Start your spring reading with this list of March 2022 debuts for all ages.
We start out with eight wonderful Middle Grade reads:
Katryn Bury’s DREW LECLAIR GETS A CLUE from Harper Collins/Clarion on 3/1/22
In this modern take on Harriet the Spy, 12-year-old Drew uses her true crime expertise to catch the cyberbully in her school—only to discover that family, friendship, and identity are the hardest mysteries to solve.
Erika Lewis’s KELCIE MURPHY AND THE ACADEMY FOR THE UNBREAKABLE ARTS from Macmillan/Starscape/Tor Teen on 3/1/2022
Brimming with Celtic mythology, action, and danger, Erika Lewis's Kelcie Murphy and The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts introduces readers to a new kind of magical school and a warrior who must choose with which side of an epic battle her destiny will lie.
Dee Hahn’s THE GRAVE THIEF from Tundra Books/Penguin Random House on 3/1/2022
A twelve-year-old grave thief gets caught up in a royal heist in this compelling middle-grade fantasy in the vein of Kelley Armstrong's A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying.
Lin Thompson’s THE BEST LIARS IN RIVERVIEW from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 3/8/2022
In the woods of a small Kentucky town, Aubrey sets off on a journey about growing up, self-discovery, and acceptance while searching for their missing best friend—perfect for fans of King and the Dragonflies and Three Times Lucky.
Alexis Castellanos’s ISLA TO ISLAND from Atheneum Books for Young Readers on 3/15/2022
This stunning wordless graphic novel follows a young girl in the 1960s who immigrates from Cuba to the United States and must redefine what home means to her.
Monica Roe’s AIR from FSG/Macmillan on 3/15/2022
An action-packed, empowering middle grade novel about a girl who has to speak up when her wheelchair motocross dreams get turned upside down.
Andy Sagar’s YESTERDAY CRUMB AND THE STORM IN A TEACUP from Hachette Children's Group on 3/17/2022
The first in a new fantasy series for readers aged 8-12, about a girl with fox ears who has never fitted in. With adventure and magic in every teacup, this is perfect for fans of The Strangeworlds Travel Agency and Starfell.
Sonja Thomas’s SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin by 3/22/2022
From the Desk of Zoe Washington meets Ways to Make Sunshine in this heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat.
Follow up with 17 great Young Adult books:
Naomi Gibson’s EVERY LINE OF YOU from Scholastic on 3/1/2022
In the face of overwhelming grief and bullying, tech-savvy Lydia pours all of herself into creating the perfect AI, the perfect boyfriend-but will Henry turn out to be perfect, or a creation of her cruelest self?
Joy L. Smith’s TURNING from Simon & Schuster/Denene Millner Books on 3/1/2022
In this raw, searingly honest debut young adult novel, a former aspiring ballerina must confront her past in order to move forward from a devastating fall that leaves her without the use of her legs.
Charles A. Bush’s EVERY VARIABLE OF US from Flux Books on 3/1/2022
After Philly teenager Alexis Duncan is injured in a gang shooting, her dreams of a college scholarship and pro basketball career vanish in an instant. To avoid becoming another Black teen trapped in her poverty-stricken neighborhood, she shifts her focus to the school's STEM team, but just as her future starts to reform, Alexis’s own doubts and old loyalties pull her back into harm’s way.
Aneesa Marufu’s THE BALLOON THIEF from Chicken House on 3/3/2022
A commercial, thrilling and beautifully uplifting fantasy adventure, The Balloon Thief follows Khadija and Jacob’s battle for friendship in a society plagued by racism and misogyny. For fans of Noughts & Crosses and We Hunt the Flame.
Tamara Girardi’s GRIDIRON GIRL from Wise Wolf Books on 3/3/2022
Fun friendships, high school romance, and intense competition are at the heart of book one in Tamara Girardi’s swoon-worthy, young-adult contemporary series.
Lillie Lainoff’s ONE FOR ALL from FSG (Macmillan) on 3/8/2022
One for All is an OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.
Laura Gao’s MESSY ROOTS: GRAPHIC MEMOIR OF A WUHANESE-AMERICAN from HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray on 3/8/2022
A TOUR DE FORCE of graphic memoir storytelling about growing up a queer Chinese-American immigrant in Texas. In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as a girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter.
