While I'm at it, here's ANOTHER storify: me live-tweeting the 2016 offerings from Abrams Kids:
Watching for these:
My Kind of Crazy, by Robin Reul: Boy accidentally sets lawn on fire during a prom proposal, gets blackmailed by local pyromaniac, romance ensues. I feel that this has the potential to be either really fun or really problematic. WE SHALL SEE.
Wild Swans, by Jessica Spotswood: Girl comes from a family in which all of the women do amazing things... and die young. So she's grown up with that hanging over her head. But then her long-lost mother shows up again with two daughters in tow, and she finds out it's all a lie.
Anything You Want, by Geoff Herbach: Herbach is a joy to read for voice alone, but this one is about an unplanned pregnancy, which I feel like we haven't seen a lot of lately, so.
Dear Nobody : The True Diary of Mary Rose, edited by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil: On the one hand, due to Go Ask Alice, I always give YA "true diaries" a big ole side eye—and it sounds like this one covers a lot of the same territory. On the other, it is edited by the authors of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. So... maybe?
Twisted, by Hannah Jayne: Daughter of a possible serial killer tries to escape her past; it doesn't work. The killer—maybe her father, maybe not—comes to town, and the police want to use her as bait. (I always find that storyline hard to buy, but hard to resist?)
The Assassin Game, by Kirsty McKay: Secret society at a prep school plays Assassin... FOR REALSIES.
Don't Get Caught, by Kurt Dinan: ANOTHER secret society, this one centered around pranks and con games. I'm in.
Books I've got my eye on:
The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig: Debut novel about a girl who has grown up on a time-traveling pirate ship—and whose father is obsessed with finding a way back to the time before her mother died giving birth to her. Part of a duology, diverse book, #ownvoices title.
The Land of Forgotten Girls, by Erin Entrada Kelly: Middle grade about sisters from the Philippines who are abandoned by their father with their stepmother in Louisiana, leaving them hope-hope-hoping that the childhood stories that their mother told about her sister Jove are true, and that she'll come to sweep them away to a life of affection and adventure. Diverse book, #ownvoices. I've already read this one, and it's funny and sad and has a fantastic voice and I loved it so much that I immediately ILLed Blackbird Fly by the same author.
This Is Where the World Ends, by Amy Zhang: While this one looks like it might head straight over into heartbreak-gutpunch territory, I loved Zhang's writing in Falling into Place, so I SHALL GIVE IT A TRY.
A Drop of Night, by Stefan Bachmann: I'm always looking for new YA horror, and this one involves a long-hidden underground palace—it dates back to the French Revolution—full of booby-traps. Yes, PLEASE.
Meet Me Here, by Bryan Bliss: An story set on the night of high school graduation, in which a boy grapples with deciding whether or not to enlist. Up-all-night-big-decision stories always make me think of American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, and I am always here for that.
This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab: IT'S BY VICTORIA SCHWAB GIVE IT HERE.
The Turtle of Oman, by Naomi Shihab Nye: Middle grade about a boy who is informed that his family is moving from Oman to Michigan, and who most decidedly does NOT want to go—he doesn't want to leave his friends, his school, his grandmother. His parents call her in, and she brings him on a series of adventures to both celebrate and say goodbye to home.
Any other Greenwillow titles I should be watching for?
I haven't done one of these in a while, but Flatiron's got a couple of books out this spring that I'm REALLY looking forward to, so I figured it would be worth looking to see what else they've got on deck:
If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo: HAVE YOU PRE-ORDERED IT YET? I WILL CONTINUE TO NAG YOU.
Famous Nathan: A Family Saga of Coney Island, the American Dream, and the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog, by Lloyd Handwerker: The only thing that could make this book MORE up Josh's alley is if it had some murders in it.
American Girls, by Alison Umminger: I love this one so much that I'm quoted in the catalog—"Furious, elegiac, emotionally honest, and ultimately hopeful. We'll be talking about this one for a long, long time."
Caraval, by Stephanie Garber: Recced to fans of the The Lunar Chronicles and The Night Circus, so worth a look!
Every time I go through another catalog, I want to take a few weeks off, hide at home, and read and read and read.
Into the Grey, by Celine Kiernan:
Identical twin brothers move to a new town, one of them promptly gets possessed by the ghost of ANOTHER twin who’s searching for his OWN brother. Historical fiction, lots of family drama, it sounds meaty and original and just GOOD.
Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta: HOW HAVE I NOT READ THIS? I think I'm even quoted in it, for Pete's sake.
The Glass Mountain: Tales from Poland, by David Walser and Jan Pieńkowski: Polish fairy tales? Jan Pieńkowski illustrations? YES, PLEASE.
Egg & Spoon, by Gregory Maguire: BABA YAGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Evil Librarian, by Michelle Knudsen:
How’s that for an irresistible title? Witty wallflower takes on a hottie soul-sucking demon librarian who wants to make her best friend his child-bride. The description alone has me Happy Dancing around the room.
Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant: They edit it, I read it.
Vango, by Timothée de Fombelle: Translated from French! Historical fiction set in 1934 Europe! A young man about to become a priest suddenly finds himself on the run! Mystery! Secrets! A zeppelin!
