Tundra Telegram: Books that Got Game

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we dig into the topics readers are talking about and recommend some recent great books to continue the process.

Last week – Thursday, June 16, to be precise – the 2022 NBA Finals were decided, as the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in the sixth game of the series. Immediately, the Pistons in our mind started firing, and just like Magic – and in the Knick of time – we had an idea. Spurred by the NBA championships, we’re thinking basketball.

So, spend some (hang) time with us as we recommend basketball books for yourself or the young ballers in your life. These are books with moves so smooth they’d make the Harlem Globetrotters shout “Sweet Georgia Brown!” And you can find most of them with nothin’ but ‘Net (the Internet, that is – you can find them in bookstores, too). Best of all, there’s not a single brick among them.

PICTURE BOOKS

What better book to start your reading with than one by the actual 2022 NBA Finals MVP (and pride of Akron, Ohio), Stephen Curry? I Have a Superpower, illustrated by Geneva Bowers, fictionalizes Curry’s own journey to the NBA to inspire the next generation of go-getters and big dreamers. The book teaches kids you don’t have to be the strongest, fastest, or even tallest kid out on the court – any goal is achievable through hard work. heart, and determination. No capes required!

If you want to get a kid who loves b-ball into phonics, Actiphons: Billy Basketball is the book for you. Actiphons is a series of stories that help the youngest readers practice 70 letter sounds – each with its own fun character and action. And the hero of this book, Billy Basketball, is not feeling well – on the injury roster – but he would rather not rest and play basketball outside. Don’t overdo it, Billy!

Like to learn a little history with your literature? You might like Basketball Belles: How Stanford, Cal, and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy and Matt Collins. The book depicts the birth of women’s basketball by telling the story of Agnes Morley and the first ever inter-collegiate women’s basketball game in April 1896 (University of California at Berkeley vs. Stanford), an event that garnered national attention and put women’s basketball on the map.

Canadian hero Terry Fox may be known for long-distance running, but – as Terry Fox and Me by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Milan Pavlovic reveals – Fox had a lifelong love of basketball. He was reportedly a terribly player at first, but met childhood friend Doug, who noticed Fox’s his characteristic strength, determination, and loyalty – even at a young age. Doug helped Terry practice his hoops until he earned a spot on the team. And the rest is history . . . just not basketball history.

A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories by John Martz may not have a lot of basketball content, but in one of the wordless stories, Tim does try his paw at basketball. Let’s just say he’s no Air Bud.

CHAPTER BOOKS

If you’re into basketball, you’re going to want to learn about the giants of the NBA, so you should start with Kirsten Anderson and Dede Putra’s Who Is Michael Jordan? to learn about the legendary Chicago Bull who changed the game. And follow that up with Ellen Labrecque and Gregory Copeland’s Who Was Kobe Bryant? to read about the career and legacy of the iconic Los Angeles Laker.

MIDDLE GRADE

Ben Hardy is new in school and thinks he can make an impression with the cool kids with a harmless prank in the very funny My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner. Only problem is, his prank ends up causing the school’s mascot to break their ankle! And so Ben, in some cruel and unusual punishment, is sentenced to serve as the mascot – a giant potato – during the school’s final basketball games. Can Ben hide the fact he’s under the big potato skin and maintain his cred?

Combining the fast-paced action of the NBA playoffs with dynamic photos and poetry? It’s not Kurtis Blow‘s “Basketball,” but Hoop Kings 2: New Royalty. Poet Charles R. Smith has written a dozen poetic odes to the superstars of the NBA like Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin, filled with more wordplay than a Kevin Harlan broadcast. Want to read some verse extolling the virtues of The Beard, James Harden. Of course you do!

And few children’s authors write sports like Mike Lupica, who turns his attentions to the court with No Slam Dunk. Wes is a player who tries to live by his father’s words and be a good teammate, sharing the ball and the spotlight. But his team’s new point guard, all-star Danilo “Dinero” Rey has different ideas. He always the ball and the attention, even if it costs his team the game. Wes will need to figure out a way for them to work together to emerge victorious.

