15 New Novels About Family Secrets
All families are complicated, but some are more complicated than others. And some have witches, secret agents, and aliens in their ranks. Here’s a selection of 15 new #22Debuts about complex families and the secrets they keep.
THE TURNING POINTE by Vanessa Torres (Now Available from Knopf Books for Young Readers)
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. After her father announces their upcoming auditions for a concert with Prince, Rosa is more determined than ever to succeed. Then Nikki--the cross-dressing, funky boy who works in the dance shop--leaps into her life. Weighed down by family expectations, Rosa is at a crossroads, desperate to escape so she can show everyone what she can do when freed of her pointe shoes. Now is her chance to break away from a life in tulle, grooving to that unmistakable Minneapolis sound reverberating through every bone in her body.
THE HITMAN’S DAUGHTER by Carolyne Topdjian (Now Available from Agora/Polis Books)
The Château du Ciel was once the destination for the rich and famous to play, drink and ski—complete with a luxurious railway to shuttle those desiring extra privacy. Now, however, the guests are few and far between. The New Year's Eve party was supposed to hoist the rundown hotel back to its former status, until a massive blizzard hits, trapping the guests who've come to celebrate the grand hotel's last hurrah. The circumstances might even be romantic, if the Château wasn't reputed to be haunted. When hotel employee Mave Michael finds the resident artist dead, and shortly thereafter security finds Mave alone with the body, the reputation that Mave has fought long and hard to outrun comes back to haunt her: Her father is a notorious hitman serving multiple-life sentences in prison. She has changed her name and location dozens of times, but he somehow manages to track her down—even sending her a postcard on the eve of her birthday, January 1st. She's the perfect choice to frame for murder, and now the number one suspect. Mave can no longer deny the lessons in survival her father taught her, or her uncanny sixth-sense in “finding” lost objects. To save herself, she not only has to stop running from her own past, she must unearth the history of the hotel, its elite guests and buried secrets—one deadly sin at a time.
REMEMBER ME GONE by Stacy Stokes (Now Available from PRH/Viking)
At The Memory House, Lucy’s father can erase folks’ heartache and tragic memories. Lucy can’t wait to learn the family trade and help alleviate others’ pain. But everything is not as it seems. Lucy practices memory-taking on her dad, his memory won’t come loose, and in the bit that Lucy sees, there’s a flash of Mama on the day she died, tinged red with guilt. Then Lucy wakes up the next morning with a bruised knee, a pocketful of desert sand, and no memory of what happened. She has no choice but to listen to Marco Warman—a local boy she’s always wondered about who seems to know more than he should. As Lucy and Marco realize there are gaps in their own memories, they team up to fill in the missing pieces—to figure out what’s really going on in their town, and to uncover their own stolen history along the way. But as the mysteries pile up one thing becomes certain: there are some secrets in Tumble Tree people will do anything to keep.
SINGING LESSONS FOR THE STYLISH CANARY by Laura Stanfill (4/19/2022 at Lanternfish Press)
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.
JORDIE AND JOEY FELL FROM THE SKY by Judi Lauren (Now available from Jollyfish Press)
Twelve-year-old Jordie knows he’s descended from aliens. Not only were he and his twin brother, Joey, found abandoned in a field full of crop circles when they were babies, but they also can’t seem to fit in anywhere, least of all the foster homes they’re constantly moved in and out of. When Jordie and Joey are kicked out of their current home and faced with the possibility of being split up for the first time, they set off to find their birth parents. From Arizona to Roswell to Area 51 in the Nevada desert, the twins begin a search for where they truly belong. But Jordie’s about to discover that family isn’t always about the ones who bring you into the world, but the ones who help you survive.
THE MONSTERS CLUB by Lotté Jean Elliott (Now available from Northodox Press)
A model student at an exclusive private school, Junie Han is popular, bright and destined for Oxford University. But unbeknownst to her wealthy friends and family, Junie is also a gifted hacker, and is using her talents to make money as a means of escaping the life they have planned for her. As long as she can maintain her image of perfection, nothing will stop her. Whilst exploring the dark web, Junie and her fellow hacker, Yamazaki, discover a site called the Monsters Club, a place where murderers post pictures of their victims. After investigating the site, Yamazaki disappears. And Junie begins to receive alarming messages from an anonymous stranger... As Junie's two lives begin to unravel, she finds herself cracking under the pressure of keeping her secrets and her safety. Will she, or someone she loves, become the next victim posted on the Monsters Club's website?