Deborah Falaye’s BLOOD SCION form HarperCollins / HarperTeen on 3/8/2022
A young girl with forbidden powers must free her people from oppression in this richly layered epic fantasy from debut author Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology and perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes.
Erik J. Brown’s ALL THAT'S LEFT IN THE WORLD from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray on 3/8/2022
What If It's Us meets Life as We Knew It in this postapocalyptic, queer YA adventure romance from debut author Erik J. Brown. Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Alex London.
Heather Kamins’s THE MOTH GIRL from Putnam/PRH on 3/8/2022
From debut author Heather Kamins comes a beautiful and evocative story about one girl’s journey of choosing who she wants to be--in a life she never planned for.
JC Peterson’s BEING MARY BENNET from HarperTeen on 3/15/2022
With a hilariously sharp voice, a sweet and fulfilling romance that features a meet-cute in an animal shelter, and a big family that revels in causing big problems, this charming comedy of errors about a girl who resolves to become the main character of her own story (at any and all costs), is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Becky Albertalli…and Jane Austen, of course.
Humayun Khan’s WRONG SIDE OF THE COURT from Penguin Teen on 3/15/2022
Fifteen-year-old Fawad has big dreams about being the world's first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. A first-generation Pakistani coming-of-age story for fans of David Yoon and Ben Philippe.
Ann Fraistat’s WHAT WE HARVEST from Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House on 3/15/2022
For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that's slowly claiming everyone she loves.
Skye Quinlan’s FORWARD MARCH from Page Street Kids on 3/22/2022
With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made her a gay fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.
Stacy Stokes’s REMEMBER ME GONE from Penguin Random House / Viking on 3/22/2022
Lucy Miller’s family has the unique ability to remove people’s painful memories—but Lucy isn’t prepared for truths she will uncover in this twisty speculative thriller, perfect for fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Neal Shusterman.
Judy I. Lin’s A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON from Feiwel & Friends on 3/29/2022
When Ning accidentally poisons her mother, she enters a competition to save her sister from the same fate. But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Kayla Cottingham’s MY DEAREST DARKEST from Sourcebooks Fire on 3/29/2022
Wilder Girls meets The Craft in this Sapphic horror debut that asks: what price would you be willing to pay to achieve your deepest desires?
And lastly, we have 15 fantastic Adult books:
Liz Scheier’s NEVER SIMPLE from Henry Holt/Macmillan on 3/1/2022
Liz Scheier’s darkly funny and touching memoir—with shades of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Mira Bartók’s The Memory Palace—of growing up in ’90s Manhattan with a brilliant, mendacious single mother.
Jen Comfort’s THE ASTRONAUT AND THE STAR from Montlake on 3/1/2022
An out-of-this-world romantic comedy featuring an astronaut tasked with training a Hollywood actor for a space flick.
Mazey Eddings’s A BRUSH WITH LOVE from St. Martin's Griffin on 3/1/2022
Mazey Eddings’ debut A Brush with Love explores the nuances of falling in love while having a mental illness. Balancing hilariously awkward hijinks with moments of emotional vulnerability, ABWL portrays the absurdity of modern dating, the reality of sexism in medical careers, and how love can undo even the most carefully laid plans.
Lizzie Pook’s MOONLIGHT AND THE PEARLER'S DAUGHTER from Pan Macmillan / Mantle on 3/3/2022
A gloriously rich and wonderfully assured debut, Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter is set in a mesmerizing yet unforgiving land, where both profit and peril lie deep beneath the ocean's surface.
Khan Wong’s THE CIRCUS INFINITE from Angry Robot Books on 3/8/2022
A circus takes down a crime-boss on the galaxy’s infamous pleasure moon in this found-family tale.
Maggie Smith’s TRUTH AND OTHER LIES from Ten16 Press on 3/8/2022
Readers who love Jodi Picoult’s topical plot twists and Liane Moriarty’s character-driven novels will devour this fast-paced tale of three women whose lives converge as one fights a devastating accusation, another campaigns for a contested seat in Congress, and one, the young reporter with ties to both, navigates the tricky line between secrets and lies.