YOUNG ADULT

Tons of Toronto teens have hoop dreams, and that’s true of fifteen-year-old Regent Park native Fawad Chaudhry in H. N. Khan’s YA novel Wrong Side of the Court. He wants to be the first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. He just needs to get over his father’s death, avoid an arranged marriage to his cousin, dodge his bully Omar, and reconnect with his grieving friend Yousuf first. Oh, and make the school team, too!

Maybe Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson’s fun and pulpy teen murder mystery The Agathas doesn’t scream basketball to you. But the prime suspect in the case of a girl’s disappearance is Steve, the school’s basketball star and – coincidentally . . . or not? – ex of heroine (and one of the “Agathas” who uses the works of Agatha Christie to solve the mystery) Alice Ogilvie. We’re not going to pretend you’ll read about anyone putting three in the key in this book, but it’s basketball adjacent!

And just because this year’s champions were the Golden State Warriors, we had to mention Namina Forna’s blockbuster The Gilded Ones. Not a single bounce pass is made in Forna’s epic fantasy, but the book’s protagonist, Deka, does join an army of girls whose blood runs gold during their culture’s blood ceremony. They sound like Warriors fans to us!

Tundra Telegram: Books That Do a Li’l Turn on the Catwalk

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we dig into the subjects on readers’ minds and recommend some recent great books to continue the discussion.

This past Monday was the Met Gala – ostensibly a fundraiser for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, but more widely known as “Fashion’s Biggest Night.” The theme in 2022 is “The Gilded Age” (not to be confused with the new HBO show by the same name), and while we didn’t see Rihanna as a bejeweled pope or Katy Perry as a hamburger, there were some notable fashions, like Blake Lively‘s reversible gown and Ashton Sanders‘s vampire steampunk look.

If you want to read some books that delve as deeply into high fashion and serving lewks, we have some recommendations for you. But whatever you read, as Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”

PICTURE BOOKS

With such fans as InStyle magazine and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, the picture book Mitford at the Fashion Zoo by Donald Johnson, the fashion illustrator and a creative director at Estée Lauder, should be on your list of fashion picture books. Part Zootopia, part The Devil Wears Prada, Mitford’s story is both a fashion satire and inspirational tale of following your dreams.

But there’d be no fashion without the textiles used to make those gorgeous gowns and thrilling threads. And Julie KraulisA Pattern for Pepper follows Pepper as she journeys through notable patterns and their origins – pinstripe, houndstooth, ikat, toile, and more – in her effort to make a dress for a special occasion (not unlike the Met Gala).

If Lady Gaga’s 2019 Brandon Maxwell gown was one of your favorite Gala look in recent years, Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad’s Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli will probably intrigue you. Schiaparelli, known for turning art into fashion and for her imaginative designs, invented the color shocking pink (among other things). And you’ll learn that and more in this lyrical picture book biography.

MIDDLE GRADE

There are few better guides to fashion than Canada’s own Jeanne Beker. The FashionTelevision correspondent, style columnist, and Canada’s Next Top Model judge wrote Passion for Fashion: Careers in Style, illustrated by Nathalie Dion, as an introduction to the fashion industry and career guide, with information and profiles of agents, designers, models, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, publicists, journalists, fashion illustrators, creative directors, fashion show producers, color specialists, personal shoppers, and more!

The couture outfits of the Met Gala are one thing, but Fashionopolis: The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear by Dana Thomas, looks at the social issues surrounding fast fashion and its impact on the environment and social justice. If you ever wondered how designer jeans ended up in your local mall, this book is a helpful tool.

In the mood for fiction instead? Look no further than Lakita Wilson’s Be Real, Macy Weaver, a funny and fashion-filled story of friendship. Macy is fresh from a friend breakup and a move when she meets Brynn, a smart girl who seems to have her whole life figured out – right down to her future as a high fashion model. That’s when one small fib turns Macy’s life into one of dazzling dresses and glamour – like a Met Gala Junior High!

As Lee Pace could tell you at the 2021 Met Gala, The Swag Is in the Socks. And that’s the name of a novel by Kelly J. Baptist, in which young Xavier learns about the power of some out-there socks, and the importance of swagging out and speaking up.

