Today's Buzz Books list features upcoming young adult and middle grade titles that booksellers around the United States are most looking forward to. Installments on adult fiction and nonfiction ran last week; the series concludes tomorrow with a look at children's and early readers.
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick is the story of a teenage girl named Nanette O'Hare who finds her rebellious streak suddenly ignited after she receives a copy of The Bubblegum Reaper. The book, an out-of-print cult classic, spurs Nanette to seek out and befriend its reclusive author, fall in love with a young poet and break out of her shell. Jill Saginario, bookseller at Papercuts J.P. in Boston, called the novel a cross between J.D. Salinger and John Green and praised the "brilliant and subtle" way Matthew Quick depicts his main character. Every Exquisite Thing will be available on May 31 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Katie Kennedy's debut novel, Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury USA), is an Indies Introduce selection for Summer/Fall 2016. Yuri is a 17-year-old physics prodigy from Russia who has done groundbreaking antimatter research. Scientists have discovered that a huge asteroid is on a course for Earth, and NASA has recruited Yuri to help formulate a plan. The problem, though, is that the other scientists at NASA are not so inclined to listen to a 17-year-old, however smart he may be. As Yuri struggles at NASA, he meets and falls for a normal teenager named Dovie. Learning to Swear in America will hit on July 5.
Kelly Barnhill, author of the acclaimed 2014 novel The Witch's Boy, returns this summer with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. In this YA fantasy, the people of the Protectorate are in fear of a witch living in a nearby forest. Each year they leave a baby as an offering to the witch, not knowing that the witch is in fact kind and gentle and every year brings the offered child to families on the other side of the forest. But one year the witch accidentally imbues an offered child with magical powers, and decides to raise the girl, Luna, herself. As Luna reaches young adulthood, a man from the Protectorate decides to get rid of the witch once and for all. The Girl Who Drank the Moon will arrive on August 9 from Algonquin Young Readers.
Full of Beans (Random House Books for Young Readers) is Jennifer L. Holm's follow-up to her Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise. Set in Key West, Fla., during the Great Depression, Full of Beans focuses on Turtle's cousin Bean. With very few jobs available on the island, Bean and his family attempt to make a living. Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, Ill., said the book "perfectly combines the history of the Depression and the WPA with the story of Bean and his family.... Tons of laugh-out-loud scenes will make this a favorite for middle-grade readers." Look for it on August 30.
In As I Descended (HarperTeen, September 6), author Robin Talley puts a Shakespearean twist on a story of boarding school jealousy and revenge. Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are a determined power couple at a prestigious Southern boarding school called Acheron Academy. They desperately want Maria to win a major, distinguished scholarship, but another student named Delilah seems to be a lock to win it. Maria and Lily begin plotting, dabbling with dark forces said to lurk on the school's grounds, and soon things begin to spiral out of control. Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., commented: "A lesbian retelling of Macbeth set at a Southern boarding school? Yes, please!"
Eisner Award-nominated author and cartoonist Raina Telgemeier returns on September 13 with Ghosts (Graphix/Scholastic). Catrina's little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis, and Catrina and her family are moving to the Northern California coast so Maya can live in a more favorable climate. After arriving at their new home in Bahía de la Luna, Catrina and Maya learn from a neighbor that their town is inhabited by ghosts. Maya is dead-set on meeting one and Catrina doesn't want to risk it, but they're nearing a time of year when the ghosts come to visit their loved ones. "This is sure to be a massive bestseller, and deservedly so," said Hermans at Oblong.
The next book from Newbery Medal and Edgar Award winner Richard Peck is The Best Man. Arriving from Dial Books on September 20, it tells a multi-generational family story with a school as a backdrop. Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop called the book "wonderful," adding that "great characters, laughter and friendship abound in this story about family, growing up and acceptance. A story that only Richard Peck could write."
Karen Fortunati's novel The Weight of Zero, about a 17-year-old girl named Catherine who struggles with bipolar disorder, is another Indies Introduce selection and will be available October 11 from Delacorte Press. Zero is what Catherine calls the crushing depression that her bipolar disorder inflicts on her. Zero has driven Catherine to attempt suicide once, and as she waits for Zero's inevitable return, she begins to plan for another one. But gradually her family, friends and a new course of treatment start to show her that life may be worth living. Hermans of Oblong Books and Music said The Weight of Zero "looks fabulous."
In the world of S.J. Kincaid's new sci-fi novel, The Diabolic, Diabolics are genetically engineered humanoids that serve as bodyguards of the wealthy and powerful. Nemesis is a Diabolic, created to protect Sidonia, the daughter of a galactic senator, at any cost. After the galactic emperor learns that Sidonia's father is planning a rebellion, he orders Sidonia to court to serve as a hostage. To protect Sidonia, Nemesis goes in her stead and begins a dangerous, high-stakes masquerade as the Empire begins to fall apart. Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop likened The Diabolic to a cross between The Hunger Games, House of Cards and I, Robot, and said she was "glued to the last page." It will be out from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 1.
The final book on today's list is The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, the story of two teenagers, Natasha and Daniel, who meet on a busy street in New York City and instantly fall for each other. Natasha is rational and level-headed, and her family is just 12 hours away from being deported. Daniel has always worked hard to live up to his parents' expectations and stifled his desire to be a poet and a dreamer. But after their chance meeting, their lives will utterly change. Christine Onorati, owner of Word Bookstores in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y., picked The Sun Is Also a Star as a YA novel to watch. It will be available on November 1 from Delacorte Press. --Alex Mutter