Animalium, by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott: THIS BOOK LOOKS GORGEOUS. THAT IS ALL.
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France, by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno: BEN FRANKLIN VS. DR. MESMERRRRRRRRRR!
The Agency: Rivals in the City, by Y. S. Lee: I LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH I CAN'T EVEN. Historical mysteries about a spy agency that takes advantage of systemic sexism—after all, no one expects WOMEN spies in Victorian England. Bonus points for romance and secrets and an ongoing thread about the heroine—whose father was a Chinese sailor—passing as white while considering the pros and cons of revealing her ethnicity versus hiding it forever. SO GOOD.
Read Between the Lines, by Jo Knowles: Another author on the She Writes It, I Read It list. I love her.
The Tightrope Walkers, by David Almond: Coming of age in northern England, about a boy being pulled in two very different directions by two very different peers. Almond's accessibility varies from book to book, but I always really love his writing, so.
The Maine Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers, by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White: I WILL READ IT ALOUD TO LEMON. (And then she will probably chew on it, but better it than me.)
Emu, by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Graham Byrne: THE COVER, IT KILLS ME.
Eden West, by Pete Hautman:
...Hautman because he switches things up so often that I never know what to expect. The Kirkus review of Eden West is lackluster, but it’s received strong praise elsewhere—I’m going to pick it up and decide for myself.
Spots in a Box, written and illustrated by Helen Ward: A guinea fowl isn't happy with his spots, so he sends away for new ones in the mail. COULD IT BE THE ANTI-RAINBOW FISH? Wow, I hope so.
Ship of Dolls, by Shirley Parenteau: I admit it, it's all about the cover art. And the fact that the heroine's mother is a singer in a San Francisco speakeasy.
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates and Tom Gates: Excellent Excuses (and Other Good Stuff), written and illustrated by L. Pichon: I've seen this one referred to as the British Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Obviously I must investigate!
Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins?, by Liz Kessler: I love, love, love the idea of "slightly superheroes".
Seen and Not Heard, written and illustrated by Katie May Green: A picture book about paintings of dead children... who come alive. I MUST SEE IT.
Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo: No, I still haven't read it. Yes, I'm aware that that makes me a kidlit failure. (Is it going to make me cry? I keep putting it off because I'm Worried About Crying.)
The Princess in Black, by Shannon Hale: I keep trying to borrow the library copy, BUT IT'S ALWAYS OUT.
The Golden Day, by Ursula Dubosarsky: It sounds totally Picnic at Hanging Rock-y, and I OWN IT AND I CAN'T FIND IT. IT IS DRIVING ME UP THE WALL, MAYBE I SHOULD JUST BUY ANOTHER COPY.
Fallout, by Todd Strasser: Only one family in the neighborhood builds a fallout shelter, and when push comes to shove—literally—a whole bunch of the other neighbors force their way in before the owners can shut the door. Suddenly, the carefully rationed air and water and food isn't nearly enough, and tensions are getting higher... AUUUUGH WHY IS THIS NOT IN MY HANDS?
William & the Missing Masterpiece, written and illustrated by Helen Hancocks: I ADORED Penguin in Peril, so I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to this one. The illustration of William—WHO IS A CAT DETECTIVE, I KID YOU NOT—on the Vespa is just... I might keel over from the awesome.
The New Small Person, written and illustrated by Lauren Child: A picture book about a new child in the family... and the protagonist's name is ELMORE. I want it.
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton: IT'S A PICTURE BOOK ABOUT MICROBES, WHAT MORE COULD I WANT OUT OF LIFE?
Books I've written about and/or read:
I'm My Own Dog, by David Ezra Stein: THIS BOOK. I can't even flip through it without cracking up. I've read it, like, eight times since we got it in at the library. NOT EVEN FOR STORYTIME, JUST BECAUSE IT MAKES ME LAUGH.
X: A Novel, by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon: A chronicle of Malcolm X's pre-Malcolm X days. I loved this one. I loved the period detail, I loved reading about Malcolm Little, the person, rather than about Malcolm X, the icon and activist—for me, sometimes the story of someone's journey towards Something Big is more fascinating than the story about the Something Big.
Stories like this—fictionalized biographies and biopics—can be super dicey, because so much is left to the discretion and interpretation of the author(s), but this one had tons of back matter, as well as a note explaining that they'd drawn heavily from his journals and letters and so on. So, so good—I wouldn't shut up about it for days after finishing it.
Theseus and the Minotaur, by Yvan Pommaux:
Patron: <semi-patronizingly> But if it's for kids, they have to leave out all of the good stuff, like the Minotaur's origin story.
Me: *shrieks* WRONG! VOILA! *flips pages madly* ANNNNNNND BOOM!:
Jumping Off Swings and Living with Jackie Chan, by Jo Knowles: I read both of these back-to-back recently, and GOOD LORD that made me want to get her entire backlist and read everything all over again. She's so fantastically excellent. So rich, so layered, so beautifully written, and—especially in the case of Living with Jackie Chan—so, so empathetic, given that she was working with a character who so could easily have been demonized. OUTSTANDING. OUTSTANDINGGGGGGGG.