YOUNG ADULT

If you’re looking to marry your love of high fantasy and high fashion, Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim has you covered. A teenage girl, Maia, poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and enters a cutthroat competition to sew three magic dresses – from the sun, the moon, and the stars. If that sounds like a cosmic version of Project Runway, you’re not wrong! (And check out the sequel, Unravel the Dusk.)

One thing the Met Gala excels in is showing a little skin. This very idea propels Marya Cuevas and Marie Marquardt’s Does My Body Offend You?, a story about two teenagers who join forces to fight the school’s dress code and find friendship, despite their different backgrounds.

Okay, so Namina Forna’s bestselling and blood-soaked fantasy The Gilded Ones may not have a lot to do with fashion, but it is an incredible tale filled with warrior women, and the title just fits the theme so well.

There is no shortage of reality TV stars and social media influencers found at the Met Gala, from Kendall Jenner to Addison Rae, which makes Raziel Reid’s Followers another perfect YA pick. This over-the-top satirical romp follows a naïve teenager thrown into a back-stabbing world of reality television, designer labels, and tabloid gossip.

MTL YA Fest 2022

It’s one of our favourite times of the year: MTL YA FEST is happening tomorrow, Sunday, May 1, 2022! We’re thrilled to be sponsoring some amazing authors on the lineup, make sure to register for the fest at this link and don’t forget to tune in!

Can’t make it tomorrow? Don’t worry! Once you sign up you will have access to the recorded panels!

A.R. Capetta at 11:30 am

The Heartbreak Bakery
By A.R. Capetta
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536216530 | Candlewick
Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. And everyone who eats Syd’s breakup brownies . . . breaks up. Even Vin and Alec, who own the Proud Muffin. And their breakup might take the bakery down with it. Being dumped is one thing; causing ripples of queer heartbreak through the community is another. But the cute bike delivery person, Harley (he or they, check the pronoun pin, it’s probably on the messenger bag), believes Syd about the magic baking. And Harley believes Syd’s magical baking can fix things, too – one recipe at a time.

Adib Khorram at 3:30 pm

Kiss & Tell
By Adib Khorram
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593325261 | Dial Books
Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful breakup with his first boyfriend – leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all – and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens. But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the star of the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble – for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself.

Alexandra Leigh Young at 11:30 am

Idol Gossip
By Alexandra Leigh Young
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213645 | Walker Books US
Every Friday after school, seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong to sing karaoke. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, her only musical outlet is vamping it up in a private karaoke booth to an audience of one: her loyal sister. Then a scout for Top10 Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop companies, hears her and offers her a spot at their Star Academy. Can Alice navigate the culture clashes, egos, and extreme training practices of K-pop to lead her group onstage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans – and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way. . . . This debut novel is about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true. It will speak to fans of K-pop and to anyone who is trying to take their talents to the next level.

Christina Soorntornvat at 12:30 pm

The Last Mapmaker
By Christina Soorntornvat
368 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204957 | Candlewick
In a fantasy adventure every bit as compelling and confident in its world building as her Newbery Honor Book A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat explores a young woman’s struggle to unburden herself of the past and chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman – and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets. When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands – a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining – she must weigh the cost of her dreams. Vivid, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, this tale of identity and integrity is as beautiful and intricate as the maps of old.

Gavriel Savit at 10:00 am and 10:30 am

The Way Back
By Gavriel Savit
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781984894656 | Ember
For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living. But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe – just maybe – find a way to make it back alive.

H.N. Khan at 11:30 am

Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270879 | Penguin Teen Canada
Fifteen-year-old Fawad Chaudhry loves two things: basketball and his mother’s potato and ground-beef stuffed parathas. Both are round and both help him forget about things like his father, who died two years ago, his mother’s desire to arrange a marriage to his first cousin, Nusrat, back home in Pakistan, and the tiny apartment in Regent Park he shares with his mom and sister. Not to mention his estranged best friend Yousuf, who’s coping with the shooting death of his older brother. But Fawad has plans: like, asking out Ashley, even though she lives on the other, wealthier side of the tracks, and saving his friend Arif from being beaten into a pulp for being the school flirt, and making the school basketball team and dreaming of being the world’s first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. All he has to do now is convince his mother to let him try out for the basketball team. And let him date girls from his school. Not to mention somehow get Omar, the neighborhood bully, to leave him alone.

