New Releases: Forbidden Magic, Unsolved Mysteries, and Vengeful Journeys

Does November know how to kick itself off or what? There’s some sort of Thanksgiving pun to made here for the bounty that is before us, but there are eighteen books to talk about here so rather than figure that one out, let’s just go shopping, shall we?

Sick Kids in Love, by Hannah Moskowitz
Moskowitz is a bit of a genre chameleon, able to write both the weirdest fantasy and the most current contemporary. This is a case of the latter, a delightfully charming romance between two teens with chronic illness, and yes, the tagline is true: nobody dies in this one. Not that you’d expect that of Isabel, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, but that’s part of the point. Having impostor syndrome about the severity of her condition, especially when compared to love interest Sasha’s Gaucher’s Disease, is a whole other thing that plagues her, and also prevents her from asking for the help she needs. But Sasha (mostly, generally) understands her, and helps her see the ways in which she’s been settling with her friends in her pre-Sasha life. Together, they find not only mutual care and love but self-advocacy and confidence, and it’ll have you rooting for them through the slowest of slow burns.

Shadowscent, by P.M. Freestone
Rakel is talented with fragrances in an empire where scent is king, but all the talent in the world can’t save her dying father, or protect her when she finds herself a prime suspect in the poisoning of the prince. The other prime suspect is Ash, an imperial bodyguard with a secret and a desperate need that matches Rakel’s to prove their innocence. Together they must find who’s administered toxins to Prince Nisai and set fire to a field of the empire’s rarest flower, or they’ll be the next ones to die.

Girls of Storm and Shadow, by Natasha Ngan
The queer fantasy series that took YA and the New York Times-bestseller list by storm last year returns with a sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire, revisiting Lei now that she’s “the Moonchosen,” slayer of the Demon King. Together with her girlfriend Wren and a bounty on her head, she now must travel the kingdom to gain support, but with potential enemies at every turn and relationship doubts constantly lurking, the journey grows increasingly treacherous both physically and emotionally, especially a new magic-fueled plot to destroy the rebels begins to come to fruition.

Every Stolen Breath, by Kimberly Gabriel
It’s been two years since Lia’s father was killed by a violent mob dubbed the Swarm, but she can’t give up looking for rhyme or reason behind his murder. Unfortunately, her debilitating asthma and PTSD make it impossible to hunt on her own, so when the time comes to take the search to the next level, Lia finds a team: a teen hacker, a reporter, and a stranger who knows the Swarm a little too well. Now they must work together to find out who’s behind the murderous mob, and if they can’t do it quickly, Lia might be the next Swarm’s next victim. Not gonna lie, that titles feels like a preview for how it must feel to read this premise, but I am always psyched to find new voices in thrillers, especially if they might leave me gasping for air.

Deadly Little Scandals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
No one consistently lands the twists, turns, and knockout punches of YA thrillers quite like Barnes, who returns this month with the sequel to Little White LiesSawyer may have gotten one of the answers she sought, but the information she’s uncovered leads to a whole bunch of different questions. When her cousin Lily ropes her into an elite society group called the White Gloves, the hope that someone might be able to answer them has Sawyer signing on. But as usual, thinks get a lot darker a lot faster than anyone anticipated, and when they dig up a set of mystery bones, it only heightens the importance of Sawyer’s quest. Of course, that leads her down the deepest of blackmail-filled rabbit holes, and no one is prepared for what lies at the bottom.

The Guinevere Deception, by Kiersten White
Whether it’s a Frankenstein, Vlad the Impaler, or a vampire slayer, no one takes legend and makes badass girls out of it quite like White, who’s kicking off a new Camelot-inspired series starring a changeling named Guinevere…or at least that’s the name she’s using, given it was the name of the girl who died in a convent but was supposed to marry King Arthur. But this bride’s got powers the old bride definitely did not, and sent by Merlin, she’s prepared to use every single one of them to keep the kingdom and its ruler safe, regardless of the fact that magic’s been forbidden. When she learns there’s more to her mission than she’d been told, Guinevere will have to entirely reassess whom she can trust, because the wrong answer may cost her and her new people everything.

A Constellation of Roses, by Miranda Asebedo
Though this is in fact a companion to The Deepest Roots, reading the first book might add appreciation but it isn’t necessary to understand or enjoy (or completely lose your heart to) the story of Trix McCabe,  a girl who’s adjusting to life with her long-lost relatives after being abandoned by her mother. It’s there she learns that the magic she possesses is actually a family trait, common to McCabe women, and for once, Trix feels like she fits in someplace. But then her past comes crawling back, and Trix has to make a choice whether to settle into this new life or hit the road all over again and finally break free.

Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater
Pynch fans, rejoice! Your faves are back in this new series, which kicks off with Ronan and his two brothers traveling to meet up with Adam at school. The focus of the series, though, is Dreaming, that powerful and dangerous skill possessed by Ronan that allows him to pull things from dreams into reality. Carmen’s brother was also a Dreamer, and she knows just how messed-up and deadly it can be. And then there’s Jordan, an art forger and a thief who’s chasing a Dream object.  When their lives intersect, nothing will ever be the same again.