Allegra Hyde’s ELEUTHERIA from Vintage on 3/8/2022
~A story of idealism, activism, and systemic corruption, centered on a naïve young woman’s quest for agency in a world ravaged by climate change.~
Stephanie Vanderslice’s THE LOST SON from Regal House Publishing on 3/14/2022
How does a mother survive the unsurvivable? After her husband and the baby’s nurse kidnap her infant son, Nicholas, and take him back to their native Germany, Julia Kruse must completely rebuild her life in America. The Lost Son chronicles Julia’s journey.
Jinny Alexander’s DEAR ISOBEL from Creative James Media on 3/15/2022
Two marriages. A bucket full of dreams and a pile of broken hearts. A raw, soul-baring, relatable depiction of the fallout and recovery from an affair and its effect on both families, told from one woman's bias.
Caitlin Barasch’s A NOVEL OBSESSION from Dutton/PRH on 3/15/2022
A wry and bold debut novel, which is at once an irresistible catastrophe waiting to happen and an unflinching exploration of how we narrate the stories of our lives, as an aspiring novelist finds herself stalking—and writing about—her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.
Joan Long’s THE FINALIST from Level Best Books on 3/15/2022
After a single mom enters a competition to complete a famous author's novel, she finds herself stranded on an island with a killer.
Cara Bertoia’s CASINO QUEEN from Wild Rose Press on 3/16/2022
Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.
Becca Day’s THE GIRL BEYOND THE GATE from Embla/Bonnier Books on 3/22/2022
One child. Two women fighting to protect her. Sometimes being right can be deadly. When a murder shocks The Grove, Jodie vows to do everything in her power to save her daughter Lacey from her mother. But as more secrets emerge from Norah's shadowy past, Jodie is faced with the unthinkable - Norah's not so different to herself, and neither woman is innocent.
Ally Wilkes’s ALL THE WHITE SPACES from Atria / Emily Bestler Books on 3/29/2022
Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’s The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.
Francesca May’s WILD & WICKED THINGS from Hachette/Orbit on 3/29/2022
In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.
Get ready to be transported from the late 1700s through the very early 1900s with these seven heavenly pre-20th Century historical novels by 2022 debut authors sure to captivate every reader!
Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter by Lizzie Pook
Pan Macmillan/Mantle - 3.3.22
It is 1886 and the Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them in Bannin Bay beyond stories of shimmering pearls and shells the size of soup plates – the very things her father has promised will make their fortune. Ten years later, as the pearling ships return after months at sea, Eliza waits impatiently for her father to return with them. When his lugger finally arrives however, Charles Brightwell, master pearler, is declared missing. Whispers from the townsfolk point to mutiny or murder, but Eliza knows her father and, convinced there is more to the story, sets out to uncover the truth.
Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee
Lerner Publishing/Carolrhoda Lab 4.5.22
In 1867, fifteen year old Tam Ling Fan disguises herself as a boy and journeys from China to America to work on the transcontinental railroad. She vows to earn the money so desperately needed to save her father, but encounters far more danger than she ever anticipated. How far will she go to achieve her goal?
Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary by Laura Stanfill
Lanternfish Press - 4.19.22
Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary is a nineteenth-century fable that will appeal to fans of Chocolat and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. In sunny Mireville, France, Henri Blanchard grows up in his legendary father Georges’s shadow. Georges is a master serinette craftsman, building high-pitched barrel organs to train songbirds to sing human melodies—and village lore credits him with chasing off the clouds. Henri, alas, prefers making bobbin lace with the local girls to the workshop he’s supposed to inherit. But when he discovers a secret trove of letters that reveal a prodigy half-brother in America, his efforts to impress his father become increasingly outlandish—and ultimately dangerous. Populated with strong women and one odd young man who doesn’t fit into the box society has chosen for him, Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary is about finding your place in the world—even if it’s all the way across the ocean.
Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt by Kathleen Wilford
The Little Press/Blue Bronco Books - 9.1.22
Twelve-year-old Cabby Potts is an outdoors kind of girl with an "intemperate tongue," as her Ma puts it. When she's forced to work as a housemaid at grand Ashford Manor, it seems like a miserable fate. Desperate to get away, and equally desperate to save her family's struggling homestead, Cabby plays matchmaker between the young lord of Ashford Manor and her romantic older sister, Emmeline. If there are a few lies involved, well, it's for a good cause.