Huda Fahmy at 12:30 pm

Huda F Are You?
By Huda Fahmy
192 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593324318 | Dial BFYR
Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can’t rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn’t a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She’s not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She’s miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it’ll take finding out who she isn’t to figure out who she is.

Judith Eagle at 12:30 pm

The Pear Affair
By Judith Eagle
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217032 | Walker Books US
Penelope Magnificent spends as little time as possible with her awful parents — a grocery-mogul father and a fashion-obsessed mother who loves expensive purses more than she does her daughter. But when they mention an important trip to Paris, Nell begs to come along. Paris holds something very dear to her: her old au pair Perrine – Pear – who lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week, promising to come to her rescue, but recently the letters stopped. With the help of a savvy bellboy named Xavier, Nell sets out from her parents’ ultra-fancy Parisian hotel to find her beloved Pear. But Pear’s old neighbors and coworkers are strangely tight-lipped. And as Nell’s search for the truth takes her and Xavier to some of the darkest, most mysterious parts of the city, a sinister plot comes to light involving the destruction of a cherished – and delicious – part of Parisian life. Food, fashion, and intrigue abound in this delightful caper from the author of The Secret Starling.

Julian Winters at 3:30 pm

Right Where I Left You
By Julian Winters
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593206478 | Viking BFYR
Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where – despite his social anxiety – he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi – Isaac’s old crush – distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

Karen M. McManus at 1:30 pm

You’ll Be the Death of Me
By Karen M. McManus
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593175866 | Delacorte BFYR
Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out from working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again. So when the three unexpectedly run into each other, they decide to avoid their problems by ditching. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say. . . until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school – and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse. It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common . . . like a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something. Could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

Kekla Magoon at 1:30 pm

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People
By Kekla Magoon
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536214185 | Candlewick
In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers’ story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members – mostly women – and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens. Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon’s eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers’ history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.

Kristen R. Lee at 1:30 pm

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
By Kristen R. Lee
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593309155 | Crown BFYR
Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sights were set on an HBCU, but when she is accepted to the ivy-covered walls of Wooddale University on a full ride, how can she say no? Wooddale is far from the perfectly manicured community it sells on its brochures, though. Savannah has barely unpacked before she comes face to face with microaggressions stemming from racism and elitism. Then Clive Wilmington’s statue is vandalized with blackface. The prime suspect? Lucas Cunningham, Wooddale’s most popular student and son of a local prominent family. Soon Savannah is unearthing secrets of Wooddale’s racist history. But what’s the price for standing up for what is right? And will telling the truth about Wooddale’s past cost Savannah her own future? A stunning, challenging, and timely debut about racism and privilege on college campuses.

Namina Forna at 2:30 pm

The Merciless Ones
By Namina Forna
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984848727 | Delacorte Press
It’s been six months since Deka has freed the goddesses and discovered who she really is. There are now wars waging across the kingdom. Oterans now think jatu are traitors to the nation. Deka is called a monster. But the real battle has only just begun and Deka must lead the charge. Deka is tasked with freeing the rest of the goddesses. Only as she begins to free them, she begins to see a strange symbol everywhere in places of worship and worn on armor. There’s something unnatural about that symbol; just looking at it makes Deka lose her senses. Even worse, it seems to repel her powers. She can’t command or communicate with the new deathshrieks. In fact, she can’t even understand them when they speak. Deka knows freeing the goddesses is just the beginning. She can tell whatever dark force out is powerful and there is something sinister out there threatening the kingdom connected to that symbol – something merciless – that her army will need to stop before humanity crumbles. But Deka’s powers are only getting stronger . . . and her strongest weapon could be herself.