FREDDIE VS. THE FAMILY CURSE by Tracy Badua (5/3/2022 at Clarion)
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.
OUR LITTLE WORLD by Karen Winn (5/3/2022 at Dutton/PRH)
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. As the families in her close-knit community turn inward, suspicious, and protective, things in Bee’s own home become increasingly strained, most of all with Audrina, when a shameful secret surfaces. With everything changed, Bee and Audrina’s already-fraught sisterhood is pushed to the limit as they grow up—and apart—in the wake of an innocence lost too soon.
THE GRAVITY OF MISSING THINGS by Marisa Urgo (6/7/2022)
This #OwnVoices debut contemporary YA novel follows a bi teen who has to juggle first love and a family secret when her pilot mother's plane mysteriously vanishes, leaving her mother as the prime suspect.
THE LOST RYŪ by Emi Watanabe Cohen (6/7/2022 at Levine Querido)
In post-WWII Japan, Kohei must team up with his new neighbor, a mixed Jewish/Japanese girl, to search for the truth behind his family history and the disappearance of the giant dragons that fought in the war.
ONYEKA AND THE ACADEMY OF THE SUN by Tọlá Okogwu (6/9/2022 at S&S)
Onyeka has a lot of hair—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. Even with the support of her best friend, Cheyenne, who couldn’t care less what other people think, Onyeka can’t help but wish she could tame her vibrant curls. Then, Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair inexplicably takes on a life of its own, pulling Cheyenne from the water. Onyeka’s mother reveals the shocking truth: Onyeka’s has psychokinetic powers and is a Solari, one of a secret group of mutants unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the Academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies.
HANA HSU AND THE GHOST CRAB NATION by Sylvia Liu (6/21/2022 at PRH/Razorbill)
If she can beat out half her classmates at Start-Up, a tech school for the city’s most talented twelve-year-olds, Hana Hsu will be meshed to the multiweb through a neural implant like her mom and sister. But the competition is fierce, and when her passion for tinkering with bots gets her mixed up with dangerous junkyard rebels, she knows her future in the program is at risk. Even scarier, she starts to notice that something’s not right at Start-Up—some of her friends are getting sick, and no matter what she does, her tech never seems to work right. With an ominous warning from her grandmother about being meshed, Hana begins to wonder if getting the implant early is really a good idea. Desperate to figure out what’s going on, Hana and her friends find themselves spying on one of the most powerful corporations in the country—and the answers about the mystery at Start-Up could be closer to home than Hana’s willing to accept. Will she be able to save her friends—and herself— from a conspiracy that threatens everything she knows?
LIA PARK AND THE MISSING JEWEL by Jenna Yoon (6/28/2022 at Aladdin/S&S)
Twelve-year-old Lia Park has spent her whole life dreaming of becoming a monster hunter with IMA, the secret organization where her parents work. There's only one problem: Lia doesn't have any magic. Or so she thinks. Turns out, Lia's parents have been keeping some pretty big secrets from her, including the nature of her true powers. When her family is kidnapped by an ancient diviner spirit, Lia and her friend Joon must follow a series mysterious clues to rescue them.
GOTH GIRL, QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE by Lindsay S. Zrull (7/19/2022 at Flux)
Jessica was claimed by the state when her bio mom’s mental illness made her unstable. But while their relationship is far from traditional, blood ties are hard to break. When a woman claiming to be Jess’ biological mother barges into her DMs, Jess wants to meet her. 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 her classmate 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.
IN THE SHADOW GARDEN by Liz Parker (11/13/2022 at Grand Central Publishing/Hachette)
In this debut novel by Liz Parker, three generations of witchy women who have the ability to make people forget their pain are coming to a reckoning with a rival family 20 years after their town forgot an entire summer.
