The final week of August brings a graphic novel from Rainbow Rowell as well as a debut YA about a young woman who can hack people’s memories. Moira Fowley-Doyle is back with an intense and thought-provoking look at reproductive rights, and two novels about seafaring provide plenty of swashbuckling thrills to close out the summer.
Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)
The author of Eleanor & Park and the author of Comics Will Break Your Heart (whose artwork can be seen in multiple award-winning graphic novels) have joined forces for this delightful tale of friendship with Can’t Hardly Wait vibes. “Seasonal besties” and Omaha teens Deja and Josiah spend every fall together as co-workers at the local pumpkin patch. Now that they’re seniors, feeling bereft about their last shift on their last night on the job, outgoing Deja decides it’s time for reticent Josiah to stop speculating about his crush (aka Fudge Girl) and do something. Soon they’re taking full advantage of their surroundings—not just sampling every delectable treat and attraction at the patch, but possibly learning new things about each other and the ways in which they relate.
All the Bad Apples, by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
When Mandy disappears, her younger sister Deena knows she isn’t dead like everyone believes; otherwise, how could letters from Mandy keep showing up? The letters contain information about a curse handed down through generations of women in their family, and Deena sets off on a cross-country hunt for information. The answers she receives are tough for her to take, especially since they paint an accurate portrait of a history of violence against women and girls. Fans of Spellbook of the Lost and Found already know how skilled Fowley-Doyle is with queer YA, but whether she’s a familiar favorite or a new author to you, this book about sexual and reproductive rights promises to make you think.
Crown of Coral and Pearl, by Mara Rutherford
Twin sisters Nor and Sadie, who dwell in the ocean village of Varenia, have always known that beautiful Sadie will eventually be sent to marry the Crown Prince of Ilara, whose kingdom is on land. But when Sadie falls in love with someone else, Nor is sent in her place—despite the scar on her face that would normally disqualify her. Suddenly Nor is thrust into a new mountain-palace home, a place of royal intrigue. A dangerous romance (with her betrothed’s brother) follows, as well as the shattering realization that nothing as it seems, and she alone holds the key to the fate of her village and everyone she holds dear.
Song of the Abyss, by Makiia Lucier
Reyna is an aspiring cartographer and explorer, hoping to follow in her famed grandfather’s footsteps. Having spent the past year on an expedition of her own, she believes her goal is in sight. That’s before her ship is attacked and her entire crew—including the captain—disappear, and Reyna is forced to make an uneasy alliance with the prince from a rival kingdom. Together, they’ll fight for the truth, even if that means going up against all sorts of monstrous deep-sea creatures and deadly, mythological legends.
Mind Games, by Shana Silver
Inception meets More Happy Than Not in this twisty sci-fi about a computer genius, Arden Varga, who can hack anyone’s memories and sell them for others to enjoy. When Arden realizes her own techniques have been used against her, causing her to lose all memory of her friend and crush Sebastian, she must race against the clock to discover who is out to get her, and why it may be connected to a school project she and Sebastian were working on. Prepare to be reeled in by the romance, suspense, and high-tech thrills.
The Ghost Seekers, by Devon Taylor
In last year’s pirate fantasy Soul Keepers, Rhett’s death was only the beginning of his journey. Invited to join a crew of reapers (aka syllektors, who collect and ferry the souls of the dead aboard the Harbinger, an enormous ship), Rhett found himself targeted by the demon Urcena. In Book Two, the Harbinger has sunk, scattering the syllektors and the souls under their protection to the four winds. Urcena has grown ever more determined to use Rhett for her own ends, but Urcena isn’t the only one with powers—and Rhett and his friends won’t give up without a fight. This looks to be a compelling ghost story with characters who grow and change in satisfying ways.