Natasha Bowen at 2:30 pm

Skin of the Sea
By Natasha Bowen
320 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593120941 | Random House BFYR
Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata – a mermaid – collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home. But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable – she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it. To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . . Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

Natasha Preston at 1:30 pm

The Fear
By Natasha Preston
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593125014 | Delacorte BFYR
It’s just a stupid meme that’s going around their small fishing town in the dead of winter – people reposting and sharing their biggest fear. But when her classmates start turning up dead – dying in the way that they said scared them the most – Izzy knows it’s no joke. With each death hitting closer to home, Izzy sets out to try to stop the killer. Could her older sister’s friend Tristan have something to do with the deaths? He’s given her some strange vibes. Or what about his brooding cousin, Axel? But he’s in her classes at school. He’s not a murderer . . . is he? Izzie’s soon on a path that will lead her right to the killer . . . and her own worst nightmare.

Nathan Page & Drew Shannon at 1:30 pm

The Montague Twins #2: The Devil’s Music
By Nathan Page
Illustrated by Drew Shannon
320 Pages | 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780525646815 | Knopf BFYR
Alastair, Pete, Charlie, and Rachel aren’t just magical teen detectives in their coastal town of Port Howl – they are also members of a local teen rock band. Before a show one night, Charlie and Rachel meet a famous rockstar, Gideon, and invite him to their show. He’ll never come, but why not try, right? Little do they know, Gideon does show up, and he brings the threads of his dark past with him. In fact, he might even be the source of the rumored Devil’s Music, a limited-release song that entrances all of its listeners in a deadly hypnosis. When Pete quickly gets drawn into Gideon’s web, it’s up to his brother and friends to save him. But Pete might not be the only Montague Twin at risk for Gideon’s spell . . . .

Vanessa L. Torres at 11:30 am

The Turning Pointe
By Vanessa L. Torres
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593426135 | Knopf BFYR
When sixteen-year-old Rosa Dominguez pirouettes, she is poetry in pointe shoes. And as the daughter of a tyrant ballet Master, Rosa seems destined to become the star principal dancer of her studio. But Rosa would do anything for one hour in the dance studio upstairs where Prince, the Purple One himself, is in the house. After her father announces their upcoming auditions for a concert with Prince, Rosa is more determined than ever to succeed. Then Nikki – the cross-dressing, funky boy who works in the dance shop – leaps into her life. Weighed down by family expectations, Rosa is at a crossroads, desperate to escape so she can show everyone what she can do when freed of her pointe shoes. Now is her chance to break away from a life in tulle, grooving to that unmistakable Minneapolis sound reverberating through every bone in her body.

Wab Kinew at 2:30 pm

Walking in Two Worlds
By Wab Kinew
296 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269002 | Penguin Teen Canada
Bugz is caught between two worlds. In the real world, she’s a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe. Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers. And as their connection is strengthened through their virtual adventures, they find that they have much in common in the real world, too: both must decide what to do in the face of temptations and pitfalls, and both must grapple with the impacts of family challenges and community trauma. But betrayal threatens everything Bugz has built in the virtual world, as well as her relationships in the real world, and it will take all her newfound strength to restore her friendship with Feng and reconcile the parallel aspects of her life: the traditional and the mainstream, the east and the west, the real and the virtual.

Spring-Summer 2022 Sequels

Some of our fave books have sequels coming out this year and we can’t wait to get back into those worlds. Here are some of the ones we’ve read and loved so far:

Akata Woman
By Nnedi Okorafor
416 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451480583 | Viking BFYR
From the moment Sunny Nwazue discovered she had mystical energy flowing in her blood, she sought to understand and control her powers. Throughout her adventures in Akata Witch and Akata Warrior, she had to navigate the balance between nearly everything in her life – America and Nigeria, the “normal” world and the one infused with juju, human and spirit, good daughter and powerful Leopard Person. Now, those hard lessons and abilities are put to the test in a quest so dangerous and fantastical, it would be madness to go . . . but may destroy the world if she does not. With the help of her friends, Sunny embarks on a mission to find a precious object hidden deep in an otherworldly realm. Defeating the guardians of the prize will take more from Sunny than she has to give, and triumph will mean she will be forever changed.

