Othergirl, Nicole Burnstein (April 2nd, Andersen Press)
A middle grade superhero story focusing on girls’ friendships. Sounds like my kind of thing!
Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers.
When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.
Life isn’t a comic book – it’s even crazier than that.
It Might Be an Apple, Shinsuke Yoshitake (April 6th, Thames & Hudson)
Ringo kamoshirenai is one of the Japanese picture books that I like to browse and read and look at a lot, and have wished for a translated version I could get for my nieces. And now there will be one!
It Might Be an Apple is a boisterous, philosophical shaggy dog story for young children and probably a few adults. The story follows a childs hilarious, wildly inventive train of thought through all the things an apple might be if it is not, in fact, an apple. Distrusting the apples convincing appearance, the childs imagination spirals upwards and outwards into a madcap fantasy world maybe its a star from outer space with tiny aliens on board? Perhaps it wants a cool hairstyle? Does it feel scared, or snore at night? Children can see what all these crazy, funny things might look like. This book is not only huge fun, but it also encourages a questioning, challenging approach to the world around us.
Chu’s Day at the Beach, Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex (illust.) (April 7th, HarperCollins)
To be honest, I’m just a tiny bit tired of the Chu books. But I still find them cute enough to want.
Chu and his family are going to the beach!
Chu is excited. He will get to play in the sand and wade in the water.
But what will happen if Chu sneezes at the beach?
And what will happen if he doesn’t?
Inside This Book (are three books), Barney Saltzberg (April 7th, Abrams Appleseed)
Kit showed me some of the inside pages of this book, and it’s pretty cool
Inside This Book is a tribute to self-publishing in its most pure and endearing form. Three siblings create three books of their own using blank paper that they bind together (in descending sizes to match birth order). One sibling’s work inspires the next, and so on, with each book’s text and art mirroring the distinct interests and abilities of its creator. Upon completion of their works, the siblings put one book inside the other, creating a new book to be read and shared by all!
I’m always looking for more mogai YA to read, and luckily there are more and more of them being published these days. None of the Above, though, is still rare – about an intersexed teen. I don’t think I’ve read a book with an intersexed protagonist since Middlesex.
A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex . . . and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned–something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli (April 7th, Balzer + Bray)
Just the title alone sounds like my kind of read. And then there’s all the hype about this book going around; I hope it’s as good as I want it to be.
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Follow-up to the very cute Have You Seen My Dragon?
A little girl gallivants through a county fair, searching for her furry friend. Readers will surely spot the friendly monster as well as twenty shapes, identified here by their proper names—trapezoids, ellipses, kites, and more—hidden among iconic fair attractions from the fun house to the Ferris wheel. Maybe the monster is judging the pies? Or perhaps he’s at the monster-truck rally? Youngsters will be so mesmerized by Steve Light’s masterful pen-and-ink illustrations, decorated with vivid splashes of color, they won’t even realize they’ve learned how to spot a nonagon while looking for a monster.
The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens, Henry Clark (April 14th, Little Brown)
Time-traveling POC kids in a story that uses the I-Ching? Of course I want to read it.
The first novel that explores–with dazzling wit and high adventure–the previously undiscovered, astonishing-yet-true connections between Morse Code and ancient Chinese I-Ching hexagrams!
This never-before-seen twist on time travel adventure explores the theme of accepting those who are different–and having the courage to join them. The moment Ambrose Brody steps into a fortune-teller’s tent, he is whisked into a quest that spans millennia with his best friend, an enigmatic carnival girl, and an unusual family heirloom that drops them into the middle of the nineteenth century!
The year 1852 is a dangerous time for three non-white children, and they must work together to dodge slave-catchers and save ancestors from certain death–all while figuring out how to get back to the future. Fortunately, they have a guide in the helpful hints embedded in an ancient Chinese text called the I-Ching, which they interpret using Morse Code. But how can a three-thousand-year-old book be sending messages into the future through a code developed in the 1830s? Find out in this mind-bending, time-bending adventure!
Wonder at the Edge of the World, Nicole Helget (April 14th, Little Brown)
19th century girl scientist! Okay, scientist wannabe, but still. Yes to this.
In this captivating quest that spans the globe, a young girl must challenge her assumptions about family, slavery, and friendship as she fights to save her father’s legacy…and to begin creating her own.
Hallelujah Wonder wants to become one of the first female scientists of the nineteenth century. Her father was a scientist and explorer, but his life was cruelly cut short by an evil Navy captain who coveted his cache of artifacts. Hallelujah feels a great responsibility to protect the objects–particularly a mesmerizing (and dangerous) one called the Medicine Head–before the captain can succeed. Now she and her best friend, a slave boy about to be sold, must set out on a sweeping adventure by land and by sea to the only place where no one will ever be able to find the cursed talisman: the forbidding land of Antarctica.
The Water and the Wild, K.E. Ormsbee & Elsa Mora (illust.) (April 14th, Chronicle Books)
What first drew me to this is the cover. And then the early reviews all made me want to read it more.
For as long as Lottie Fiske can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.
And then a door opens in the apple tree.
Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.
Things We Know by Heart, Jessi Kirby (April 21st, HarperTeen)
Another one of those that got me because of the cover. Usually I don’t like stories about organ donor receivers connecting with people that used to know the donor, but this one, I’d like to give a try.
When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.
After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.
Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir (April 28th, Razorbill)
This, I’ve read. And I really recommend. Will be posting the review up here one of these days.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
The synopsis reminds me a tiny bit of a Sandman short story called “Stronger Than Desire”. It’s not really the same, but it reminds me of it, and that makes me want to read this.
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.
Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures, Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce
(April 28th, Scholastic)
Maggie Stiefvater! Writing a middle grade book! With griffins on the cover! Who cares what else it’s about, I’m sold.
From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.
Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.
Aaaand that concludes the list of April titles I am happy about. What titles are you looking forward to?