Need a break from doom scrolling? Here are nine sharp, funny MG and YA 2022 debut novels to get you laughing again!
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum
Wednesday Books - 4.12.22
This May End Badly follows Doe, a senior at an all-girls boarding school whose life has revolved around a century-long rivalry with the boy’s school across the street. When she embarks on a fake-dating scheme to get under her worst enemy’s skin, she must contend with the lies she’s told, as well as the future of her beloved school.
Freddie vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua
Clarion Books - 5.3.22
In this thrilling and hilarious middle grade adventure, a young Filipino-American boy must team up with his ancestor to break the curse that’s haunted their family for generations. . . or be trapped in an amulet forever.
The Loophole by Naz Kutub
Bloomsbury - 6.7.22
Pitched as a speculative Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a focus on identity, found family, and friendship, the novel follows a queer Indian-Muslim boy travelling the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes.
Boys I Know by Anna Gracia
Peachtree Publishing/Peachtree Teen - 7.5.22
June Chu is the “just good enough” girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother’s unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.
While June’s mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister’s footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn’t see the point in trying too hard if she’s destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys “official.” But after her methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who’s not allergic to the word “girlfriend.”
But as the line blurs between sex and love, and the pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she’s going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.
Moth Girl, Queen of the Universe by Lindsay S. Zrull
Flux - 7.19.22
Bounced between foster homes since the age of seven, Jessica knows better than to set down roots. Most of the kids at her new Michigan high school think she’s a witch anyway (because, you know, goth). The only one who gives her the time of day is geeky Oscar, who wants to recruit her fashion skills for his amateur cosplay group. But Jess is fine showing off her looks to her Insta fans—until a woman claiming to be her biological mother barges into her DMs.
There’s only one problem: Jess can’t reunite with her mom in New York City without a bunch of paperwork and she worries her social worker will never approve the trip. That’s when she remembers Oscar’s cosplay group, who are aiming for that big convention in New York. So Jess joins Oscar’s team—with every intention of using them to get to her mom. But her plan gets complicated when she discovers that, actually, cosplay is pretty great, and so is having friends. And Oscar, who Jess thought was just a shy nerd, can be as gallant and charming as the heroes he pretends to be. As the big convention draws near, Jess will have to decide whether or not chasing a dream of “family” is worth risking the family she’s built for herself.
Aces Wild by Amanda DeWitt
Peachtree Teen - 9.6.22
Some people join chess club, some people play football. Jack Shannon runs a secret blackjack ring in his private school’s basement. What else is the son of a Las Vegas casino mogul supposed to do?
Everything starts falling apart when Jack’s mom is arrested for their family’s ties to organized crime. His sister Beth thinks this is the Shannon family’s chance to finally go straight, but Jack knows that something’s not right. His mom was sold out, and he knows by who. Peter Carlevaro: rival casino owner and jilted lover. Gross.
Jack hatches a plan to find out what Carlevaro’s holding over his mom’s head, but he can’t do it alone. He recruits his closest friends—the asexual support group he met through fandom forums. Now all he has to do is infiltrate a high-stakes gambling club and dodge dark family secrets, while hopelessly navigating what it means to be in love while asexual. Easy, right?
The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum
Penguin Random House/Philomel - 9.13.22
Hoodie Rosen has recently moved to the town of Tregaron, where his Orthodox Jewish community is looking to build a new home. But the people who live there aren’t that thrilled about it, and are blocking them at every turn. Hoodie isn’t so bothered, though. He’s got studies to avoid, basketball to play, and a supermarket full of delicious kosher snacks to eat.
But when he meets–and falls for–Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary, he runs into a couple of problems. First, as a good yeshiva boy, he’s not supposed to talk to girls, especially girls who aren’t Jewish. And second, Anna-Marie’s mother happens to be Tregaron’s mayor and the leader of the effort to stop Hoodie’s community from living in her town.
Shad Hadid and the Alchemist of Alexandria by George Jreije
HarperCollins - 10.4.22
Twelve-year-old Shad Hadid is an aspiring baker who’s life is uprooted when he discovers he’s descended from a long line of alchemists and sent to the mysterious Alexandria Academy. Only, his arrival at the school awakens a nefarious force long lurking in the shadows, and he’ll soon learn he holds the key to either stopping—or unleashing—their evil plot.
Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer
Wednesday Books - 11.1.22
Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win features a bitingly funny, Mindy Kaling-esque, Iranian American heroine, who makes messy, complicated choices that snowball into an avalanche when an international incident intrudes on her high school election, forcing her to reckon with her identity in a way she never has before.
List curated by: Susan Azim Boyer
Posted to the blog by: Ren Hutchings