Bound by Firelight
By Dana Swift
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593124253 | Delacorte Press
After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals – many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay. Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante . . . but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources – a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk. Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already . . . Now, can they save themselves?

Crimson Reign
By Amélie Wen Zhao
496 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525707875 | Delacorte Press
The Red Tigress, Anastacya Mikhailov, has lost the gift she was only beginning to realize defined her. Stolen from her during the battle in Bregon, her blood Affinity rests with Sorsha Farrald, a dangerous Affinite who is on the run, headed straight to Cyrilia and to Ana’s aunt . . . the Empress Morganya. Thought she is weakened, Ana’s course remains true – yet her return to her homeland reveals a Cyrilia on the brink of collapse. Morganya’s tyrannical rule has transformed into a sinister quest for unquestioned authority, and she has set her sights far beyond Cyrilia. Morganya seeks a legendary ancient power, rumored to have once belonged to the Deities themselves. If she can locate it, she can rule the world. What’s more, Ana’s allies, the insurgent Affinite rebels known as the Redcloaks, no longer support her. For their allegiance is with the people – and there can be no equality with a monarchy. Ana faces enemies at every turn, and every day without her Affinity brings her closer to death. Yet she is determined to liberate her people and vanquish the legacy of her own imperial bloodline the inequality sewn into the fabric of her land. Her only hope lies in the navy she recruited in Bregon, the courage of her band of friends, and the cunning crime-lord-turned-captain she’s fallen for. If Ana loses this fight, it will be her last. And Morganya’s reign of darkness with consume the world.

In the Serpent’s Wake
By Rachel Hartman
512 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780385685917 | Penguin Teen Canada
Tess has a mission from the Queen: sail across the oceans to the bottom of the world and prevent a war. Unbeknownst to the Queen, Tess also intends to find the last World Serpent – a once-mythical creature with the magical ability to heal her best friend Pathka from a life-threatening injury. Tess never was one to follow the rules and this self-assigned mission feels like her duty, her calling, her destiny. Destiny has other ideas. When someone from Tess’s past makes a surprise return, old wounds are cracked open, throwing her mission – both the Queen’s and Tess’s personal agenda – into complete disarray. What’s more, Tess’s personal pain is intertwined with a history greater than her own and the mending of it threatens the delicate balance of the entire Southlands. Tess was sent on this journey to prevent a war, but she may be starting one of her own.

The Montague Twins #2: The Devil’s Music
By Nathan Page
Illustrated by Drew Shannon
320 Pages | 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780525646815 | Knopf BFYR
Alastair, Pete, Charlie, and Rachel aren’t just magical teen detectives in their coastal town of Port Howl – they are also members of a local teen rock band. Before a show one night, Charlie and Rachel meet a famous rockstar, Gideon, and invite him to their show. He’ll never come, but why not try, right? Little do they know, Gideon does show up, and he brings the threads of his dark past with him. In fact, he might even be the source of the rumored Devil’s Music, a limited-release song that entrances all of its listeners in a deadly hypnosis. When Pete quickly gets drawn into Gideon’s web, it’s up to his brother and friends to save him. But Pete might not be the only Montague Twin at risk for Gideon’s spell . . . .

And here are three coming out soon (but not soon enough)!

Rivals
By Katharine McGee
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593429709 | Random House BFYR
Beatrice is queen, and for the American royal family, everything is about to change. Relationships will be tested. Princess Samantha is in love with Lord Marshall Davis – but the more serious they get, the more complicated things become. Is Sam destined to repeat her string of broken relationships . . . and this time will the broken heart be her own? Strangers will become friends. Beatrice is representing America at the greatest convocation of kings and queens in the world. When she meets a glamorous foreign princess, she gets drawn into the inner circle . . . but at what cost? And rivals will become allies. Nina and Daphne have spent years competing for Prince Jefferson. Now they have something in common: they both want to take down manipulative Lady Gabriella Madison. Can these enemies join forces, or will old rivalries stand in the way?

