Whether you are lounging on a deck chair by a pool, sprawled on a towel at the beach, passing time on a flight on the way to vacation, or at home with a bowl of ice cream in front of the fan—there's no better way to enjoy summer than with a stack of summer reading. Take a look at these sizzling hot debuts.
A SONG OF SILVER AND GOLD by Melissa Karibian, from Hansen House, June 15, 2022
Destined to be the song of summer for YA Sapphic fantasy readers, this story features sirens, a sea witch, and a princess who disguises herself as a sea captain. The stakes are as high as the sea is this tale of vengeance, resurrection, and unexpected romance.
AS SEEN ON TV by Meredith Schorr, from Grand Central, Forever, June 7, 2022
In the mood for an adorable, steamy escape? This story takes one aspiring city journalist and one real estate developer and mixes them up in Pleasant Hollow—which isn’t as charming as quaint as it could be but sparks tensions and tests loyalties all the same.
BEND TOWARD THE SUN by Jen Devon, from St. Martin’s Griffin, August 9, 2022
If watching something grow and bloom is in your wheelhouse, this lush story of hope will do the trick. Guarded, self-reliant botanist Rowan undertakes the restoration of a long-abandoned vineyard in Pennsylvania wine country, where she meets Harrison, a doctor struggling after the loss of a patient. Rowan's stay is temporary, and Harry is only there to recover, but they develop an extraordinary connection despite deeply different views on love.
BOYS I KNOW by Anna Gracia, from Peachtree Publishing, July 5, 2022
In this YA story, June deals with high expectations from her parents and a commitment-avoidant boyfriend. After a methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme to fix her life explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a relationship with a new guy. 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.
FLORIDA WOMAN by Deb Rogers, from Hanover Square Press, July 5, 2022
Everyone is a Florida Woman when that summer humidity hits. Wonder what you would do if a wannabe cult led by three beguiling women tried to lure you in—and despite your better judgment, you kind of wanted them to succeed? As Jamie ventures deeper into the offbeat world and rituals of Atlas, a wildlife refuge for exotic monkeys, her summer is soon set to become an even stranger Florida headline than she ever could’ve imagined.
FOOL ME ONCE by Ashley Winstead, from Graydon House, April 5, 2022
Fill the cooler with beer to keep you cool while reading this feisty and funny battle of the Texas exes. Five years after their big breakup, Lee and Ben are forced to work together. Tension builds just as old sparks reignite, fanning the flames for a romantic dustup the size of their home state.
FOR BUTTER OR WORSE by Erin La Rosa, from Harlequin, July 26, 2022
Craving a rivalry that’s boiling over? Two rival hosts of a massively popular cooking show have to fake a relationship to save their careers after an explosive on-air fallout, only to find their feelings for each other becoming real.
GROUPIES by Sarah Priscus, from William Morrow, July 12, 2022
Crank the radio to 11 and cover the best lounge chair at the pool with your brightest beach towel. Then take this deep dive into the grungy yet glittery world of 1970s rock 'n' roll and the women – the groupies – who unapologetically love too much in a world that doesn’t love them back.
HOW TO FAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD by Ava Wilder, from Ballantine Bantam Dell, June 14, 2022
If your perfect beach bag includes a stack of celebrity mags, squeeze this fake relationship rom-com in there too. Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act.
LOVE AT FIRST SPITE by Anna E. Collins, from Graydon House, January 4, 2022
If you ever wonder about the personal stories behind your summer vacation rental, this one is right up your alley. Dani teams up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, to help her draw up blueprints to build a rental house to mess with her exes’ view as well as his peace of mind. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. The closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter.
LOVE FROM SCRATCH by Kaitlyn Hill, from Delacorte Press, April 5, 2022
Join Reese, the main character in this rom-com, for a summer job on the west coast. She's landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern—and her main competition for the fall job.
PROJECT NAMAHANA by John Teschner, from Forge, June 28, 2022
This beach read will take you into the wild heart of Hawaii—from seemingly idyllic beaches and mountainous inland jungles to the face of Mount Namahana. This propulsive story follows two men who are unified by a string of disappearances and deaths as they search for answers in the close-knit communities and corporate farms of Kaua’i.
THE THINGS WE LOST by Maggie Giles, from Rising Action Publishing, April 19, 2022
The lazy, hazy days of summer often spark thoughts of “what if.” Regret and unhappiness have haunted Maddie ever since a tragic early loss, and she has always wondered how her life could have been different. The morning after bumping into her ex, she wakes up a decade younger and with a completely different life as a 26-year-old. Her daughters don’t exist, her husband is nowhere to be found—and in this life, the friend who died when she was 14 is still alive. Is this new do-over exactly what she needs, even if it means she loses the life she has built?
THE SEAWOMEN by Chloe Timms, from Hodder Studio, May 14, 2022
Prefer a dark and dystopic beach scene? Eden’s Isle is far from paradise. The people who live there fear the water and believe the only way to remain virtuous is to never enter it, and for the women to be married and conceive within 12 months of their appointed motheryear—or risk being thrown into the sea.
THE SLEEPERS by KM Kelly, from Bloodhound Books, April 22, 2022
Hide behind the biggest sunglasses you can find and dip your toes into this propulsive thriller. Corran is a somewhat inept secret agent working undercover to infiltrate a political organization. But he has messed up and all he has to work with is a list of names – a hit list. On the list is Sylvie, who is on the run. Corran and Sylvie form a reluctant partnership, but can they overcome their mutual dislike for long enough to expose the political conspiracy and save themselves—and the world?
THE WILD ONE by Colleen McKeegan, from HarperCollins/Harper, June 14, 2022
Some summers seem to last forever, but maybe that’s not a good thing. In this dark and twisted coming-of-age thriller, a deadly summer camp secret binds three women and threatens to destroy their adult lives.
