Summer Reading 2021

Summer is here and we’re ready to soak up some sun . . . and books! During our Penguin Teen Social in May, we listed the ten books we’re definitely reading this summer – how many of these are on your TBR?

A Lesson in Vengeance
By Victoria Lee
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593305829 | Delacorte Press
Felicity Morrow is back at the Dalloway School to finish her senior year after the tragic death of her girlfriend. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students – girls some say were witches. Felicity was once drawn to the dark legacy of witchcraft. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; but it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget it. It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway – and in herself.

Aetherbound
By E. K. Johnston
256 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735231856 | Dutton BFYR
Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is story of survival and self-determination. Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.

All Our Hidden Gifts
By Caroline O’Donoghue
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213942 | Walker Books US
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace. Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find – even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.

Instructions for Dancing
By Nicola Yoon
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271234 | Penguin Teen Canada
Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything – including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance
By Nisha Sharma
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780553523294 | Crown BFYR
Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past and reinvent herself from scratch. Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and is an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year. With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.

Rising Like a Storm
By Tanaz Bhathena
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267053 | Penguin Teen Canada
With King Lohar dead and a usurper queen in power, Gul and Cavas face a new tyrannical government that is bent on killing them both. Their roles in King Lohar’s death have not gone unnoticed, and the new queen is out for blood. What she doesn’t know is that Gul and Cavas have a connection that runs deeper than romance, and together, they just might have the strength and magic to end her reign for good. Then a grave mistake ends with Cavas being taken prisoner. Gul is left to train an army of warriors alone. With alliances shifting and the thirst for vengeance growing, the fate of Ambar seems ever more uncertain. It will take every ounce of strength, love, and sacrifice for Gul and Cavas to reach their final goal – and build a more just world than they’ve ever known.

Six Crimson Cranes
By Elizabeth Lim
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300916 | Knopf BFYR
Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother. A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die. Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear – no matter what the cost.

Tell Me When You Feel Something
By Vicki Grant
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270091 | Penguin Teen Canada
It seemed like a cool part-time program – being a “simulated” patient for med school students to practice on. But now vivacious, charismatic Viv lies in a very real coma. Cellphone footage just leads to more questions. What really happened? Other kids suspect it was not an intentional overdose – but each has a reason why they can’t tell the truth. Through intertwining and conflicting narratives, a twisted story unfolds of trust betrayed as we sift through the seemingly innocent events leading up to the tragic night. Perhaps simulated patients aren’t the only people pretending to be something they’re not. . . . The perfect after-school job turns deadly in this contemporary YA thriller that exposes the dark reality of #MeToo in the world of medicine, for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Great Godden
By Meg Rosoff
256 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735268319 | Penguin Teen Canada
This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer. . . . In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents, and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers: irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

Tremendous Things
By Susin Nielsen
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271203 | Penguin Teen Canada
We all have moments that define us. For the comically clueless Wilbur, his moment happened on the first day of middle school, when someone shared his private letter with the entire student body. It revealed some of Wilbur’s innermost embarrassing thoughts that no one else should ever know. Now it’s the start of ninth grade and Wilbur hasn’t been able to escape that major humiliation. His good friend Alex stuck by him, but Alex doesn’t have as much time since he started dating Fabrizio. Luckily, Wil can confide in his best friend: his elderly neighbor Sal. Also, Wil’s in the school band, where he plays the triangle. They’re doing an exchange program with students from Paris, and Wilbur’s billet, Charlie, a tall, chic young woman who plays the ukulele and burps with abandon, captures his heart. Charlie likes him, but only as a friend. So Alex, Fabrizio, and Sal host a Queer Eye-style intervention to get Wil in shape and to build his confidence so he can impress Charlie when their band visits Paris, and just maybe replace humiliation with true romance in the City of Love.

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on Quarantine Reads and Virtual Storytimes

Your Morning VVOur Marketing & Publicity Associate Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about books to read while in quarantine and virtual events to keep kids occupied. Check out our titles from her recommended list below and don’t forget to watch her segment!

AGES 3-7

Studio: A Place for Art to Start
By Emily Arrow
Illustrated by The Little Friends of Printmaking
ISBN 9780735264854 | Hardcover
40 Pages | Tundra Books
In this charming ode to creativity, noted children’s singer and entertainer Emily Arrow introduces readers to the concept of the studio: a place for painters, dancers, singers, actors, sculptors, printmakers . . . and you! Whether it’s a purpose-made space with big windows, a room filled with equipment, or the corner of a bedroom, your studio can be anywhere–you just have to find it! Check out At Home with Emily Arrow on YouTube!