Curated by: Emi Watanabe Cohen
Posted by: Damyanti Biswas
To celebrate Earth Day this Friday, here are twelve 2022 debut adult and YA novels that will immerse readers in nature.
SECOND STAR TO THE LEFT by Megan Van Dyke from City Owl Press on February 15, 2022
Tinker Bell lived her perfect life working on inventions in the natural paradise of the pixies’ homeland, until what was supposed to be a fun trip to the human world left her in dire straits. To save her cousin, she’s forced to do the unthinkable: sell her pixie dust—the hottest drug in Neverland—leaving her cursed and unable to return home. To find her way back, she must unite on a quest with the roguish Captain Hook, who is convinced she’s cursed him with her kiss. High-seas adventure meets enemies-to-lovers romance in Second Star to the Left, this escapist fairy tale retelling set in the world of Peter Pan.
"Van Dyke's action-packed debut puts a sexy, adult spin on Tinker Bell and Captain Hook. The steamy scenes, explosive battles, and adventurous treasure hunt make for a gripping tale." — Publishers Weekly
THE LAST FEATHER by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou from Flame Tree Press on July 19, 2022
In this action-packed portal fantasy, medical student Cassia awakens in a different realm, desperate to find the one person who knows how to save her dying sister. That person is her friend Lucas–a Reborn, born originally on earth, then restored into a new, magical life in the parallel world of Selene. The Reborn are stewards of the land, recouping their magic from the food they grow. Before she’s trapped there forever, Cassia must work with her new friends to break the curse threatening her sister and return to her own world.
FLORIDA WOMAN by Deb Rogers from Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins on July 5, 2022
In this twisty dark comedy, Florida Woman Jamie goes viral for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, and is given a shot at avoiding jail time by volunteering at Atlas, a sanctuary for rescued monkeys deep in untamed wilderness. Run by three mysterious women who quickly take Jamie under their proverbial wings, Atlas proves to be far more wild than it seems.
“Florida Woman is a razor-sharp portrait of a woman who believes she might be an agent of chaos, who cannot avoid disaster, and the steps she takes, in the strangest of settings, to find a way not only to survive the disaster, but to be transformed by it. Deb Rogers writes with such verve and honesty about all the ways we stumble through life, and, like all great storytellers, gives us something wondrous when we reach the end of the journey.” — Kevin Wilson, bestselling author of Nothing to See Here
DAUNTLESS by Elisa A. Bonnin from Macmillan / Swoon Reads on July 19, 2022
In this fast-paced fantasy inspired by the lush tropical forests of the Philippines, Seri lives in a treetop civilization where beasts prowl below, and valiant warriors keep them at bay. When stranger Tsana arrives wearing unusual clothes, speaking a different language, and communicating with the beasts, Seri begins to question the truths of the only world she’s ever known. Readers will love Seri and Tsana’s action-packed journey of self discovery, and their slow-burn sapphic romance.
"An epic fantasy mixed with heart-pounding action and a touch of romance, Dauntless will ensnare readers until the very last page. Elisa A. Bonnin’s rich world building and gorgeous prose will leave you tearing through chapters. The rich magic, thrilling action and jolting twists will leave you craving more!" ― Aiden Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of Cemetery Boys and Lost in the Never Woods
BEND TOWARD THE SUN by Jen Devon from St. Martin’s Griffin on August 9, 2022
Solitary botanist Rowan McKinnon is hired by the Brady family to tame their overgrown vineyard. Grieving physician Harry Brady is home on a leave of absence, hoping that his big family and rural sunshine will heal his heart. When Harry meets Rowan, he falls fast and hard, but she knows love is never what it seems, and her time at the vineyard is only temporary. Lush and vividly atmospheric, Bend Toward the Sun is a year-long love letter to nature, following Rowan and Harry as their relationship grows in tandem with the reawakening of the long-neglected vines.