To celebrate pride month, we’re featuring 2022 debut books that include queer love stories – with fantasies, contemporary YA, horror, and more!
Coming of Age Stories
THE TURNING POINTE by Vanessa L. Torres, out now 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 GRAVITY OF MISSING THINGS by Marisa Urgo, out now from Entangled
This #OwnVoices YA novel follows a bi teen who has to juggle first love and a family secret … Flight 133 disappeared over the ocean. No wreckage. No distress signal. Just gone. Suddenly, everyone on the news and social media is talking about whether the pilot intentionally crashed it—everyone but me. Because I know her. The pilot was my mom, and there's no way she would hurt anyone. No one else knows that before she left, she wrote me a note. Trust me, it said. Now it feels like someone split my world—and me—in two, and the only person who believes me is Landon. I want to trust him, to let him see who I really am, but I can't. I have my secrets, the same way Mom has hers. All I know is falling for him will only make things more complicated. Just as I start to open up, the answer to what really happened to Flight 133 could rip my world apart all over again—for good this time.
WE DESERVE MONUMENTS by Jas Hammonds, coming July 12th from Roaring Brook/Macmillan
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life from DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family—whose mother’s murder remains unsolved. As the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty's health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she's built in Bardell—or if some things are better left buried.
DRIZZLE, DREAMS, AND LOVESTRUCK THINGS by Maya Prasad, coming October 18 from Disney-Hyperion
The Singh sisters grew up helping their father navigate the bustle of the Songbird Inn. Nestled on dreamy and drizzly Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, the inn's always been warm and cozy and filled with interesting guests—the perfect home. But things are about to heat up now that the Songbird has been named the Most Romantic Inn in America.
Nidhi has everything planned out—until a storm brings a wayward tree crashing into her life one autumn . . . and along with it, an intriguing construction worker and a yearning for her motherland. Suddenly, she's questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Avani can't sit still. If she does, her grief for Pop, their dad's late husband, will overwhelm her. So she keeps moving as much as she can, planning an elaborate Winter Ball in Pop's memory. Until a blizzard traps her in a barn with the boy she accidentally stood up and has been actively avoiding ever since. Sirisha loves seeing the world through her camera, but her shyness prevents her from stepping out from behind the lens. Talking to girls is such a struggle! When a pretty actress comes to the Songbird with her theater troupe, spring has sprung for Sirisha—if only she can find the words.
Rani is a hopeless romantic through and through. After gently nudging her sisters to open their hearts, she is convinced it's finally her turn to find love. When two potential suitors float in on a summer breeze, Rani is swept up in grandeur to match her wildest Bollywood dreams. But which boy is the one she's meant to be with? Ultimately, the magic of the Songbird Inn leads the tight-knit Singh sisters to new passions and breathtaking kisses—and to unearth the truest versions of themselves.
Merfolk, Gods, and more
A SONG OF SILVER AND GOLD by Melissa Karibian, out now from Hansen House
Out in the open sea, it's kill or be killed. No one knows that better than Kaelyn. For the past year, Princess Kaelyn of Avalon has disguised herself as a man, Captain Kae, and led her crew into tumultuous waters to eradicate sirens on a journey fueled by revenge for the death of her brother. When they return home and experience a fatal siren attack on Avalon's harbor, Kae sets sail again to destroy the sea demons once and for all. Aqeara is a siren warrior of Meyrial, an underwater kingdom hidden from humans. When her negligence during the Avalon harbor attack causes the death of Meyrial's princess, she accepts the help of a sea witch to overturn her banishment. Aqeara is given a human body and has until the next full moon to carve out Captain Kae's heart in exchange for a spell to bring the dead princess back to life.
When Kae's and Aqeara's paths cross, they fall into a whirlwind romance, complicating their respective plans. Kae must decide whether her desire for revenge against sirens overrides her feelings for the woman she's falling for, and Aqeara must choose between resurrecting the dead princess or sparing Kae's life.
WRATH GODDESS SING by Maya Deane, out now from HarperCollins/William Morrow
The gods wanted blood. She fought for love.
Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the “prince” Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman’s body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance. But the gods—a dysfunctional family of abusive immortals that have glutted on human sacrifices for centuries—have woven ancient schemes more blood-soaked and nightmarish than Achilles can imagine. At the center of it all is the cruel, immortal Helen, who sees Achilles as a worthy enemy after millennia of ennui and emptiness. In love with her newfound nemesis, Helen sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death.
An innovative spin on a familiar tale, this is the Trojan War unlike anything ever told, and an Achilles whose vulnerability is revealed by the people she chooses to fight…and chooses to trust.
THE CIRCUS INFINITE by Khan Wong, out now from Angry Robot Books
Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon. Here, everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job. When the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him, or face vivisection. With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down together. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.
DAUNTLESS by Elisa A. Bonnin, coming July 19 from Macmillan / Swoon Reads
Seri's world is defined by very clear rules. The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. Warriors kill the beasts and gain strength from the armor they make from them. And they explore the unknown world, to find new homes for the People. That was how it had always been, and how it would always be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana.
Tsana is a stranger, someone who is – impossibly – not of the People. She comes from the unknown world, from a strange group that speaks a different language, wears metal, and, strangest of all, communicates with beasts. And Tsana's People find Seri's barbaric. Somehow, with the world at the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.
This is a world of heroes, and that is what Seri will become.
HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT by Aislinn Brophy, coming September 27 from Penguin Random House/Putnam
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. As a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s determined to win the Brockton Scholarship—her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her competition? Ana freaking Álvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B asks Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive musical, she warily agrees, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But in rehearsals, Shay realizes Ana is . . . not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could be a friend—or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she becomes the target of Mr. B’s unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when her future's on the line?
