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.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Penguin Teen Social #FantasyFriday Panel

On May 29th, we hosted our final #PenguinTeenSocial event – a #FantasyFriday panel! We were joined by five very special authors: Tanaz Bhathena, Patrice Caldwell, Elizabeth Lim, Nicki Pau Preto, and Kathryn Purdie. Scroll down for a list of their most recent releases check out the recorded panel on YouTube!

By Tanaz Bhathena 
384 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN 9780735267022 | Penguin Teen Canada
Release date: June 23, 2020
 
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl—Gul—in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance—and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
 
A Phoenix First Must Burn
Edited by Patrice Caldwell
368 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN 9781984835659 | Viking BFYR
Release date: March 10, 2020
 
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. With stories by: Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Patrice Caldwell, Dhonielle Clayton, J. Marcelle Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, L. L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.
 
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
 
Unravel the Dusk – Don’t forget to catch up with book one, Spin the Dawn!
By Elizabeth Lim
368 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN 9780525647027 | Knopf BFYR
Release date: July 7, 2020
 
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
 
When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
 
Heart of Flames -Don’t forget to catch up with book one, Crown of Feathers!
By Nicki Pau Preto
640 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN 9781534424654 | Simon Pulse
Release date: February 11, 2020
 
The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.
 
Bone Crier’s Moon
By Kathryn Purdie
480 Pages | Ages 14+
ISBN 9780062798770 | Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: March 3, 2020
 
Bone Criers are the last descendants of an ancient famille charged with using the magic they draw from animal bones to shepherd the dead into the afterlife—lest they drain the light from the living.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become their matriarch, but first she must complete her rite of passage: to kill the boy she’s destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Now his vengeance must wait, as Ailesse’s ritual has begun and their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Special thanks to our friends at HCC Frenzy and Simon Teen Canada for helping us put together this amazing panel!


Did you miss any of our #PenguinTeenSocial events this month? You can catch up here! And keep an eye on our Twitter to be the first to learn about upcoming events with the Penguin Teen Canada team.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Indigo’s Best Books for Teens

A while back, Indigo released their 2019 Best Books for Teens list, and we’re stoked to see so many of our faves made the cut! There are books that were on our #Penguin10 list, as well as a few that were included in our #FantasyFriday and #SciFiSaturday campaigns (and even one that was part of #IRLWednesday!), not to mention some we just love in general! How many have you read?

Frankly in Love
By David Yoon
ISBN 9781984812209
14+ | Putnam BFYR

Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong? In this moving debut novel, David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.

Two Can Keep a Secret
By Karen M. McManus
ISBN 9781524714727
14+ | Delacorte Press

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there – and suddenly another girl goes missing.

Wilder Girls
By Rory Power
ISBN 9780525645580
14+ | Delacorte Press

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears.

Spin the Dawn
By Elizabeth Lim
ISBN 9780525646990
12+ | Knopf BFYR

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Aurora Rising
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
ISBN 9781524720964
12+ | Knopf BFYR

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but he’s stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch…not to mention Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space.

The Beautiful
By Renée Ahdieh
ISBN 9781524738174
12+ | Putnam BFYR

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
By Philip Pullman
ISBN 9780553510669
14+ | Knopf BFYR

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought.

Four Dead Queens
By Astrid Scholte
ISBN 9780525513926
12+ | Putnam BFYR

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar who soon finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that leaves the four queens of Quadara dead.

The Things She’s Seen
By Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
ISBN 9781984848789
12+ | Knopf BFYR

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died. Her dad is the only one who can see her and she needs his help to solve a mystery and get him out of his grief.

Blood Heir
By Amélie Wen Zhao
ISBN 9780525707790
12+ | Delacorte Press

This hot debut, perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes, is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

How to Make Friends with the Dark
By Kathleen Glasgow
ISBN 9781101934753
14+ | Delacorte Press

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

American Royals
By Katharine McGee
ISBN 9781984830173
14+ | Random House BFYR

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. This is the story of the American royals.

Gravemaidens
By Kelly Coon
ISBN 9780525647829
14+ | Delacorte Press

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

 

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Fantasy Friday

This past month, we’ve been highlighting our recommended fantasy reads on Instagram and now, for your convenience, we’ve put them together in one blog post! Have you read any of these? Or will you be picking them up?

Wicked Fox – Kat Cho | 9781984812346 | 448 pages

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to men. He’s drawn to her anyway. When he finds her fox bead, he does not realize he holds her life in his hands.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim | 9780525646990 | 416 pages

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A. Craig | 9781984831927 | 416 pages

As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family. Be careful who you dance with. . . .

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last–the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge–and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who–or what–are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family–before it claims her next. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.