The Lioness of Punjab by Anita Jari Kharbanda
Yali Books - 9.17.22
It is the winter of 1705, and the tenth Guru of the Sikhs is under attack by the armies of the mighty Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Under siege and isolated, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s men are exhausted beyond measure, and forty soldiers decide to head home. Back in the villages of Punjab, these forty men are met by a fiery Sikh woman—a warrior who has been preparing all her life for this very moment—who leads the deserters back to the Guru. This is the story of that warrior, the fierce Mai Bhago, who chose the sword to symbolize her unwavering loyalty and devotion to her people and her faith.
The Second Death of Edit and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze
Sterling Children's - 10.4.22
A historical YA novel with a supernatural twist that follows a pair of runaway twins in the 1880s who take refuge with a traveling Spiritualist show after their father discovers their spirit medium abilities and threatens to commit them to an asylum. But when their fellow mediums begin disappearing, the twins must repair their broken bond in time to unveil a killer who will stop at nothing to cheat death.
Jaguars and Other Game by Brynn Barineau
Orange Blossom Publishing - 11.22.22
In the spirit of The Three Musketeers and Pirates of Caribbean (but with less misogyny and not only white people), Jaguars and Other Game is a historical fiction set in 1809 Rio de Janeiro. Three women are brought together on the hunt for a murderer after a friend is wrongly imprisoned for the crime. As they interrogate smugglers, dodge corrupt police, and crash a royal ball, the friends realize they've uncovered a plot that reaches the highest levels of the Portuguese monarchy. Jaguars is an adventure about found family and how far we'll go to save them from injustice. There's also a mad queen and some kick ass whip wielding.
Curator & blogger: Susan Azim Boyer
Curator & blogger: Susan Azim Boyer
The philosopher, Cher, once wondered, what would happen if she could turn back time? She would immerse herself in these absorbing historical novels by 2022 debut authors that span the 20th century through the 1990s (yes, the 90s are considered historical)!
THE TURNING POINTE by Vanessa L. Torres
Knopf Books For Young Readers - 2.22.22
When sixteen-year-old Rosa Dominguez pirouettes, she is poetry in pointe shoes. And as the daughter of a tyrant ballet Master, Rosa seems destined to become the star principal dancer of her studio. But Rosa would do anything for one hour in the dance studio upstairs where Prince, the Purple One himself, is in the house. A bold and emotionally gripping novel about a teenage Latinx girl finding freedom through dance and breaking expectations in 1980s Minnesota.
ONLY A MONSTER by Vanessa Len
HarperTeen - February 22, 2022
Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place. But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down in this tale of time travel, partially set in 1993.
THE CICADA TREE by Robert Gwaltney
Moonshine Cove Publishing 2.22.22
It’s the summer of 1956, and a brood of cicadas descends upon Providence, Georgia. It’s a natural event with supernatural repercussions, and unhinges the life of Analeise Newell, an eleven-year-old piano prodigy. Amidst this emergence, dark obsessions are stirred, uncanny gifts provoked, and secrets unearthed.
THE LOST SON by Stephanie Vanderslice
Regal House Publishing - 3.14.22
After her husband and the baby’s nurse kidnap her infant son, Nicholas, and take him back to their native Germany, Julia Kruse must completely rebuild her life in America. The Lost Son chronicles Julia’s journey from Depression-Era Queens, NY through World War II as she struggles to provide for herself and her older son, Johannes. Over the years her search for Nicholas is thwarted at every turn, until she falls in love with chauffeur Paul Burns, whose boss might have the political connections that will find her son and bring him home from the German front during the last days of the Third Reich, where Johannes is also fighting for the Allies.
ISLA TO ISLAND by Alexis Castellanos
Atheneum Books for Young Readers - 3.15.22
This stunning wordless graphic novel follows a young girl in the 1960s who immigrates from Cuba to the United States and must redefine what home means to her.
ALL THE WHITE SPACES by Ally Wilkes
Atria/Emily Bestler Books - 3.22.22
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self—and true gender—and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
OUR LITTLE WORLD by Karen Winn
Dutton/Penguin Random House - 5.3.22
July 1985. It’s a normal, sweltering New Jersey summer for soon-to-be seventh grader Bee Kocsis. Her thoughts center only on sunny days spent at Deer Chase Lake, evenings chasing fireflies around her cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids, and Max, the boy who just moved in across the street. That and the burgeoning worry that she’ll never be as special as her younger sister, Audrina, who seems to effortlessly dazzle wherever she goes. But when Max’s little sister, Sally, goes missing at the lake, Bee’s long-held illusion of stability is shattered in an instant.