THE MARBLE QUEEN by Anna Kopp, coming June 2023 from Dark Horse
Princess Amelia’s kingdom, Marion, is in shambles after months of their trade routes being ravaged by pirates, and now the only seemingly option left is for her to save it through a marriage alliance. When she gets an exorbitant offer from the royalty of Iliad—a country shrouded in mystery—Amelia accepts without question and leaves her home to begin a new life. But she lands on Iliad’s shores to find that her betrothed isn't the country’s prince, but the recently coronated Queen Salira.
Shocked, Amelia tries to make sense of her situation and her confused heart: Salira has awakened strange new feelings inside her, but something dark hides behind the Queen's sorrowful eyes. Amelia must fight the demons of her own anxiety disorder before she can tackle her wife's, all while war looms on the horizon.
Ghosts & Ghouls
MY DEAREST DARKEST by Kayla Cottingham, out now from Sourcebooks Fire
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy... but she's also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of a river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn't let her drown. Finch doesn't know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she's felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her. Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena's suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power, adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
HORROR HOTEL by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren, out now from PRH/Underlined
This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation. When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.
But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.
Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.
THE STARS IN THEIR EYES by Kristy Gardner, coming October 18th from City Owl Press
The stakes were clear after the Change - survive together, or die.
Calay and Tess’s love has kept them alive four years after the aliens decimated Earth. But when Calay finds herself fighting for her life and Tess missing, she hears death knocking. She only has one choice: she must find Tess.
Reluctantly, Calay braves the new nightmares of a ravaged Pacific Northwest, alone. Thrust into the darkness, she is haunted by horrors beyond her imagination — alien executioners, a mysterious man whom she can’t quite put her finger on, the rise of a sinister cult, and a shocking family secret that challenges everything she thinks she knows.
As the lines between good and evil blur, Calay’s desperation threatens to spill what’s left of her humanity. As she's pulled deeper into the madness of a world that has become kill or be killed, Calay realizes she must deny her feral instincts and resist becoming a monster herself. That means confronting her demons as she stares down the barrel of a terrifying truth: she may actually be forever alone. Time is running out and she knows it. Her only hope is to become who she is truly meant to be and unify with the love of her life once and for all. But at what cost?
11 Books for Plant Lovers
Summer is made for reading and gardening. So in the spirit of sticking our hands in the dirt, we’ve put together a list of 11 books for plant lovers from the 2022 debut class, including adult, YA and middle grade stories across multiple genres. There’s something for every plant lover here.
In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker, on September 13, 2022 from Forever / Grand Central Publishing
A book with green witches, tea-leaf readings, and a magical garden, meaning it’s perfect for plant lovers! The richly atmospheric and luminous debut about three generations of women whose magic is as much a part of life as love, death, and the rich, dark earth beneath their feet–perfect for fans of Practical Magic and Midnight at the Blackbird Café. The Haywood family are known for their shadow garden—from strawberries that taste like chocolate to cherry tomatoes imbued with the flavors of basil and oregano. Their magic can cure any heartache, and the fruits of their garden bring a special quality to the local bourbon distillery. On one day every year, a shot of Bonner bourbon will make your worst memory disappear. But the Haywoods will never forget the Bonners’ bitter betrayal.
The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne, on July 26, 2022 from Hachette / Orbit / Redhook
We love a fairy tale retelling, and we love it even better when its magic system pulls from an ancient herbal text like Hildegard’s Physica. Put this one on your list! In the vein of Wicked, Spinning Silver, and Hild, The Book of Gothel is a dark, lush, and beautiful reimagining of Rapunzel told from the witch’s perspective, a story of motherhood, magic, and the stories we pass down to our children. Everyone knows the tale of Rapunzel in her tower, but do you know the story of the witch who put her there?
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin, on March 29, 2022 from Macmillan, Feiwel & Friends
If we were to draw a Venn diagram of plant lovers and tea lovers, it would be a circle. So Lin’s magic system that’s based on different types of tea is an obvious must-read. Judy I. Lin's sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo. 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. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning's only chance to save her sister's life. 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.
The Surviving Sky by Kritika H Rao, coming Fall 2022 from DAW/ Penguin Random House
A plant-made civilization and architects who manipulate the plants to keep everything running. Need we say more? High above a jungle-planet float the last refuges of humanity—plant-made civilizations held together by tradition, technology, and arcane science. In these living cities, architects are revered above anyone else. If not for their ability to psychically manipulate the architecture, the cities would plunge into the devastating earthrage storms below. Charismatic, powerful, mystical, Iravan is one such architect. In his city, his word is nearly law. His abilities are his identity, but to Ahilya, his wife, they are a way for survival to be reliant on the privileged few. Like most others, she cannot manipulate the plants. And she desperately seeks change.
Catastrophe Theory by Rebecca Lowry Warchut, on October 4, 2022 from Woodhall Press
If you love Banyan trees, then be sure to check out this debut. The tree is both a central setting and symbol to the story. Due to a rare brain tumor, Vera Garcia’s soccer career is suddenly sidelined at the start of her senior year. When her single mother— terrified at the thought of losing her only daughter— clings too tightly, both Vera’s identity and her freedom are in jeopardy. They make it to St. Petersburg, Florida for surgery just as Hurricane Phoenix’s trajectory turns directly toward them. As the cyclops churns closer and closer, their paths collide with a tech guru recently expelled from college, a mysterious Catalonian street magician, holograms of Salvador Dali himself, and the ambitious museum curator connecting them all in a whirlwind of love, betrayal, and illusion.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia, on August 9, 2022 from Tachyon Publications
This fantasy includes environmental magic that makes use of plants. So if you like plant magic, pre-order it! In this intricately layered debut fantasy, a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic discovers a strange disease causing political rifts in their new homeland. Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a gripping narrative with a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family. Powerful and fascinating, The Bruising of Qilwa is the newest arrival in the era of fantasy classics such as the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Four Profound Weaves, and Who Fears Death.
