from a safe distance–trapped in his changed form until spring when the temperatures rise and he can become Sam again. Once Grace knows the truth, sees her wolf made human, losing him is unimaginable. Being with Grace is all Sam has ever wanted; the one thing he always held onto as a wolf. But the temperature is falling in Mercy Falls and Grace and Sam are running out of time.
  • Pizza, Love & Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams: Sophie Nicolaides grew up in her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant. But is that enough to prepare her to compete on the Teen Test Kitchen reality show?
  • Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood: Between moving, having no money, changing schools, and his father suddenly revealing that he’s gay Dan has more than enough issues without an impossible crush on the girl next door. Dan narrows all of his problems to six impossible things. With a penchant for making lists and following through, Dan is optimistic about fixing at least some of them–maybe even his mom’s wedding cake business that seems to result in more cancelled weddings than actual cakes.

An earlier version of this piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Miss Print’s Top Ten: 2020

What a strange year this has been. Despite a personally promising start, I know I’m not the only who will be happy to see the other side of this long and tedious year. One thing that helped get me through this year were the books I was able to read, the authors I was able to connect with, and the stories I was able to recommend to friends.

When I sat down to put together this post, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to remember–or even choose–my ten favorite reads of the year. But as I began looking back on all of the books I read and listened to, I realized most of the choices were obvious.

This year I’m giving you a top eleven and some honorable mentions because it was impossible to narrow it down more.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop or Amazon.

Honorable Mention: The Backlist

The books I read and loved this year that were published before 2020.

  • Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
  • An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
  • Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

Honorable Mention: The Sequels

The sequels I read and loved this year in two of my favorite series. (Start with book one to avoid spoilers.)