THE BANGALORE DETECTIVES CLUB by Harini Nagendra
Pegasus Books - 5.3.22
The first in a charming, joyful cozy crime series set in 1920s Bangalore, featuring sari-wearing detective Kaveri and her husband Ramu. Perfect for fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. When clever, headstrong Kaveri moves to Bangalore to marry handsome young doctor Ramu, she's resigned herself to a quiet life. But that all changes the night of the party at the Century Club, where she escapes to the garden for some peace and quiet—and instead spots an uninvited guest in the shadows. Half an hour later, the party turns into a murder scene.
MOLLY AND THE MACHINE by Erik Jon Slangerup
Alladin/Simon & Schuster - 6.7.22
It’s the summer of 1983, and one by one, the kids of Far Flung Falls are disappearing. With sheer drop-offs at every turn, the woods behind Molly McQuirter’s house have always been a dangerous place—even before something big and metal started lurking in them. But when Molly’s little brother is snatched up before her eyes, she has no choice but to follow. Sure, Wally tends to ruin everything, and his finger practically lives up his nose, but she isn’t about to let him be abducted by some unknown enemy, especially since their mom ran off to Florida two years ago and their dad, who’s slowly morphing into a couch potato, won’t be any help. If Molly wants to protect the family she has left, Wally’s rescue is going to be up to her. So aided by a crew of unusually determined pets, Molly sets off on Pink Lightning—her tricked-out bicycle—on a chase through the hills of southern Ohio. Finding the kidnapper only creates more questions, however, and when the unlikely mastermind behind the abductions is uncovered, a new story begins to unfold—one of lost love, family bonds, and some seriously strange science.
GROUPIES by Sarah Priscus
William Morrow/HarperCollins 7.12.22
It’s 1977, and Faun Novak is in love with rock ‘n’ roll. After her mother’s death, Faun, a naïve college dropout, grabs her Polaroid and hops a Greyhound to Los Angeles. In the City of Angels, she reconnects with her charismatic childhood friend Josie, now an up-and-coming model and muse. To make their reunion even sweeter, Josie is now dating Cal Holiday, the frontman of the superstar rock band Holiday Sun, and Faun is positively mesmerized. Except it’s not just the band she can’t get enough of. It’s also the proud groupies who support them in myriad ways. Faun obsessively photographs every aspect of this dazzling new world, struggling to balance her artistic ambitions with the band’s expectations. But just as everything is going great and her boring, old life is falling away, Faun realizes just how blind she has been to the darkest corners of this glamorous musical dreamland as the summer heats up and everything spirals out of control . . .
THE PRINCE OF STEEL PIER by Stacy Nockowitz
Lerner/Kar-Ben - 8.1.22
The Atlantic City Boardwalk in the summer of 1975 is no place for a kid like 13-year-old Joey Goodman: anxious, fearful, prone to puking at any moment. On his way to a Boardwalk arcade, Joey confronts a group of unsavory men who have stolen his bag of prize tickets, demanding that they return his belongings. With this bold act, Joey impresses the so-called King of Steel Pier, kingpin Artie Bishop. As Joey enters Artie’s world on the Boardwalk, he finds a place to belong, to feel important. But running with Artie and his crew means questioning everything he sees and deceiving the people he loves most. And when Artie asks Joey for a very dangerous favor that puts his family’s lives at risk, Joey must learn where strength really comes from before it’s too late.
JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN by Susan Azim Boyer
Wednesday Books - 11.1.22
A bitingly funny, Mindy Kaling-esque, Iranian American heroine makes messy, complicated choices that snowball into an avalanche when the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis intrudes on her high school election, forcing her to reckon with her identity in a way she never has before.
UNCOMMON CHARM by Emily Bergslien & Kat Weaver
Neon Hemlock Press - 5.17.22
In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren’t beholden to their families’ unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.
It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air, so why not curl up with a sweet, swoony queer romance? Whether they're out now or releasing soon, these queer romances will keep you happy till Pride Month - and we'll have a whole 'nother list of queer romances for you to savor come June!
