With the start of Book Expo America looming ever closer, Shelf Awareness is taking a look at this year's bumper crop of new titles. Our multi-part series on upcoming books--which began with installments on hot summer and fall fiction and nonfiction--was put together with the help of publishers and independent booksellers. Today we look at exciting young adult and middle grade titles coming later this year (and tomorrow we'll delve into titles for children and early readers).
In stores on September 1, Nicola Yoon's hotly anticipated debut novel, Everything, Everything (Delacorte), is an Indies Introduce pick for summer/fall 2015. It is the story of Madeline, a teen with allergies so severe she hasn't left her house in 17 years. The only people Madeline ever sees are her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse, until a new family moves in next door. From her window she sees Olly, a boy dressed entirely in black, and a complex relationship begins to develop. The story is told in a variety of formats, including prose, illustrations, charts and lists, and Yoon will be signing at both BEA and BookCon. Suzanna Hermans, the co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., said it looks like a "totally heartbreaking, one-sitting read."
Shadowshaper, set for release on June 30 from Arthur A. Levine Books, marks urban fantasy author Daniel José Older's first foray into the YA world. Older's past work includes Half-Resurrection Blues, Salsa Nocturna and the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which he co-edited. His newest book tells the story of Sierra Santiago, a young artist in Brooklyn. One summer she discovers that she has the ability to shadowshape, or imbue art with the power of ancestral spirits. But as she learns to use this new-found ability, she also learns of a killer that's tracking down other shadowshapers, and might be targeting her next. "Beautiful writing and a wonderful plot make this book a must-read," said Clarissa Hadge, assistant bookstore manager at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston, Mass. "This is the book that I'll be shoving into everyone's hands this summer."
Bestselling author David Levithan returns this summer with Another Day (Knopf). In stores on August 25, Another Day is the companion to his 2012 novel Every Day, which told the story of a teenager who wakes up every morning in the body of a different person but falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon. Another Day retells their story from Rhiannon's perspective. Levithan will be signing at both BEA and BookCon, and will be part of a We Need Diverse Books program at BookCon. Carolyn Anbar, children's room manager and buyer at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., picked it as an exciting summer book for teens and adults.
Rainbow Rowell's Carry On (St. Martin's Griffin) is another follow-up to a beloved YA title. Due out on October 6, Carry On is the companion to her 2013 bestseller Fangirl, about a young woman named Cath whose love of the fictitious Simon Snow series has guided her through her childhood and adolescence. Carry On is set entirely in the Harry Potter-esque world of Simon Snow, and recounts Snow's last year at the Watford School of Magicks. "It's a bit of a departure for her," said Hermans of Oblong Books & Music. "This is the first actual fantasy that she's written. I'll read anything she writes. I'll especially read this." Rowell will be at BEA, signing special editions of Fangirl that include an excerpt from Carry On.
Another promising YA debut, and another Indies Introduce pick for summer/fall 2015, is Moïra Fowley-Doyle's The Accident Season (Kathy Dawson/Penguin). Likened to E. Lockhart's 2014 novel We Were Liars, The Accident Season tells the story of 17-year-old Cara and her family. Every October, they find themselves inexplicably prone to accidents, ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to life-threatening injuries. As another October approaches, Cara gets the feeling that this accident season will be particularly brutal, and she begins to unravel the dark family secret behind the accident season. Anne Holman, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, said she expects big things from The Accident Season when it reaches stores on August 18.
Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown) is a Middle Grade Indies Introduce pick for summer/fall 2015. Benjamin was the co-author of Positive, a memoir by HIV-positive teen Paige Rawl, and the young readers' edition of Tim Howard's memoir The Keeper. The Thing About Jellyfish, slated for release on September 22, is her first dive into fiction. It is the tale of Suzy, who loses her best friend in a drowning accident. She becomes convinced that her friend died because of the sting of a rare jellyfish, and soon Suzy sets out on a journey to find proof. Hermans of Oblong Books & Music said it looks like the "perfect mix of sad and wonderful for middle grade."
Circus Mirandus (Dial Books) is Cassie Beasley's debut middle-grade novel and yet another Indies Introduce Pick. Hitting stores on June 2, Circus Mirandus is about a young boy named Micah Tuttle. Ephraim, Micah's grandfather, has told Micah countless stories about the magical Circus Mirandus. Among its wonders are an invisible tiger, a birdwoman and a powerful magician called the Man Who Bends Light. As Ephraim nears death, he offers Micah proof that the circus is real, and that the magician owes him a miracle. With the help of his friend Jenny Mendoza, Micah sets off on a journey to find the circus and save his grandpa. Laura Donohoe, children's and YA buyer at Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, N.C., called Circus Mirandus "one of those rare books that completely captures the heart and imagination."
The final entry on today's list is Alex Gino's upcoming middle-grade novel George (Scholastic). On the outside, George looks like a 10-year-old boy, but George identifies as a girl. She's kept her identity a secret from virtually everyone and thinks she'll have to keep it that way forever, until a staging of Charlotte's Web is planned for her class. George wants to play the role of Charlotte, and with the help of her friend Kelly, she plans to get the part and let her whole class know who she really is. Caitlin Baker, a bookseller at University Book Store in Seattle, Wash., called George "truly groundbreaking." The book is in stores on August 25. --Alex Mutter