“This is a book to be savored. Bend Toward the Sun is a lushly drawn portrait of two people with a magnetic, soul-deep connection, wrapped up in a gorgeous story of hope and healing. It’s the kind of romance that made me fall in love with the genre all over again―and I never wanted it to end. Consider me a Jen Devon fan for life.” — Rachel Lynn Solomon, bestselling author of Weather Girl
MONSTERS BORN AND MADE by Tanvi Berwah from Sourcebooks Fire on September 6, 2022
This South-Asian inspired fresh take on dystopian fantasy competition games follows Koral, a teenager whose marginalized family survives by capturing monstrous ocean creatures for a deadly chariot race tournament, the Glory Race. When her family’s financial situation becomes even worse, they can’t afford her chronically ill little sister’s medicine, so Koral makes the daring–and unprecedented–choice to cheat her way into the Glory Race–which is meant only for the ruling elite.
"Monsters Born and Made takes well-beloved YA tropes and turns them on their heads, creating an action-packed rallying cry against oppression and a riveting tale of one girl's desperation to survive no matter the odds." ― Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
THE NET BENEATH US by Carol Dunbar from Forge Books on September 13, 2022
Elsa Arnasson builds a life off-the-grid with her husband Silas, but it’s a life she was never fully prepared for. When Silas’s logging accident forces her to carry on alone with her two young children in their unfinished forest home, she must learn to rely on her own capabilities and the unexpected help she receives from her surroundings, namely, the trees. The Net Beneath Us immerses readers in a story of loss, self-reliance, and the wonder and harshness of Mother Nature.
“Containing wisdom as deeply rooted as a Wisconsin forest, The Net Beneath Us is an evocative and beautifully written meditation on grief and the lasting power of friendship. A story that reminds us that in difficult times, showing vulnerability can be the ultimate act of strength.” — Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised
DON’T LET IN THE COLD by Keely Parrack from Sourcebooks Fire on September 20, 2022
In the wintry remote wilderness of Lake Tahoe, new stepsisters Lottie and Jade are forced into a struggle for survival when, after the power at their cabin is knocked out by a solar flare, a boy claiming to be lost in the woods arrives at their door. Add an impending blizzard and strange men in a truck in their driveway, and it’s a recipe for a chilling, suspenseful read.
"Don’t Let in the Cold is a tense thriller that tightens the screws on every page. A worthy addition to the genre!" — Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and #murdertrending
CALLED TO THE DEEP by Desirée M Niccoli from City Owl Press in Fall 2022
Off the rugged coast of Maine, offshore fishing captain Killian Quinn rescues the mysterious Lorelei Roth, only survivor of a shipwreck, and offers her sanctuary away from the prying public. As Lorelei recovers at Killian’s idyllic seaside cottage, she is tormented by strange dreams, and at night, she sleepwalks into the ocean, gripped by a disturbing new hunger. The handsome captain she’s developing feelings for begins to look like a tasty snack in more ways than one.
THE SURVIVING SKY by Kritika H Rao from DAW/ Penguin Random House in Fall 2022
Set in floating colonies on a turbulent jungle planet, The Surviving Sky intertwines nature, technology, and arcane science in a speculative tale of human survival. Ahilya is married to Iravan, one of the revered mystics who manipulate the plant-based architecture where the last of humanity live. Though their marriage is tumultuous, when nature itself becomes increasingly volatile, Iravan and Ahilya must work together to save their marriage, their culture, and their entire civilization.
“The magic system is indeed unique and beautifully rendered, with clear rules and clearer mysteries, weaved intimately through both the physical world/city (jungle!! plants!) and the substrate of consciousness.” — Essa Hansen, author of The Graven Trilogy
TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE by Kelly Ohlert from Alcove on December 6, 2022
People-pleaser Trixie finds herself in a very unique predicament: she’s just rescued a chicken crossing the road in downtown Chicago–yes, really–and her landlord has adopted a no-tolerance policy after several of her past attempts at pet-smuggling. Bear likes his quiet life, but a “Roommate Wanted” ad posted by his meddling sisters drops Trixie (and her chicken) on his doorstep, and quiet is a thing of the past. When Bear learns of his mother’s impending retirement, he fears losing the floral shop that felt like home growing up. Fun-loving Trixie reminds him what joy feels like, but if he’s to follow his passion for flowers and take over the family business, he'll have to heal scars left from the bullies of his past. Him, her, and a chicken make for one crowded coop in this outrageous romantic comedy.