To Get to the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert, on December 6, 2022 from Alcove
The love interest, Bear, has a dream of taking over his family floral shop, but when his mother makes the decision to retire, that dream suddenly has an expiration date. He must face down the bullies of his past and embrace his floral design passion before developers step in. In the vein of Lyssa Kay Adams and Abby Jimenez, Kelly Ohlert’s charming debut is a one-of-a-kind rom-com that explores the power of overcoming the past and fighting for the things you love. Perfect for readers of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, and fans of The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, readers will find themselves rooting for every one of the relatable, but tenderly flawed, characters in this book as they follow the heartwarming antics of a rescue chicken and her human companions.
Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon, on August 9, 2022 from St. Martin’s / Griffin
A botanist protagonist and a vineyard! Need we say more? Guarded, self-reliant botanist Rowan McKinnon undertakes the restoration of a long-abandoned vineyard in Pennsylvania wine country, where she meets Harrison Brady, a doctor struggling after the loss of a patient. Rowan's stay is temporary, and Harry is only there to recover, but they develop an extraordinary connection despite deeply different views on love. A vivid, powerful novel about the ways love can irrevocably change your life, BEND TOWARD THE SUN is a cinematic, unforgettable romance.
Iveliz Explains it All by Andrea Arango, on September 13, 2022 from Random House Children’s Books
Looking for a Middle Grade book for plant lovers? Iveliz loves her gardening elective at school and helps her grandma garden at home! Pitched as The Poet X for middle graders, the novel follows Iveliz as she tries to manage her mental health, all while her new friend calls her crazy and her abuela dismisses the pills and therapy that Iveliz needs to feel like herself.
In My Hands by Sathya Achia, out August 2022 from Ravens & Roses Publishing
A book in the jungles of India, complete with lush vegetation and flowers. A plant-perfect setting. IN MY HANDS is a YA contemporary fantasy/adventure pitched as Tomb Raider meets Wonder Woman meets Indian myth. After the death of her mother, 16-year-old Chandra S. Chengappa reluctantly leaves small-town Virginia for the jungles of India to find the weapon of a Hindu Goddess to destroy the demon hell-bent on obliterating her ancestral home.
Florida Woman by Deb Rogers, on July 5, 2022 from Hanover Square Press / HarperCollins
This debut is set in the palmetto woods, and if palm fronds and humidity don’t scream the perfect setting for a plant lover, I don’t know what does. A gleefully dark and entertaining debut for fans of Kevin Wilson and Karen Russell about a young woman’s summer spent working at a Floridian wildlife center for exotic monkeys. Jamie is a Florida Woman. She wears cutoffs, thrives in humidity, has been slapped by palm frond more times than she can count and now, after going viral for an outrageous crime she never meant to commit in the first place, she has the requisite headline to her name. But when the chance comes for her to escape viral infamy and imminent jail time through a community service placement at Atlas, a wildlife refuge for rescued monkeys, it seems like just the fresh start Jamie needs to finally get her life back on track—until it’s not. Something sinister stirs in the palmetto woods, and secrets lurk among the three beguiling women who run the refuge and affectionately take Jamie under their wing for the summer.
A Botanists’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari, on June 7, 2022 from Penguin Randomhouse
We love plants as poison and a botanist detective! If you’re looking for a historical fiction plant read, this one’s for you. The Lost Apothecary meets Dead Dead Girls in this fast-paced, STEMinist adventure. Kate Khavari deftly entwines a pulse-pounding mystery with the struggles of a woman in a male-dominated field in 1923 London.
13 LGBTQ+ 2022 Debut Fantasies
It's Pride Month, and we're halfway through 2022, which means halfway through our debut season! This is exciting and also terrifying for everyone one of us. Many of us are still left FANTASizing about the rest of the year... so we're doing a list of 2022 debut queer fantasies! Whether these include queer love or center queer characters, dive into some good ol' gay goodness. Plus magic. Magic is good.
Wild & Wicked Things by Francesca May, March 29, 2022, from Hachette/Orbit
On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface. But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline's extravagantly illicit parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.
(Gay. Magical. Gatsby. Like, there is literally nothing more that needs to be said to sell me on this book. I mean, didn’t most gays read Gatsby and scream SO WHEN IS NICK GONNA KISS HIM?? Now imagine that, but with lesbians. Incredible.)
Let The Mountains Be My Grave by Francesca Tacchi, May 17, 2022, from Neon Hemlock Press
Let the Mountains Be My Grave unfolds at breakneck pace in 1944 Italy, where partisan Veleno thinks of nothing but killing as many Nazis as he can before leaving this world. Beloved by the ancient Italic goddess Angitia, Veleno is the perfect person to recover a strange weapon the Nazis are planning to use against the Allies in the battle of Montecassino, but doing so may force him to confront his death differently than he expects.
(Neon Hemlock is one of the most radical presses in spec fic, publishing authors whom large houses won’t take a chance on because of being too queer or too experimental or what have you. A Nazi-punching, goddess-bonded, queer Italian hero sounds like exactly what we all need right now.)
Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien and Kat Weaver, May 17, 2022, from Neon Hemlock Press
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.
(So like, everything I said above? Let’s add Jewish ghost stories to that mix, because damn!! On fire!!!)
Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson, May 31, 2022, from Holt
For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks to The Hill that watches over the city, every part of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing sèances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her. But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they’ve always known is left haunted by grief…and Jasmine’s lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death and each other.
(Found family is strong with queer folks, and a found family starring BIPOC is basically all I want in life. But throw in a ghost, and I’m so sold I’ve got a price tag on me. (Too much?))
Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane, June 7, 2022, from William Morrow
Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the “prince” Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman’s body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance.
(A trans retelling by a trans author who is also a myth scholar? A trans FEMME retelling of a beloved figure who is often cast as the epitome of masculinity? There’s a reason these myths have so much resonance. Also, that COVER!)
A Song of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian, June 15, 2022, from Hansen House
A princess disguises herself as a pirate captain to avenge the death of her brother and eradicate the sirens that plague their waters. A siren warrior, banished for the death of her princess, becomes human with the help of a sea witch so she can bring the princess back to life. The main ingredient for the resurrection spell? The heart of the pirate captain. But the two never expect to fall for each other.
(I’ve always been a fan of the “girl disguising her gender to do the thing” trope, but let’s stop and admire the rest of this pitch. Sirens. Gay sirens. Pirates. Gay pirates. I just started watching Our Flag Means Death like all the other gays and now all I want is this book.)
Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne, July 12, 2022, from Wednesday Books
The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away. After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.
(Queer horror is *chef’s kiss* and tbh, I need more of it in my life. But we’ve got some repeating trauma, family issues, and taxidermy, and idk, I was sold five years ago.)
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin, July 19, 2022, from Dauntless
Seri's world is defined by very clear rules. The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. Warriors kill the beasts and gain strength from the armor they make from them. And they explore the unknown world, to find new homes for the People. That was how it had always been, and how it would always be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana. Tsana is a stranger, someone who is – impossibly – not of the People. She comes from the unknown world, from a strange group that speaks a different language, wears metal, and, strangest of all, communicates with beasts. And Tsana's People find Seri's barbaric. Somehow, with the world at the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.
(Queer monstrosity is a thing. Queer monstrosity where the protagonist has to confront the monster within themself (or their society) is just waiting for emotions to happen. A lot of emotions. Too many emotions.)
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean, August 2, 2022, from Tor Books
Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book's content after eating it. Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn't always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.
(Okay. Okay. Who hasn’t said they’ve “devoured” books before? Because a story where that’s a literal premise, but then there’s brains involved, sounds incredible. TBH, this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. Now I’m hungry.)
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia, August 9, 2022, from Tachyon Publications
Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other traditional Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic. But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly performed blood magic. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.
(One thing this summary neglects to mention: the crux of this powerful, incredible, phenomenal, absolutely you-should-preorder-this-and-get-that-dope-pin novella, is that there’s a grumpy (nonbinary aroace) caregiver who is forced into adopting a powerful, traumatized orphan. I mean, I don’t know about you, but if that doesn’t sell you on this genius—what do you mean I can’t talk about my own book like this??)
Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans, September 13, 2022, from Orbit
Since the city of Bezim was shaken half into the sea by a magical earthquake, the Inquisitors have policed alchemy with brutal efficiency. Nothing too powerful, too complicated, too much like real magic is allowed–and the careful science that’s left is kept too expensive for any but the rich and indolent to tinker with. Siyon Velo, a glorified errand boy scraping together lesson money from a little inter-planar fetch and carry, doesn’t qualify. But when Siyon accidentally commits a public act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight. Except the limelight is a bad place to be when the planes themselves start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the rest of the city into the sea. Now Siyon, a dockside brat who clawed his way up and proved himself on rooftops with saber in hand, might be Bezim’s only hope. Because if they don’t fix the cascading failures of magic in their plane, the Powers and their armies in the other three will do it for them.
(OMG. Science and magic and regulation—I love this song. Misfits trying to figure out WTF to do next? I love that song, too. Please and thank you!!)
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy, September 27, 2022, from Putnam
Pitched as Booksmart meets The Craft. A biracial witch is cast as the lead in her school play and must decide between exposing her predatory drama teacher or getting the magical scholarship she desperately needs.
(PREDATORY TEACHERS GET WHAT’S DUE!!!! This sounds like some peak excellence. Also, have you SEEN that cover??)
The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz, Fall 2022, from Orbit
When Reina arrives at Aguila Manor, her heart stolen from her chest, she’s on the verge of death—until her estranged grandmother, a dark sorceress in the Don’s employ, intervenes. Indebted to a woman she never knew—and smitten with the upper-caste daughter of the house, Celeste—Reina will do to earn – and keep – the family’s favor. Even the bidding of the ancient god who speaks to her from the Manor’s foundations.
(Venezuelan mythos?? Estranged magical grandmas?? ANCIENT GODS?? Reina isn’t the only one with her heart stolen out of her chest. Someone get me an arepa STAT.)
The Marble Queen by Anna Kopp, June 2023, from Dark Horse
Princess Amelia’s kingdom, Marion, is in shambles after months of their trade routes being ravaged by pirates, and now the only seemingly option left is for her to save it through a marriage alliance. When she gets an exorbitant offer from the royalty of Iliad—a country shrouded in mystery—Amelia accepts without question and leaves her home to begin a new life.But she lands on Iliad’s shores to find that her betrothed isn't the country’s prince, but the recently coronated Queen Salira. Shocked, Amelia tries to make sense of her situation and her confused heart: Salira has awakened strange new feelings inside her, but something dark hides behind the Queen's sorrowful eyes. Amelia must fight the demons of her own anxiety disorder before she can tackle her wife's, all while war looms on the horizon.
