Top New Books in September 2020

 

Night Shine by Tessa Gratton 

Type: Novel 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books 
Release date: Sept. 8

Den of Geek says: We’re all about crossovers between fantasy and YA here, and this looks like a good stepping stone for a kid who is just about ready to start reading high fantasy. The prose style is slow and deliberate as the author tells a tale of romance, kidnapping, and friendship.

Publisher’s summary: In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince.

 

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Type: Novel in Verse
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Release date: Sept. 1

Den of Geek says: Authors like Tochi Onyebuchi have taken hold of the moment to write political novels about incarceration in the last few years. This mix of poetry and prose adds to that genre with real world experience from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam.

Publisher’s summary: The story that I thought was my life didn’t start on the day 

I was born  

 

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.  Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?  

 

Gold Wings Rising (The Skybound Saga) by Alex London 

Type: Novel
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Release date: Sept. 1

Den of Geek says: It’s always nice to see a fantasy series that moves away from the staple creatures, even if I love dragons, and this series replaces them with ghostly birds that give it a horror movie flavor.

Publisher’s summary: The war on the ground has ended, but the war with the sky has just begun. After the Siege of the Six Villages, the ghost eagles have trapped Uztaris on both sides of the conflict. The villagers and Kartami alike hide in caves, huddled in terror as they await nightly attacks. Kylee aims to plunge her arrows into each and every ghost eagle; in her mind, killing the birds is the only way to unshackle the city’s chains. But Brysen has other plans.While the humans fly familiar circles around each other, the ghost eagles create schemes far greater and more terrible than either Kylee or Brysen could have imagined. Now, the tug-of-war between love and power begins to fray, threatening bonds of siblinghood and humanity alike.

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

 

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

Type: Novel
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 
Release date: Aug. 4

 

Den of Geek says: Described as atmospheric and salt-soaked, this F/F romance might be a good introduction to readers who want to switch from post-apocalyptic YA to dark fantasy. 

Publisher’s summary: A gripping, dark LGBT YA fantasy about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island.

Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. 

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice. 

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other as water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice.

 

Type: Novel 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: April 7

Den of Geek says: YA romance, and digital age romance in particular, can easily come off as cheesy or derivative. But this ‘love triangle between two people’ looks like a twist on relationships and online identity, plus the coziness of a crush story. 

Publisher’s summary: There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels. 

 

 

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