“To Get to the Other Side is a sweet and heartwarming debut. Bear and Trixie fill this grumpy-sunshine romance with quirky fun.” — Kelly Siskind, author of New Orleans Rush
ACCOLADES OF WOLVES by Toni Mobley from Fractured Mirror Publishing on June 7, 2022 (Tentative)
After a breakup and the death of her mother, Phoebe Wood is spirited away to Norway by her best friend to distract her from the pain. On a hike through the scenic fjords, the girls are separated, and after Phoebe awakens, she’s no longer in the world she knows. Before her is a sprawling Viking-esque city ruled by three kings, where a civil war is brewing. Claimed as the mate of the Wolf King, Phoebe conspires with a shaman to find a way home, but as she unravels the secrets of the new world, she begins to fall in love with her captor king. From the rainy, winding streets of Edinburgh to the picturesque fjords of Norway, from a city of caves to a city of trees, the vibrant world of Accolades of Wolves celebrates the connection of human societies and nature.
Curated by: Jen Devon
Posted by: Damyanti Biswas
We've compiled 10 AMAZING young adult books by Black authors debuting from January to June! From horror and contemporary to mystery and romance, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat. We can't wait to read them, what are you waiting for?!
AND WE RISE by Erica Martin Viking Childrens (2/01/22)
AND WE RISE is a powerful, impactful, eye-opening journey that explores through the Civil Rights Movement in 1950s-1960s America in spare and evocative verse, with historical photos interspersed throughout. The entire book is written in poetry. This is the only poetry book on the list. Also LOOK at this cover! It's BEAUTIFUL! All the different shades of black skin!
REQUIRED READING FOR THE DISENFRANCHISED FRESHMAN by Kristen R. Lee Random House Kids (2/01/22)
A striking debut novel about racism on elite college campuses. Fans of Dear White People will embrace this activist-centered contemporary novel about a college freshman grappling with the challenges of attending an elite university with a disturbing racist history--that may not be as distant as it seems. A black girl at an ivy league college, calling out the racism imbedded in its history. What more do we need?
YOU TRULY ASSUMED by Laila Sabreen Inkyard Press (2/08/22)
In this compelling and thought-provoking debut novel, after a terrorist attack rocks the country and anti-Islamic sentiment stirs, three Black Muslim girls create a space where they can shatter assumptions and share truths. I personally read and enjoyed this book.
DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE by Carolyn Tara O'Neil Macmillan (2/22/2022)
Daughters of a Dead Empire is a harrowing historical thriller about dangerous ideals, loyalty, and the price we pay for change. An imaginative retelling of the Anastasia story. We can never have enough Anastasia retellings!!
TURNING by Joy L Smith Simon and Schuster/Millner (3/01/22)
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. REPRESENTATION! We don't see a lot of black dancers (esp ballet) at the forefront.
BLOOD SCION by Deborah Falaye (3/08/2022)
Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, this deeply felt and emotionally charged debut from Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone that will utterly thrill and capture readers. The cover is GORGEOUS.
HUNT A KILLER: PERFECT SCORE by A.M. Ellis/Angelica Monai Scholastic (4/05/2022)
It’s time to HUNT A KILLER in this YA mystery series based on the bestselling subscription game.
LOVE RADIO by Ebony LaDelle Penguin Random House (5/31/2022)
Hitch meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this witty and romantic teen novel about a self-professed teen love doctor with a popular radio segment who believes he can get a girl who hates all things romance to fall in love with him in only three dates. This is at the top of my TBR!
DEEP IN PROVIDENCE by Riss M. Neilson Macmillan(5/31/22)
Three friends try and bring back another friend from the dead using magic. (BIPOC/LGBTQ REP!)
THE BLACK GIRLS LEFT STANDING by Juliana Goodman Release Feiwel & Friends (6/28/2022)
MYSTERY!!! MC tries to solve the mystery of her sister's murder (who was killed by a police officer) by teaming up with her sister's boyfriend.