The Gifts That Bind Us
By Caroline O’Donoghue
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536222227 | Walker Books
It’s senior year, and Maeve and her friends are practicing and strengthening their mystical powers, while Maeve’s new relationship with Roe is exhilarating. But as Roe’s rock star dreams start to take shape, and Fiona and Lily make plans for faraway colleges, Maeve, who struggles in school, worries about life without them – will she be selling incense here in Kilbeg, Ireland, until she’s fifty? Alarm bells sound for the coven when the Children of Brigid, a right-wing religious organization, quickly gains influence throughout the city – and when its charismatic front man starts visiting Maeve in her dreams. When Maeve’s power starts to wane, the friends realize that all the local magic is being drained – or rather, stolen. With lines increasingly blurred between friend and foe, the supernatural and the psychological, Maeve and the others must band together to protect the place, and the people, they love.

The Merciless Ones
By Namina Forna
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984848727 | Delacorte Press
It’s been six months since Deka has freed the goddesses and discovered who she really is. There are now wars waging across the kingdom. Oterans now think jatu are traitors to the nation. Deka is called a monster. But the real battle has only just begun and Deka must lead the charge. Deka is tasked with freeing the rest of the goddesses. Only as she begins to free them, she begins to see a strange symbol everywhere in places of worship and worn on armor. There’s something unnatural about that symbol; just looking at it makes Deka lose her senses. Even worse, it seems to repel her powers. She can’t command or communicate with the new deathshrieks. In fact, she can’t even understand them when they speak. Deka knows freeing the goddesses is just the beginning. She can tell whatever dark force out is powerful and there is something sinister out there threatening the kingdom connected to that symbol – something merciless – that her army will need to stop before humanity crumbles. But Deka’s powers are only getting stronger . . . and her strongest weapon could be herself.

Which sequels are you waiting for??

Staff Picks: Favorite Teen Books from 2021

2021 was . . . a year, but at least we got some great reading done! After a lot of thought, we came up with our top two favorite books of the year (and it was very hard!).

Dark and Shallow Lies
By Ginny Myers Sain
432 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593403969 | Razorbill
La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide. This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World – and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey’s best friend, disappeared six months earlier. Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something – her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave. When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou – a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town’s bloody history – Grey realizes that La Cachette’s past is far more present and dangerous than she’d ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent – and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.

Hunting by Stars
By Cherie Dimaline
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735269651 | Penguin Teen Canada
Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up – or are re-opened – across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams. Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is – and what it will take to escape. Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers – school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go – and how many loved ones is he willing to betray – in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

Iron Widow
By Xiran Jay Zhao
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269934 | Penguin Teen Canada
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected – she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way – and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

From Little Tokyo, With Love
By Sarah Kuhn
432 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593327487 | Viking BFYR
If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale – being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business – she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills, and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold. All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness – searching for clues that Grace is her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with cute actor Hank Chen, and maybe . . . finally finding a sense of belonging. But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

Prom House
By Chelsea Mueller
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593180051 | Underlined
Release Date: May 4, 2021
What happens when the best night of your life turns into the worst? Full of menace and suspense, this is an unputdownable thriller – and a trade paperback original! Ten people share a prom house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend. Every one of them has a secret . . . and when they begin to die one by one, panic ensues. Could somebody’s prom date also be . . . a killer?

Walking in Two Worlds
By Wab Kinew
296 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269002 | Penguin Teen Canada
Bugz is caught between two worlds. In the real world, she’s a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe. Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers. And as their connection is strengthened through their virtual adventures, they find that they have much in common in the real world, too: both must decide what to do in the face of temptations and pitfalls, and both must grapple with the impacts of family challenges and community trauma. But betrayal threatens everything Bugz has built in the virtual world, as well as her relationships in the real world, and it will take all her newfound strength to restore her friendship with Feng and reconcile the parallel aspects of her life: the traditional and the mainstream, the east and the west, the real and the virtual.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By Crystal Maldonado
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447176 | Holiday House
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing – he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it’s time people did.

The Gilded Ones
By Namina Forna
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984848697 | Delacorte BFYR
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity – and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki – near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be – not even Deka herself.