Fugly, by Claire Waller
Beth is a straight-up troll, and she isn’t sorry about it. She spends enough time being bullied about her weight in real life to know exactly how it’s done, and nothing feels better than dishing it back out behind the anonymity of the internet. And when she meets Tori online, she finds a partner-in-crime who makes it that much more satisfying. But meanwhile, in real life, she’s making an entirely different new friend in sweet Amy, and when Beth and Tori’s trolling goes too far and affects someone Beth knows, she has to consider what kind of person she really wants to be and what it would take to leave this ugliness behind her.

Supernova, by Marissa Meyer
The third and final book in the Renegades series sees Nova and Adrian fighting battles and working to keep Gatlon City safe from the forces that seek to destroy it, all while continuing to keep their identities a secret. Who will be left standing when the superheroes and supervillains finally face off for good?

Winterwood, by Shea Ernshaw
Ernshaw debuted on the New York Times bestseller list with her witchy The Wicked Deep. Her second novel keeps the witchy goodness, or at least that’s the rumor when it comes to Nora. And she does have a supernatural connection with the woods; all the women in her family do. That’s how she finds Oliver, the boy who disappeared in the middle of a snowstorm and has appeared in the woods with no recollection of the time he spent missing. As Nora’s feelings for Oliver grow, she recognizes that things in the woods have changed, and she’ll have to find out the truth about his time there in order to set things right. But Oliver doesn’t just have missing memories; he also has secrets, and he’ll do anything to make sure they stay that way.

Tears of Frost, by Bree Barton
This sequel to Heart of Thorns sees Mia in a bad state, to say the least, but it won’t stop her from searching for her mother—not when that’s the only way she can save her beloved. And speaking of girls on brutal searching journeys, Pilar is still recovering from her mother’s betrayal, and she wants revenge. But when she collides with Prince Quin, who has reasons of his own to want vengeance, all bets are off.

Across a Broken Shore, by Amy Trueblood
Willa isn’t interested in becoming a nun, but as the only daughter in an Irish-Catholic family in 1936, that’s exactly what her family has planned. Her own dream of joining the medical field is a deeply kept secret, though she manages to sneak to a medical clinic in San Francisco every day to help a female doctor there. But when Willa agrees to help the doctor at a field hospital near the Golden Gate bridge’s new construction, she falls for a young ironworker, throwing her family’s plans even further out the window. With a dangerous occupation and love on the horizon, how much longer can Willa stay safe and keep her secret?

Song of the Crimson Flower, by Julie C. Dao
With her trademark dark fairytale style, Dao uses elements of the Cyrano story to create this romantic and magical standalone tale set in the world of her earlier novels. It stars Lan, a noble girl who thinks she’s enjoying the quiet, secretive courtship of a lifetime, only to learn that a lowly physician’s apprentice named Bao has been posing as her future husband. When Bao is cursed by a witch, and they realize Lan is the only one with the potential to help him break it, the two are forced to make a dangerous journey together, the pain of her brutal rejection hanging over them. But as they face increased danger in a world filling with mysterious illness and a criminal drug trade, they can’t help growing closer, even as a happy ending looks less possible every day.

A Thousand Fires, by Shannon Price
Billed as The Outsiders meets The Iliad, this debut novel stars Valerie, a girl who’s destined for gang life, especially if it means finding who in the Boars killed her brother. Anyway, there’s one great thing about the Herons that can’t be denied: Matthew, Valerie’s best friend and the future leader of the group. But then another gang, the Stags, makes a play for Valerie, and she’s finding it hard to say no, especially to their charming leader, Jax, and his promised aid in her quest for revenge. Now she’s torn in both loyalty and heart, and of course the biggest problem at all is that even the bloodiest of vengeance can’t bring her brother back.

Gravity, by Sarah Deming
A YA starring a female boxer that’s authored by a former Golden Gloves champion? Sign me alllllll the way up. That boxer here is Gravity Delgado, a Jewish Dominican teenager growing up in Brooklyn and training with a legendary coach to become an Olympic boxer. It feels like the perfect path for a girl who’s known to break things, and she’s proving to have some serious skill. But life on the side doesn’t stop for an Olympic dream, and between picking up her mom’s responsibilities at home and a distracting romance at the gym, Gravity’s got some hard choices to make if she wants to pursue athletic greatness.

The Toll, by Neal Shusterman
Shusterman’s bestselling series comes to a close with Citra and Rowan waking three years after the events of the last book, on the run from Scythe Goddard’s allies and everyone who would see Rowan burn for the destruction of Endura. The Thunderhead is still in charge, but won’t communicate with anyone other than Greyson Tolliver, aka the Toll. So…things are pretty complicated! How will they wrap up? The answer may destroy uhhhh I mean surprise you!

The How & The Why, by Cynthia Hand
Cass has a great life, and she knows it, but that doesn’t quell her curiosity about the mother who gave her up for a closed adoption when she was a pregnant teen. And there are answers to those questions, sitting in a series of letters that Cass’s mother wrote her eighteen years ago, which Cass ultimately finds. The book unfolds as a dual narrative, one of which presents Cass’s life in the present and the other of which is devoted to her mother’s letters, which tell her background, her story, and how she came to give Cass up. Together, they make for a novel that promises to be heartfelt, sensitive, and compelling.

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