Curated by: Charity Alyse
Posted by: Damyanti Biswas
Some stories are timeless for a reason. Here are some fresh takes on ancient stories, fascinating magic systems, and fantasy worlds inspired by the greatest legends of all time.
DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan
Now Available from Harper Voyager
An enthralling fantasy novel inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother sets her on a dangerous path and pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm. Check this book out for some magic and treachery in a vivid, Chinese mythology-inspired world!
A COMB OF WISHES by Lisa Stringfellow
Now Available from HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books
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…
Lisa Stringfellow’s mesmerizing MG novel is set against the backdrop of Caribbean culture and folklore, telling a story of impossible wishes and magic based in the deepest love.
A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON by Judy I. Lin
Now Available from Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it's her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu. When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom's greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. Not only does this book feature Chinese folklore, it also has a unique tea-based magic system!
BLOOD SCION by Deborah Falaye
3/8/2022 from HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods. Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within. Deborah Falaye’s emotionally charged YA fantasy is inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, and has been described as a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
KAIKEYI by Vaishnavi Patel
4/26/2022 from Hachette/Redhook
In the spirit of Circe, Ariadne, and The Witch's Heart, this stunning fantasy novel reimagines the life of Kaikeyi, the vilified queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana. It is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come. If you like retellings of iconic narratives through a feminist lens, this may be your next favorite read.
FREDDIE VS. THE FAMILY CURSE by Tracy Badua
5/3/2022 from Clarion
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. This heartfelt adventure story features Filipino folklore, mystical spirits, and complex family histories.
LIA PARK AND THE MISSING JEWEL by Jenna Yoon
5/3/2022 from Aladdin/S&S
When twelve-year-old Lia’s secret agent parents are kidnapped by an ancient diviner spirit, Lia and her friend Joon must follow a series mysterious clues to rescue them. Their journey takes them to Lia’s grandmother’s home in Korea, and eventually to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King. This fast-paced adventure features Korean folklore, magic, and Silla Dynasty art. Check out that awesome cover!
THE LOST RYŪ by Emi Watanabe Cohen
6/7/2022 from Levine Querido
In an alternate, dragon-filled version of post-war Japan, ten-year-old Kohei and his new Japanese/Jewish neighbor, Isolde, must embark on an journey to the mythical undersea palace of Ryūgū-jō. This book features Japanese ryū, Western dragons, and a couple of hatchlings that are a brand-new mix of both.
(Note from the curator: Yes, we have two #22debuts exploring East Asian dragon palace legends! I recommend checking out LIA PARK and THE LOST RYŪ to explore both the Korean and Japanese variations on this mythology.)
THE IMMORTAL PALACE by M.T. Khan
7/5/2022 from Little, Brown Books
Pakistani twelve-year-old Nura works as a mica miner to help her sweatshop worker mother. But when the mines collapse and her best friend is ruled dead, Nura digs deeper to find a portal world of jinn, and that the kids aren’t dead—they’ve been stolen. This beautiful MG fantasy novel is set in a rural Pakistani town and explores Pakistani culture, the cycle of child labor, and a glance into Islam.
RAVENFALL by Kalyn Josephson
8/30/2022 from Delacorte PRH
Thirteen-year-old Annabella Ballinkay has never been normal, even by her psychic family’s standards. Every generation uses their abilities to help run the Ravenfall Inn, a sprawling, magical B&B at the crossroads of the human world and the Otherworld. But it’s hard to contribute when your only power is foreseeing death. When fourteen-year-old Colin Pierce arrives at Ravenfall searching for his missing older brother and the supernatural creature who killed their parents, Anna jumps at the chance to help. But the mysteries tied to Colin go much deeper than either of them expects… This book features both Celtic and Jewish folklore, and is the equivalent of a cozy wool sweater on a chilly Halloween evening! A perfect spooky read for MG mystery lovers.
MARIKIT AND THE OCEAN OF STARS by Caris Avendaño Cruz
10/18/2022 from Farrar, Straus and Girroux
Inspired by Filipino folklore, the middle grade fantasy follows 11-year-old Marikit and her firefly companion as she sets off on her Diwata's Journey through the world of nature spirits, or Engkantos.