THE BONE SPINDLE by Leslie Vedder
Penguin/Razorbill - Now Available
A genderflipped Sleeping Beauty starring two girl partners: Fi, a bookish treasure hunter destined to wake the sleeping prince, and Shane, a queer ax-wielding mercenary falling for a mysterious witch. Traps, ruins, riddles, curses, a little bit of true love and a whole lot of snark!
LOVE AND OTHER DISASTERS by Anita Kelly
Hachette/Forever - Now Available
Dahlia Woodson's culinary dreams are coming true. Sure, her marriage ended in a hideous explosion of misery, and she’s quit her job for the gamble of a lifetime, but she's finally a contestant on the cooking show Chef's Special. Now all Dahlia has to do is not fall on her face more than once, make the best food of her life, and try not to get distracted by her hot, incredibly dishy competition... London Parker is fighting for more than just a cooking title. Not only did they just come out as nonbinary on national television, but this is an opportunity for London to raise some support—and a ton of cash—for the queer community. No pressure. Getting distracted by a tiny and adorable tornado like Dahlia could be disastrous. Still, somewhere among the flying fish tacos, rampant egos, and culinary chaos is something that looks a lot like deliciously spicy chemistry.
ICEBREAKERS by A.L. Graziadei
Macmillan/Henry Holt - Now Available
Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league's top draft spot. The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey's infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he's willing to risk for it.
FORWARD MARCH by Skye Quinlan
Page Street Kids - Now Available
“Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band―and her Republican father’s presidential campaign (which she’s not sure she even wants him to win). That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile. But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her. With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.
ALL THAT'S LEFT IN THE WORLD by Erik J. Brown
When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other? After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey. The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.
LOVE, HATE & CLICKBAIT by Liz Bowery
MIRA (Harlequin) 4/26/2022
Cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan is thriving, working on the governor of California’s presidential campaign. If only he didn’t have to deal with Clay Parker, the infuriatingly smug data analyst who gets under Thom’s skin like it’s his job. In the midst of one of their heated and very public arguments, a journalist snaps a photo, but the image makes it look like they’re kissing. As if that weren’t already worst-nightmare territory, the photo goes viral—and in a bid to secure the liberal vote, the governor asks them to lean into it. Hard. Thom knows all about damage control—he practically invented it. Ever the professional, he’ll grin and bear this challenge as he does all others. But as the loyal staffers push the boundaries of “giving the people what they want,” the animosity between them blooms into something deeper and far more dangerous: desire. Soon their fake relationship is hurtling toward something very real, which could derail the campaign and cost them both their jobs…and their hearts. https://www.22debuts.com/liz-bowery.html
CHEF'S KISS by TJ Alexander
S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler 5/3/2022
Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at TheDiscerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect loaf of sourdough and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life. To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray. Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).
NEVER BEEN KISSED by Timothy Janovsky
Sourcebooks Casablanca 5/3/22
Wren Roland has never been kissed, let alone been in love, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. He didn't expect a response from Derick Haverford, Wren’s #1 pre-coming-out-crush...but now that they’re working together at their hometown’s vintage drive-in theater, maybe that perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is finally within reach.
QUEERLY BELOVED by Susie Dumond
The Dial Press 5/3/2022
At her day job in a Christian bakery and with her conservative family, Amy plays the role of a straight, church-going young woman—exactly what’s expected in mid-2010s Tulsa, Oklahoma, the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” But at night, she tends bar at the only place in town that truly feels like home: Ruby Red’s, a lovably grungy queer bar with a group of regulars who have become her chosen family. Amy’s spent a lifetime learning how to walk this fine line, placing others before herself so effortlessly that she doesn’t even realize she’s lost touch with her own needs and desires. Still, everything seems fine, especially when Amy falls into a whirlwind romance with Charley, a charming newcomer to Tulsa. But then Amy is suddenly outed and subsequently fired from her bakery job. When a new friend begs her to fill in for one of the bridesmaids at her wedding—and offers to pay Amy more than she makes in a single night at Ruby Red’s—she can’t afford to turn it down. As her relationship with Charley heats up, this one-off opportunity turns into a full-time business, thanks to Amy’s baking talents, crafting skills, and expert ability to become whatever other people need her to be. When Amy’s precarious balancing act strains her relationships to a breaking point, she must decide what it looks like to be true to herself—and if she has the courage to try.
