New Releases: Demons, Witches, and Ziggy Stardust

Let’s say you’ve set a personal goal of reading two YA books per day this week. There will still be four more after that to entice you! August is that amazing. Those of you who’ve been waiting all year for certain book twos to arrive are in for a treat: Gretchen McNeil, Sarah Henning, Sally Green, Caryn Lix, Mary Pearson and more are back with all the sequels to last year’s hits you’ve been craving.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones (B&N Exclusive Edition)
Two high school seniors from disparate backgrounds—Lena is black, confident, and believes in her future; Campbell is white, new to school, and determined not to make waves—are thrown together in the midst of unexpected violence at a Friday-night football game. As fellow concession workers, but not friends, the two girls have little in common, but soon they’re leaning on one another to survive the chaos surrounding them. Angie Thomas calls the book “compelling and powerful” so you know you’re in for a thought-provoking and deeply engaging read. The B&N Exclusive Editions includes extra chapters, a map of the neighborhood the girls must navigate, an author Q&A, and more.

Announcing Trouble, by Amy Fellner Dominy 
In this fresh, heartfelt, sports-themed romance, baseball expert Josie has turned off her love for the game ever since her dad ditched the family for a shot at the big leagues. So, when she first meets Garrett, a charming, arrogant baseball pitcher sidelined by an injury, it’s hate at first sight. Their undeniable chemistry takes over when they’re partnered for a broadcasting gig announcing the high school games, but can Josie ever fully give her heart to Garrett when she’s still reeling from her dad’s betrayal?

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (B&N Exclusive Edition)
The only thing that could possibly make this fantasy debut even better is five (that’s right, five!) Barnes & Noble exclusive editions highlighting the five clans. The first book in the Legacy of Orïsha series includes elements of West African history and folklore. Prepare to fall hard for its female leads, diviner Zélie and fierce princess Amari, as they flee Amari’s brother on a life-or-death quest to restore magic to the land of Orïsha. Come for the detailed worldbuilding, mesmerizing characters, and female deity. Stay for the enchanting new voice in YA fiction. And be sure to mark your calendars for December 3rd, when the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeancehits stores!

#MurderFunding, by Gretchen McNeil
After the events of #MurderTrending, in which Dee Guerrera took on Alcatraz 2.0 and its fiendish cast of serial killers, newcomer Becca Martinello is tossed into the lion’s den when she learns that her recently deceased, stay-at-home mom was none other than Molly Mauler, one of the gruesome state-sanctioned executioners. To prove her mom’s innocence (an impossible task?) Becca joins the cast of a fresh reality show, “Who Wants to Be a Painiac?” which purports to cater to non-lethal killers. However, behind the scenes, Becca’s about to discover just how deadly reality TV can be. McNeil returns with another biting satire-thriller that’s sure to keep readers gasping.

Here There Are Monsters, by Amelinda Bérubé
The follow-up to Berube’s chilling debut, The Dark Beneath the Ice, introduces teenage Skye and her difficult younger sister, Deirdre, who have recently moved to a new town in the middle of swampy nowhere. Skye hopes to extricate herself from her role as Deirdre’s perpetual rescuer, but then Deidre disappears, and a horrifying visitor at the window tells Skye she’s the only one who can save her sister. Co-dependency and toxic, sacrificial relationships are just a few of the monsters served up in this riveting, psychologically complex tale.

House of Salt and Sorrows, by Erin A. Craig
The Virgin Suicides meets the Brothers Grimm in this gothic fairy tale debut about the seven remaining sisters (out of twelve) who dwell with their duke father and stepmother at Highmoor manor by the sea. Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and four older siblings, Annaleigh is desperate for a glimmer of happiness. She thinks she’s found it via an enchanted door that leads to another world, full of dancing and romance—but as with all magical realms, the cost of visiting is steep. This looks to be a haunting fantasy brimming with lush detail.

Star Wars: Crash of Fate, by Zoraida Córdova
Fresh off her work in the best-selling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of Viewand the Brooklyn Brujas series, Córdova shines with this stand-alone novel about two childhood best friends who grow up to fall in love after a long separation. But with Jules’s staid life as a farmer who’s never ventured beyond Batuu, and Izzy’s risky transformation from orphan to smuggler, can they make it as a duo? Their devotion to each other will be tested every step of the way when Jules’s latest job goes haywire and they find themselves in the crosshairs of an angry pirate.

Swipe Right for Murder, by Derek Milman 
The author of Scream All Night is back with a cinematic thrill ride. All Aidan wanted was a no-strings hookup during an overnight stay in NYC, but what he finds instead is a dead body, a mysterious flash drive, and a case of mistaken identity. On the run from the Swans—a pro-LGBTQ group violently targeting bigoted politicians—as well as the FBI, Aidan (who is gay) attempts to clear his name of murder and hacking charges. While he agrees with the Swans’ viewpoints, he can’t condone their violence, and he refuses to be anyone’s pawn. But how will he possibly free himself from the noir-ish nightmare he’s trapped in?

Vow of Thieves, by Mary E. Pearson
The final book in the Dance of Thieves series—set in the same fantasy world as Pearson’s popular Remnant Chronicles—finds reformed thief / queensguard warrior Kazi and outlaw leader Jase dedicated to each other and the shared life they yearn to enjoy. But when Jase’s home of Tor’s Watch falls under the control of a sinister enemy who’s fueled by vengeance, Jase and Kazi must use every bit of strength they possess to overcome him. Their love is strong and their skills are sharp, but will that be enough to triumph over betrayal?