BITTER MEDICINE by Mia Tsai
Forthcoming 2023 from Tachyon Publications
Magical calligrapher Elle put her dreams on hold to hide her brother from their murderous family. But when her crush commissions her for a career-defining project, she must choose: risk her brother's life for a brush with fame, or walk away from the art— and the man— she loves.
This book's release date has been pushed to 2023, but I need it ASAP!! It's a xianxia-inspired contemporary fantasy with a calligraphy-based magic system. ICONIC.
Curated by: Emi Watanabe Cohen
Posted by: Damyanti Biswas
April brings us five wonderful middle grade reads.
Christina Matula's THE NOT-SO-UNIFORM LIFE OF HOLLY-MEI from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins on 4/5/2022
Packed with humor and heart, this debut middle grade series follows a girl finding her place in a brand-new world of private school and frenemies when her family moves to Hong Kong.
Lee Y. Miao's WEI TO GO! from Clear Fork Publishing on 4/5/2022
WEI TO GO! is a contemporary mystery about a twelve-year-old California girl who wants to help her dad’s threatened company. It features sibling rivalry, travel to Hong Kong, sports, and multicultural family dynamics.
Justyn Edwards' THE GREAT FOX ILLUSION from Walker Books (UK), Candlewick Press (US) on 4/7/2022
Secrets and illusions abound as a group of young magicians competes for the prize of a lifetime in this gripping adventure, the first in an enthralling new series from debut author Justyn Edwards.
Judi Lauren's JORDIE AND JOEY FELL FROM THE SKY from Jollyfish Press on 4/19/2022
Twin brothers Jordie and Joey have been in the foster care system since they were found abandoned in a crop circle as babies. Believing they crash landed there from a UFO, Jordie convinces Joey to follow him to the one place that might have answers about their origins, the center of extraterrestrial life: Area 51.
Karina Evans' GROW UP, TAHLIA WILKINS! from Little, Brown by 4/19/2022
Debut author Karina Evans gives modern-day readers their own version of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret with a fun and truthful romp about friendship, puberty, and growing up, in all its awkward glory.
Followed up by eight great young adult books.
Kaitlyn Hill's LOVE FROM SCRATCH from Delacorte/PRH on 4/5/2022
Rival interns with sizzling chemistry in and out of the kitchen? That’s a recipe for love. This delectable debut romantic comedy about two rival interns with the recipe for love is perfect for foodies, feminists, and fans of aspirational YA romance like LOVE & GELATO and AGAIN, BUT BETTER.
Betty G. Yee's GOLD MOUNTAIN from Lerner Publishing/Carolrhoda Lab on 4/5/2022
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?
Emily J. Taylor's HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE from Razorbill/PRH on 4/5/2022
Decadent and darkly enchanting, this lavish YA fantasy debut follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.
Kate Murray's WE WHO HUNT THE HOLLOW from Hardie Grant Children's Publishing on 4/6/2022
A firecracker urban fantasy about the youngest daughter of a family of women warriors, and the power she wishes she had …
Samantha Markum's THIS MAY END BADLY from Wednesday Books on 4/12/2022
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.
Lotté Jean Elliott's THE MONSTERS CLUB from Northodox Press on 4/21/2022
Whilst exploring the dark web, Junie and her fellow hacker, Yamazaki, discover a site called the Monsters Club, a place where murderers post pictures of their victims. After Yamazaki disappears, will Junie, or someone she loves, become the next victim?
Jennifer Wilson's SOMEDAY WE'LL FIND IT from HarperTeen on 4/26/2022
Raw and unvarnished, Jennifer Wilson’s debut about one girl’s messy, unglamorous, very real summer in central Illinois is perfect for fans of Emergency Contact and Far from the Tree. This unforgettable debut takes readers on a heartbreakingly real journey of self-worth, understanding, and finding the people who believe in you.
Debbie Schrack's SAVING SOPHIE from Fire and Ice in 4/26/2022
A seventeen year old boy falls in love with the sole survivor of a devastating car accident caused by his half-brother.
And sixteen amazing adult books!