Alma and the Beast
By Esme Shapiro
ISBN 9780735263963 | Hardcover
44 Pages | Tundra Books
Alma lives happily in her hairy world, where she can braid the trees, comb the grass, pet the roof and feed her plumpooshkie butterfly. Until one day . . . a hairless, button-nosed beast appears in the garden!

If I Had a Gryphon
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
ISBN 9781770498099 | Hardcover
32 Pages | Tundra Books
If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them. Keep up with all our virtual story times and events using this handy schedule!

AGES 6-9

Megabat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
ISBN 9780735266957 | Paperback
192 Pages | Tundra Books
The first installment of a sweet and hilarious chapter book series about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

AGES 8-12

The Last Kids on Earth
By Max Brallier
Illustrated by Douglas Holgate
ISBN 9780670016617 | Hardcover
240 Pages | Viking Books For Young Readers
Told in a mixture of text and black-and-white illustration, this is the perfect book for any kid who’s ever dreamed of starring in his or her own comic book or video game. And then grab the rest of the series, now a New York Times bestseller!

The first season of The Last Kids on Earth is available on Netflix now!

AGES 12+

The Blue Castle
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
ISBN 9780735265233 | Paperback
288 Pages | Tundra Books
At twenty-nine, Valancy has never been in love, and it seems romance has passed her by. Then a letter arrives from Dr. Trent–and Valancy decides to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy does and says exactly what she wants. Soon she discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams. Listen to Rachel McAdams narrating Anne of Green Gables for free on Audible.ca!

The Story of Owen
By E.K. Johnston
ISBN 9780823445028 | Paperback
320 Pages | Holiday House
Dragons. In modern day North America. How can sixteen-year-old Owen fight back when he can barely pass algebra? It takes a village to train a dragon slayer, and Owen needs all the help he can get.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Pride Reads 2019

Pride month might be almost over but that doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating! We’ve made a list of some of our recent titles featuring LGBTQ+ characters – check them out below and let us know which ones you’ve read!

BONUS: We put together a #pridemonth playlist for your listening pleasure – we recommend putting it on shuffle and reading (or, let’s be real, dancing) the night away.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Introducing the Penguin 10

Calling all YA readers! We’re excited to introduce you to the only books you need to read this fall – the PENGUIN 10! From contemporary to fantasy, thriller to historical, we have something for everyone and we can’t wait to share these fantastic reads with you starting in September.

Follow along on social media using #Penguin10 to see what other people think!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/penguinteenca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PenguinTeenCa/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/penguinteenca/

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: 5 Things You Need to Know About E.K. Johnston

E.K. Johnston is such a prolific writer, it’s impossible for us to choose a favourite book by her…but The Afterward has been out since February and we’re still gushing about it! Please enjoy this Q&A from E.K. Johnston as well as some random facts about her.

Describe your book in 5 words

Sword, Sorcery, and Student Loans

Which of the characters in The Afterward do you relate to the most?

Kalanthe.

Recommend a book for Kalanthe and Olsa.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Don’t rebel by choosing the school musical over track and field. The musical will never make it to stage, and only, like, five of you will take it seriously.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

Shannon Hale says that writing a first draft is like piling all the sand into the sandbox so that you can make a castle later, and I love that.

What are you reading now?

Catching up on comics! Ms. Marvel and the last Poe Dameron volume.

What books do you recommend to fans of The Afterward?

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
The Scorpion Rules by  Erin Bow

5 Things You Need to Know About E.K. Johnston:

  1. Her archaeological specialties are iron age fortifications in southern Moab and the recovery of human remains
  2. One time she made a cake in the shape of BB-8 that made her famous on Tumblr
  3. She grew up in a small town and only recently has been addressed by her own name on the first try (instead of her sister’s)
  4. She misses L&P (New Zealand), Monte Carlos (Australia), chocolate cake in a can (England), and one particular street food vendor in Busan, South Korea who made these deep fried shrimp with eggs TO DIE FOR
  5. She recently played Mass Effect all the way through and is still in recovery

Add The Afterward on Goodreads here!