(Although this book has been pushed back to 2023, we're keeping it as an honorary 22 debut! I love graphic novels, and the promise of this sapphic book sounds about ready to tear my heart out. And, as a person with anxiety, I see that rep!!)
The holiday season is almost upon us - so join the 22 debuts as we travel around the world! Where should your next holiday be?
The Things We Lost by Maggie Giles, April 19, 2022 from Rising Action Publishing Collective
We start our journey in Toronto. Maddie Butler has been haunted for fourteen years. After the suspicious death of a friend when she was twenty-two, Maddie tried to move on, convincing herself there was nothing she could have done. Now in an unfulfilling marriage, she realizes how much the guilt has led to an unhappy life.
Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow, July 26, 2022, from Disney Hyperion
Staying in Toronto - because we like it so much here - Ravenous Things is a creepy reimagining of the Pied Piper. This book will be especially terrifying for readers who fear changeling rats, labyrinthine subway tunnels, impenetrable darkness, and strangers who make improbable promises.
Drizzle, Dreams and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad, October 18, 2022, from Disney Hyperion
Moving south from Canada we head to Orcas Island on the Pacific Northwest. Four sisters, four seasons, four flavors of romance. The Singh sisters grew up helping their father navigate the bustle of the Songbird Inn. Nestled on dreamy and drizzly Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, the inn's always been warm and cozy and filled with interesting guests—the perfect home. But things are about to heat up now that the Songbird has been named the Most Romantic Inn in America.
Being Mary Bennet by JC Peterson, March 15, 2022, from Harper Teen
Enough of the cold and drizzle - let's head down to San Francisco for some sunshine! Marnie Barnes is convinced she's the long-suffering protagonist of her life, just like the characters in all her favorite books. But a main character isn't the forgotten middle child of their family, nor does their love interest see them as only a friend. But then a series of Marnie-induced disasters forces her to confront the devastating truth: Marnie has more in common with Mary Bennet—the utterly forgettable middle sister of Pride & Prejudice—than effervescent Elizabeth Bennet.
Florida Woman by Deb Rogers, July 5, 2022, from Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins
Heading east now to Florida for a gleefully dark and entertaining debut for fans of Kevin Wilson and Karen Russell about a young woman’s summer spent working at a Floridian wildlife center for exotic monkeys.
Jaguars and Other Game by Brynn Barineau, November 22, 2022, from Orange Blossom Publishing
We now head further south to Brazil and we stop for a few days in Rio de Janeiro. 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.
The Storytellers by Caron McKinley, May 16, 2022, from Bloodhound Books
Leaving the Americas behind we journey across the Atlantic to start our tour of Europe in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. (I'm slightly biased here since this is where I was born) Trapped between life and the afterlife, three women meet and share their stories while discovering the truth about the men in their lives—and about themselves. Suspended in an eerie state of limbo, an entity called the Gatekeeper tells Nikki, Ronnie, and Mrs. Hawthorne they are on the cusp of entering the afterlife—but only if the women can persuade him that in their earthly lives, they knew the meaning of love. Fragments of their memories return, plunging them back into their pasts, and forcing them to face the desires, disappointments, addictions, lies, and obsessions they battled in life. But before time runs out, will they find the answer to the ultimate question: what is love?
24 Hours in Paris by Romi Moondi, May 10, 2022, from W by Wattpad Books
From Scotland we hop on the ferry across to France and to another beautiful city. Paris. All bets are off in the City of Light . . . where life and love can change in less than a day. Shortly after calling off her engagement, Mira Attwal escapes on an all-expense-paid business trip to Paris. But even the delicious food and flowing wine can’t make her forget her parents' disappointment at leaving her fiancé or the fact that she’s just blown up her personal life. As the trip nears its end, Mira knows she’s just a few hours from having to face the consequences. Yet, the fates seem determined to keep her away just a bit longer.
The Sleepers by KM Kelly, April 26, 2022, from Bloodhound Books
We stay in France, but leave the city heading down through the vineyards to the Loire region. But there isn't much time for sampling the food and the wine - 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 . . .
Frances and the Monster by Refe Tuma, August 23, 2022, from HarperCollins
From France we head east, towards the mountains and into the Switzerland to visit the city of Bern. Frances Stenzel is an aspiring scientist, and one day she’ll be a world-famous inventor like her parents … if they’d only let her leave the house. When Frances is left home yet again with only an infuriatingly clever robot named Hobbes for company, she enters her parents’ off-limits laboratory, determined to claim her freedom and prove her scientific mettle. Instead, she accidentally awakens her great-grandfather’s secret and most terrible invention—an enormous monster who breaks out of the manor and disappears into the city below.
The Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn, November 30, 2022, from TouchPoint Press
We cross the Alps into Italy and here we stop for a while in Venice. There's some wonderful art galleries that we have to visit - but oh! Wait! On a trip to Venice, Italy, an American comes to believe that his true soul mate is not his wife, but a woman whose soul has been trapped in a Renaissance painting for 450 years--along with thousands of others. Teetering on the brink of insanity and navigating present-day and Renaissance Venice, he discovers a secret society that taps an ancient power to extract and imprison souls for eternity. He'll do anything to free his love, but freeing her means freeing all the souls--which the secret society will never allow.
The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas, October 25, 2022, from Thomas and Mercer
For our final stop on our world tour we head further east, to India and the wonderful city of Mumbai. On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession.
It's Pride month, and what better way to celebrate than by loading up your TBR with these sweet, swoony queer romances!