Ashley Winstead's FOOL ME ONCE from Graydon House/HarperCollins on 4/5/2022
Second chances are for suckers. In this fierce and funny battle of the exes, Ashley Winstead's Fool Me Once explores the chaos of wanting something you used to have.
N.E. Davenport's THE BLOOD TRIALS from Harper Voyager on 4/5/2022
Blending fantasy and science fiction, N. E. Davenport’s fast-paced, action-packed debut kicks off a duology of loyalty and rebellion, in which a young Black woman must survive deadly trials in a racist and misogynistic society to become an elite warrior.
Kirsten Bohling's WE'D KNOW BY THEN from Lake Country Press on 4/5/2022
In a monochrome world, Brighton Evans is a splash of brilliant color. Fans of bittersweet titles by Colleen Hoover and Jojo Moyes will have you invested in Brighton and Cain’s journey from the first page to the last.
Lisa Roe's WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD from Sourcebooks Casablanca on 4/5/2022
A heartwarming and life-affirming story of family dynamics, mother/daughter relationships, and second chances—perfect for fans of Maria Semple and Abbi Waxman.
Grace D. Li's PORTRAIT OF A THIEF from Tiny Rep Books/Dutton/PRH on 4/5/2022
Ocean's Eleven meets The Farewell in Portrait of a Thief, a lush, lyrical heist novel inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums; about diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of the Chinese American identity.
Chloë Ashby's WET PAINT from Orion/Trapeze on 4/14/2022
Perfect reading for fans of Sally Rooney, Naoise Dolan and Raven Leilani, Ashby's electrifying fiction debut revolves around the rudderless Eve, who is forced to confront the traumatic events surrounding her best friend's death.
Laure Van Rensburg's NOBODY BUT US from Penguin Michael Joseph (UK) on 4/14/2022
In this locked room, high‑concept thriller that's part The Guest List, part The Girl Before, a couple's romantic weekend‑getaway is not what it seems.
Lis Angus' NOT YOUR CHILD from The Wild Rose Press on 4/18/2022
Ottawa psychologist and single mother Susan Koss discovers that a strange man has been following her twelve-year-old daughter Maddy. She fears he’s a predator, but it’s worse than that. He believes Maddy is his granddaughter, abducted eleven years ago, and he’s obsessed with getting her back.
Laura Stanfill's SINGING LESSONS FOR THE STYLISH CANARY from Lanternfish Press on 4/19/2022
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 a nineteenth-century fable about finding your place in the world—even if it’s all the way across the ocean.
Maggie Giles' THE THINGS WE LOST from Rising Action Publishing Collective on 4/19/2022
Maddie wakes up twenty-six years old and in a completely different life. But is this new do-over exactly what she needs, even if it means her daughters never existing?
Jendella Benson's HOPE AND GLORY from William Morrow / HarperCollins on 4/19/2022
A brilliant debut by a British-Nigerian author—a heartfelt family drama that will delight book club readers and fans of books like The Girl with the Louding Voice and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows.
Mahi Cheshire's DEADLY CURE from Harvill Secker/Penguin Vintage on 4/21/2022
Deadly Cure is about two rival scientists/best friends and the search for a cancer cure, which gets very messy when one is murdered and the other becomes prime suspect.
Jamie Liew's DANDELION from Arsenal Pulp Press on 4/26/2022
Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award winner: A debut novel in which a Chinese Canadian woman traces her mother’s past journey to discover who she really is and where she belongs.
KM Kelly's THE SLEEPERS from Bloodhound Books on 4/26/2022
A time bomb is ticking—but what if that time bomb is you? A chilling novel of intrigue, terror, and one man and woman in a race against the clock.
Liz Bowery's LOVE, HATE & CLICKBAIT from MIRA (Harlequin) on 4/26/2022
When political consultant Thom and analyst Clay fake a relationship for the liberal vote, it hurtles toward something very real, which could derail the campaign and cost them both their jobs…and their hearts.
Vaishnavi Patel's KAIKEYI from Redhook/Hachette on 4/26/2022
A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana, weaving a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—and an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.
We hope you love these releases! To connect with our authors and keep up with book news, find us @22Debuts on Twitter and Instagram.