A LITTLE BIT OF COUNTRY by Brian D. Kennedy
Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 5/31/2022
Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar – a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs. Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World. Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet – and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything. Will Emmett and Luke be able get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song?
THE LESBIANA'S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL
by Sonora Reyes
Seventeen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers drawing attention for her killer eyeliner, not for being the new kid at a mostly white, very rich, Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she's gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend, she could use the fresh start. At Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don't fall in love. Granted, she's never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami. The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And talented. And confident. And cute. So cute. Yami isn't sure if she likes Bo or if she's just jealous of her unapologetic nature. Either way, she isn't ready to make the same mistake again. If word got to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection.
SPEECH AND DEBACLES by Heather DiAngelis
Finch Books 5/31/2022
Drama class is nothing like Taryn Platt’s favorite TV show—no one has broken out into song yet, and there isn’t nearly as much kissing. But when her Drama teacher recruits her for the school’s powerhouse Speech and Debate team, she can’t believe her luck: the guy catching her eye, Riker, is one of the team’s strongest competitors—and hopefully he got the hint she likes boys as well as girls. But when painful, amped-up cramps invade her pelvis, performing on demand and getting close to Riker become increasingly less feasible. Up until junior year, Riker Lucas had one life goal—break into the world of voice acting to perform videogame voiceovers. Then one look from the green-eyed new girl from Speech brings on a second goal—getting himself over the hurdle of actually talking to her. The task proves impossible when a nagging inner voice constantly reminds him how worthless he is, how he doesn’t stand a chance. As Riker and Taryn float closer together and then farther apart, they both must work to find solutions for coping—or they’ll miss out on each other as well as their performance goals.
Curator: Liz Bowry
Blogger: Susan Azim Boyer
Curator: Mia Tsai
Blogger: Susan Azim Boyer
Looking for Black debut authors in 2022? The first of four lists in our series highlights ten debut middle grade authors for the year.
CAMERON BATTLE AND THE HIDDEN KINGDOMS
by Dr. Jamar Perry
February 1, 2022, Bloomsbury Children's Books
As the true Descendant, I command to open
The door to Chidani; it shall be broken/
Magic awaits those who seek the queen's peace
And all the suffering you feel will cease/
Those who open the histories will hear a sound
What was lost has finally been found.
Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron's only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago.
Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen's sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need?
Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, this adventurous middle-grade fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Tristan Strong, celebrates the triumphs and challenges of a boy finding his truth path to greatness.
A COMB OF WISHES by Lisa Stringfellow
February 8, 2022, Quill Tree Books
Sure enough, the sea woman will come for what’s hers. Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the beaches of St. Rita. But when she discovers a different kind of treasure, she accidentally summons an actual mermaid—the wrathful Ophidia. Ophidia makes Kela a bargain: her ancient comb, in exchange for a wish. And though Kela knows that what she wants most is her mother back, a wish that big will exact a dangerous price… Set against the backdrop of Caribbean culture and folklore, Lisa Stringfellow’s mesmerizing middle grade debut tells a story of impossible wishes and magic based in the deepest love.
JUST RIGHT JILLIAN by Nicole D. Collier
February 15, 2022, Clarion Books / Versify
Fifth grader Jillian longs to wear bright colors in a school of neutral tones. To run and flip upside down while everyone else whispers and gossips. But no matter how hard she tries to be herself, shyness keeps her true brilliance hidden away. Even if it means getting the wrong glasses or losing an easy contest, Jillian keeps her mouth shut. After a bully tells her she can never be a winner, Jillian gets fed up. She determines to prove, not only that she’s smart, but brave, too. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done. Jillian has less than a month to overcome a lifetime of shyness and summon the courage to fight for herself.
SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE
by Sonja Thomas
March 22, 2022, Simon and Schuster / Aladdin
From the Desk of Zoe Washington meets Ways to Make Sunshine in this heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat. Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas just moved a billion and one miles away from Florida to Washington, DC. Her dad is job searching and he’s been super down lately. And her know-it-all nemesis who’s kept Mira in second place at the school science fair four years running keeps showing up too many times to count. Things go from bleak to disastrous, when the vet confirms her diagnosis that her cat, Sir Fig Newton, has the “silent cat killer” diabetes. When Mira’s parents tell her they can’t afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the money needed within a month. Armed with ingenuity, determination, and one surprising ally, can Mira save her best four-legged friend before it’s too late? https://www.22debuts.com/sonja-thomas.html
FIBBED by Elizabeth Agyemang
June 7, 2022, Razorbill
Everyone says that the wild stories Nana tells are big fibs. But she always tells the truth, as ridiculous as it sounds to hear about the troupe of circus squirrels stealing her teacher’s toupee. When another outlandish explanation lands her in hot water again, her parents announce that Nana will be spending the summer with her grandmother in Ghana. She isn’t happy to be missing the summer camp she’s looked forward to all year, or to be living with family that she barely knows, in a country where she can’t really speak the native language. But all her worries get a whole lot bigger—literally—when she comes face-to-face with Ananse, the trickster spider of legend. Nana soon discovers that the forest around the village is a place of magic watched over by Ananse. But a group of greedy contractors are draining the magic from the land, intent on selling the wishes for their own gain. Nana must join forces with her cousin Tiwaa, new friend Akwesi, and Ananse himself to save the magic from those who are out to steal it before the magic—and the forest—are gone for good. https://www.22debuts.com/elizabeth-Agyemang.html
ONYEKA AND THE ACADEMY OF THE SUN by Tọlá Okogwu
June 9, 2022, Simon and Schuster Children's UK
Black Panther meets Percy Jackson in this action-packed and empowering middle-grade superhero series about a British-Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers. I close my eyes, trying to push the power bubbling in me back down . . . Hairbands snap as my hair shoots out like superfine arrows, tearing through everything in its path. Onyeka has a lot of hair – the kind that makes strangers stop in the street. She’s always felt insecure about her vibrant curls, until she makes an important discovery: she can control her hair with her mind! Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari – children with superpowers – are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the Academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves caught up in an epic battle . . . one that puts the future of all Solari at risk.
SADÉ AND HER SHADOW BEASTS by Rachel Faturoti
July 7, 2022, Hodder Children's Books UK
Twelve-year-old Sadé has been escaping to an imaginary world ever since her mum passed away - with its candy-floss lilac sky, she goes on endless adventures atop her purple-winged bird, Nix. But soon she discovers that frightening shadow beasts live here too and they are seeping into the real world. Luckily, when her sister signs her up to an anonymous grief counselling group, Sadé finds her anxiety gets better. But then she's asked to perform spoken word in the talent show. The beasts won't let her get on stage: Tiger appears with her long sharp claws, Lion with his piercing blue eyes, and Fox stands on his giant hind legs. Will Sadé find the courage to say what she needs to - can she banish the shadow beasts for good?
MIA AND THE LIGHTCASTERS by Janelle McCurdy
August 4, 2022, Faber & Faber
Twelve-year old Mia has always dreamed of being an umbra tamer. Like many other cities, Nubis has been plunged into Darkness by the shadowy Reaper King - a figure the children of Nubis only know in their nightmares, and through horrible rhymes warning them to stay safely inside the city walls. When the Reaper King's minions capture her parents and take over the city, Mia, her friends and her little brother must travel across the Nightmare Plains to reach Stella, the City of Light. But getting there isn't going to be easy. Mia must learn to harness her umbra taming abilities if she stands any chance of confronting the king and rescuing her parents. If she can't, she'll lose her soul, and her family, to the Darkness forever.
RUBY FINLEY VS. THE INTERSTELLAR INVASION
by K. Tempest Bradford
September 27, 2022, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Eleven-year-old Ruby is a Black girl who loves studying insects and would do just about anything to be an entomologist, much to the grossed-out dismay of her Gramma. Ruby knows everything there is to know about insects so when she finds the weirdest bug she’s ever seen in her front yard, she makes sure no one is looking and captures it for further study. But then Ruby realizes that the creature isn't just a regular bug. And it has promptly burned a hole through her window and disappeared. Soon, random things around the neighborhood go missing, and no one's heard from the old lady down the street for a week. Ruby and her friends will have to recover the strange bug before the feds do. Ruby is the science hero we’ve all been waiting for!
FUTURELAND by HD Hunter
Release date 2022 TBA, Random House
In the story, pitched as Black Panther meets Westworld by way of Artemis Fowl, the 12-year-old son of the famous creators of the traveling theme park phenomenon Futureland must stop an unknown enemy from stealing their cutting-edge technology and using it for sinister purposes, all while attending public school for the first time.