THE LOOPHOLE by Naz Kutub, coming June 21st from Bloomsbury
Sy placed all his bets for happiness on his boyfriend, Farouk . . . who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Now, the timid seventeen-year-old Indian Muslim boy is stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job and all he can do is wish for one more chance . . . Sy never expects his wish to be granted. But when a mysterious girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help and proves she can grant at least one wish with an instant million-dollar deposit into Sy's struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And can Sy find the courage to leave Los Angeles and cross the Atlantic Ocean to lands he'd never even dreamed he could visit, all to track down his missing ex? With help from his potentially otherworldly new friend, will Sy go all the way for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and refinding love?
IN THE EVENT OF LOVE by Courtney Kae, coming August 30th from Kensington and Headline Eternal
With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . . Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm. When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?
SEASON OF LOVE by Helena Greer, coming October 11th from Forever
Thanks to her thriving art career, Miriam Blum finally has her decoupaged glitter ducks in a row—until devastating news forces her to a very unwanted family reunion. Her beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left Miriam part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm. But Miriam’s plans to sit shiva, avoid her parents, then put Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror are spoiled when she learns the business is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager—as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first. Noelle Northwood wants Miriam Blum gone—even if her ingenious ideas and sensitive soul keep showing Noelle there’s more to Cass’s niece than meets the eye. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all—for the chance to make their wildest dreams come true.
HOW TO EXCAVATE A HEART by Jake Maia Arlow, coming November 1st from HarperTeen
It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru. Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break. It could be going better. But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup. Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?
THE GENTLEMAN'S BOOK OF VICES by Jess Everlee, coming November 29th from Carina Adores
Finely dressed and finely drunk, Charlie Price is a man dedicated to his vices. Chief among them is his explicit novel collection, though his impending marriage to a woman he can’t love will force his carefully curated collection into hiding. Before it does, Charlie is determined to have one last hurrah: meeting his favorite author in person. Miles Montague is more gifted as a smut writer than a shopkeep and uses his royalties to keep his flagging bookstore afloat. So when a cheerful dandy appears out of the mist with Miles's highly secret pen name on his pretty lips, Miles assumes the worst. But Charlie Price is no blackmailer; he’s Miles's biggest fan. A scribbled signature on a worn book page sets off an affair as scorching as anything Miles has ever written. But Miles is clinging to a troubled past, while Charlie’s future has spun entirely out of his control…
IF I CAN GIVE YOU THAT by Michael Gray Bulla, coming later this year from Quill Tree
This coming-of-age story follows Gael, a trans teenager who joins his town’s LGBTQ+ support group and sparks a new friendship with a cute boy he meets there. When Gael’s aloof father returns home at the same time that his new friendship starts to become something more, Gael must decide whether the cost of protecting his heart is greater than the risk of letting the walls around it down.
The #22Debuts have 32 new MG, YA, and Adult releases for you this month.
As always, we start with nine Middle Grade books.
Elizabeth Agyemang’s FIBBED from Razorbill on 6/7/2022
A magical middle-grade graphic novel about a girl who doesn’t lie but no one believes, and who winds up tangled in the web of a trickster spider of Ghanaian lore, Ananse.
Erik Jon Slangerup’s MOLLY AND THE MACHINE from Aladdin / Simon & Schuster on 6/7/2022
Perfect for fans of Stuart Gibbs and James Ponti, this hilarious and poignant middle grade sci-fi adventure set in 1980s Ohio follows a young girl who makes incredible discoveries about family and belonging while chasing a kidnapping robot.
Michael Leali’s THE CIVIL WAR OF AMOS ABERNATHY from HarperCollins on 6/7/2022
A heartfelt debut novel about a boy’s attempt to find himself in the history he loves. Told in an earnest, hilarious voice, this love letter to history, first crushes, and LGBTQ+ community will delight readers of Ashley Herring Blake, Alex Gino, or Maulik Pancholy.
Tom Phillips’ THE CURIOUS LEAGUE OF DETECTIVES AND THIEVES: EGYPT'S FIRE from Pixel + Ink on 6/7/2022
Follow the world’s greatest detective you’ve never heard of in this madcap middle grade mystery for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events and Enola Holmes. A love letter to classic middle grade, Egypt's Fire introduces a remarkable new duo that will steal your heart as surely as it leaves you begging for their next grand adventure.
Emi Watanabe Cohen’s THE LOST RYŪ from Levine Querido on 6/7/2022
In post-WWII Japan, Kohei Fujiwara 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.
Tọlá Okogwu’s ONYEKA AND THE ACADEMY OF THE SUN from Simon & Schuster/ Margaret K. McElderry Books on 6/9/2022
Black Panther meets X-Men in this action-packed and empowering middle grade adventure about a British Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers—perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, The Marvellers, and Rick Riordan!
Maggie Edkins Willis’ SMALLER SISTER from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press on 6/14/2022
Maggie Edkins Willis's Smaller Sister is a debut middle grade graphic novel about body image, confidence, and the everlasting bond of sisterhood.
Sylvia Liu’s HANA HSU AND THE GHOST CRAB NATION from Razorbill/PRH on 6/21/2022
Perfect for fans of Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, this thrilling, cinematic sci-fi novel follows Hana Hsu’s mission to save herself—and her friends—from a dangerous plot to control their minds.
Lora Senf’s THE CLACKITY from Atheneum/S&S on 6/28/2022
Reminiscent of Doll Bones, this deliciously eerie middle grade novel tells the story of a girl who must enter a world of ghosts, witches, and monsters to play a game with deadly consequences and rescue her aunt.
Now we have 13 Young Adult releases.
Rachel Menard’s GAME OF STRENGTH AND STORM from Flux/NorthStar on 6/7/2022
A gender-bent Hercules retelling set in the fictional island kingdom of Olympia. 17-year-old Gen has to complete the better half of 10 near-impossible labors before the storm-wielding Castor in order to save her father from prison.