Ziggy, Stardust and Me, by James Brandon
In this historical debut about two star-crossed gay boys falling in love in Missouri, it’s 1973, and newspaper headlines are dominated by the Watergate hearings and the lingering Vietnam War. Real life hasn’t been kind to 16-year-old Jonathan Collins lately; between his dad’s alcoholism, his own loneliness, and being told his homosexuality is a crime that needs “fixing” via aversion therapy, his only respite is his imagination. There, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust as well as Jonathan’s late mother help Jonathan cope with the outside world. But the biggest change to Jonathan’s way of thinking arrives in the form of Web, a confident Oglala Lakota boy who models self-acceptance for Jonathan just when Jonathan needs it most.

A Dress for the Wicked, by Autumn Krause
Set in an alternate Victorian England known as Britannia Secunda, where fashion dominates every aspect of life and commerce, talented outsider Emmaline Watkins gets the chance of a lifetime when she participates in a design competition like no other. As the only “country girl” vying for first prize, she has a lot to fear from her city-smart, wealthy rivals. But if she can dodge and weave the corruption tossed in her path, there’s a good chance she’ll emerge triumphant. This standalone debut looks perfect for fans of Project Runway.

Let’s Call it a Doomsday, by Katie Henry
For severely anxious teenager Ellis Kimball, a Mormon, doomsday is more than a theory; she’s obsessed with preparing for an apocalyptic event she knows is imminent. She may not be able to say what form it will take, or when it will happen, but Hannah Marks does. The two girls meet in their therapist’s waiting room and become friends who feed into one another’s prophecies. As they work together to warn and save their loved ones from The End, Ellis starts to question everything she once held as gospel, both literally and figuratively. This looks to be a thought-provoking, beautifully rendered, and respectful look at faith, mental illness, relationships, and finding one’s place in in the hierarchy of belief.

Containment, by Caryn Lix 
In last year’s sci-fi thrill ride Sanctuary, prison-guard-in-training Kenzie wanted nothing more than to follow in her mother’s footsteps as an ideal corporate citizen. Her worldview was tested when an alien invasion hijacked the space station during a prison riot in which Kenzie was taken hostage by the teenage prisoners. In book two, she and her new allies (and the alien ship they absconded with) are on the run from the second wave of extraterrestrial attackers as well as the company, Omnistellar Concepts, that Kenzie once held in such high regard. Who will reach her first? And if Kenzie and her superpowered friends can’t stop what’s to come, how will Earth itself possibly hope to survive?

How the Light Gets In, by Katy Upperman 
A contemporary drama with romantic and paranormal elements, Upperman’s (Kissing Max Holden) latest centers on high school senior Callie, whose younger sister Chloe died a year ago. Unable to move on from the pain, Callie has quit the swim team, stopped working hard in school, and ramped up her pot smoking. Her parents issue an ultimatum: attend therapy camp this summer or travel back to Bell Cove, Oregon, where her aunt lives, to help her aunt renovate a Victorian bed and breakfast. But Bell Cove is the place where Callie’s sister died, and her ghost and that of a girl who went missing several years earlier seem to have a message for Callie.

Hello Girls, by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry
Inspired by Thelma and Louise, this dark-but-invigorating, feminist road trip finds new best friends Winona and Lucille on the run from the boys and men who’ve made their lives hell. Winona’s fleeing her abusive father (a beloved weatherman), and Lucille has realized she can no longer tolerate her drug-dealing older brother. With a stolen car, a bag of drugs, and a plan to find Winona’s long-lost mother in Las Vegas, the teens quickly discover that getting from point A to point B will be anything but easy.

Remember Me, by Chelsea Bobulski
The author of The Wood, a spooky time-travel fantasy, is back with her sophomore novel, a classic ghost story with dual timelines and POVs. In 1905, we meet 16-year-old Aurelea when she moves to the Winslow Grand Hotel. In the present day, we follow the discoveries that Nell (the daughter of the current hotel manager) makes about the terrifying and dastardly events that took place during Aurelea’s tenure. Are the two girls destined for a similar demise, or will Nell find a way to break free from the curse that haunts her?

The Demon World, by Sally Green
Book two of The Smoke Thieves, a medieval fantasy trilogy, finds Princess Catherine (now in open rebellion against her father), Ambrose (the soldier she loves), orphaned Tash (a demon hunter), smoke thief Edyon, and servant March fleeing King Aloysius’s army. The power of demon smoke to sway the fate of nations means that the ill-fated teens must enter the Demon World itself if they’re to have any hope of winning the battles ahead.

Sea Witch Rising, by Sarah Henning
Though it can be read as a stand-alone, book two in the Sea Witch series (a re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “Little Mermaid” from other perspectives), provides answers about the titular witch Evie’s possible redemption fifty years hence. It also introduces readers to mermaid princess Runa, who is desperate to save her twin sister, Alia, who foolishly gave up her voice in a trade with Evie. Unrequited love and the sacrifices we’re willing to make in pursuit of freedom form the backbone of this creative story.

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