Brian D. Kennedy’s A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins on 6/7/2022
Dumplin' meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this heartfelt and funny contemporary romance inspired by Dollywood, about two boys who fall in love against the backdrop of a country music-themed amusement park, from debut author Brian D. Kennedy.
Andrew Joseph White’s HELL FOLLOWED WITH US from Peachtree Publishing/ Peachtree Teen on 6/7/2022
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him. A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
Marisa Urgo’s THE GRAVITY OF MISSING THINGS from Entangled Teen on 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. A pitch-perfect and inclusive coming-of-age drama perfect for fans of Kathleen Glasgow.
Susan Crispell’s THE HOLLOWAY GIRLS from Sourcebooks Fire on 6/7/2022
A kiss from a Holloway girl is supposed to be good luck. But for sixteen-year-old Remy, the kissing season turns out to be a curse. Because when your kiss is good luck, the wrong kiss could change everything...
XiXi Tian’s THIS PLACE IS STILL BEAUTIFUL from HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray on 6/7/2022
Two sisters. A shocking racist incident. The summer that will change both of their lives forever. A beautiful and powerful story about race, family, and the secrets we keep.
Jesmeen Kaur Deo’s TJ POWAR HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE from Viking / Penguin Random House on 6/7/2022
When TJ Powar—a pretty, popular debater—and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”—TJ decides to take a stand.
Becky Dean’s LOVE & OTHER GREAT EXPECTATIONS from Delacorte Press/PRH on 6/14/2022
An American girl embarks on a competitive scavenger hunt in England--and along the way, meets up with a bookish British boy who can't help her with the clues . . . but might make the trip take some unexpected turns.
Melissa Karibian’s A SONG OF SILVER AND GOLD from Hansen House on 6/15/2022
A sapphic Little Mermaid retelling perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and The Shadows Between Us. A princess disguises herself as a captain to avenge the death of her brother and eradicate the sirens that plague their waters, but falls for a banished siren warrior.
Naz Kutub’s THE LOOPHOLE from Bloomsbury on 6/21/2022
A gay Muslim boy travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes in this YA debut that's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a twist of magic. Naz Kutub's debut weaves an engrossing whirlwind of an adventure with a journey to find love, home, and family.
Molly Horan’s EPICALLY EARNEST from HMH on 6/21/2022
In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom, all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.
Juliana Goodman’s THE BLACK GIRLS LEFT STANDING from Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends on 6/28/2022
Sixteen-year-old Beau Willet has dreams of being an artist, but after her older sister, Katia, is killed by an off-duty police officer, Beau knows she has to clear her sister’s name by finding the only witness to the murder; Katia’s no-good boyfriend, Jordan, who has gone missing.
Emily Thiede’s THIS VICIOUS GRACE from Wednesday Books on 6/28/2022
Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches. Emily Thiede's exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!
And last but not least, ten Adult debuts.
Natalie Caña’s A PROPOSAL THEY CAN'T REFUSE from MIRA Books on 6/7/2022
Natalie Caña turns up the heat, humor, and heart in her debut rom-com about a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish-American whiskey distiller forced into a fake engagement by their scheming octogenarian grandfathers.
Meredith Schorr’s AS SEEN ON TV from Grand Central, Forever on 6/7/2022
Fans of the Hallmark Channel and Gilmore Girls will adore this delightful rom‑com about a city girl who goes in search of small-town happiness, only to discover life—and love—are nothing like the TV movies.
Gillian Libby’s FOUR WAYS TO WEAR A DRESS from Sourcebooks on 6/7/2022
Gillian Libby brings you a bright, sexy, and hopeful story about friendship, self-discovery and acceptance, and fighting for your own happiness, even if it looks a little different than everyone else's.
Maya Deane’s WRATH GODDESS SING from HarperCollins/William Morrow on 6/7/2022
Drawing on ancient texts and modern archeology to reveal the trans woman’s story hidden underneath the well-known myths of The Iliad, Maya Deane’s Wrath Goddess Sing weaves a compelling, pitilessly beautiful vision of Achilles’ vanished world, perfect for fans of Song of Achilles and the Inheritance trilogy.
Ava Wilder’s HOW TO FAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD from Bantam Dell/PRH on 6/14/2022
A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.
Chloe Timms’ THE SEAWOMEN from Hodder Studio on 6/14/2022
The Seawomen are taught to be the evils of the deep surrounding Eden's Isle, but in time Esta finds out the real evil is in the hearts of men in this magical, debut novel.
Colleen McKeegan’s THE WILD ONE from HarperCollins/Harper on 6/14/2022
In this dark and twisted coming-of-age thriller, a deadly summer camp secret that binds three women threatens to destroy their adult lives.
Shirlene Obuobi ‘s ON ROTATION from AVON/ HARPER COLLINS on 6/21/2022
For fans of Grey’s Anatomy and Seven Days in June, this dazzling debut novel by Shirlene Obuobi explores that time in your life when you must decide what you want, how to get it, & who you are, all while navigating love, friendship, and the realization that the path you’re traveling is going to be a bumpy ride.
Saara El-Arifi’s THE FINAL STRIFE from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins on 6/21/2022
In the first book of a visionary fantasy trilogy with its roots in the mythology of Africa and Arabiathat “sings of rebellion, love, and the courage it takes to stand up to tyranny” (Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree), three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood.
John Teschner’s PROJECT NAMAHANA from Forge/Macmillan on 6/28/2022
Two men, unified by a string of disappearances and deaths, search for answers―and salvation―in the jungles of Kaua‘I, all the while, exploring the question of how corporate executives could be responsible for evil things without, presumably, being evil themselves.
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Post curated and written by: Anna Kopp