Is it too late to put together a short list of the February books I’m looking forward to? Ah well, I’m sorry—that question was clearly disingenuous, because obviously I’ve made the list regardless. There are so, so many new releases to be excited about, and the fact that I have a big pile of them on hand makes the sixteen inches of snow we just got last night feel like a good excuse to hunker down and read, read, read.
Anyway! These are the books I’m especially looking forward to this month:
Piecing Me Together, by Renée Watson
Like the main characters in Lucy and Linh and The Education of Margot Sanchez, sixteen-year-old Jade is one of the few students of color at her prestigious private school. She’s there on economic scholarship, and lives with her mother and her uncle in a part of Portland that most of her classmates wouldn’t ever even dream of setting foot in. While she wants to get out of Oregon more than most anything else—she wants to travel and experience the world, to learn and grow and teach and contribute—she still loves and feels protective about the people and places in her neighborhood. When she gets tapped to be a part of the Woman to Woman mentoring program—which pairs up black students with black entrepreneurs/businesswomen and offers a full-ride college scholarship to all participants who finish the program—her mixed feelings come to a head.
Yes, she appreciates the opportunities that have been offered up. Yes, she knows that not everyone gets them. And yes, she knows that walking away from those opportunities would be cutting off her nose to spite her face. But, still… she’s tired of feeling like a charity case. She wants people to look at her and appreciate how hard she works and how smart she is, what a talented and skilled artist she is and has become, how curious and passionate and driven she is… but she feels that, most of the time, people just look at her and see Poor Black Girl. She’s tired of the well-meaning—usually white, but not always—adults in her life who look at her as Someone To Help, and not Someone With Something To Give.
I just read this one yesterday, and if it’s not on your radar yet, put it there, and STAT. It’s beautifully written, the character work is stellar, the sense of place is outstanding. It’s rich and layered and deals so, so well with friendship and family and working poverty and unfairness and race and art and expectations and code-switching and shame and pride and and and… IT’S JUST PHENOMENAL. Seriously, order it today. Like, right now. Starred review.
Oh, my. I hadn’t meant to write QUITE so much about Piecing Me Together. But it’s such a wonderfully excellent book that I couldn’t help it. I will keep the rest of these descriptions short—ten words or less!
A Season of Daring Greatly, by Ellen Emerson White
First woman drafted into major league baseball!
Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
David Bowie’s Goblin King in Bavaria!
Empress of a Thousand Skies, by Rhoda Belleza
Space opera: impending war, reality star, avenging princess! Starred review.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
I talked about this one here—can’t wait! Starred review.
The Ship Beyond Time, by Heidi Heilig
Sequel to The Girl from Everywhere! Duologies = THE BEST!
The Beast Is an Animal, by Peternelle van Arsdale
Kirkus: ...good choice for readers with Gothic inclinations.
10 Things I Can See From Here, by Carrie Mac
Anxiety and girls falling for girls in Vancouver. Starred review.
A Good Idea, by Cristina Moracho
Murder mystery in small-town Maine.
Long May She Reign, by Rhiannon Thomas
After mass poisoning, king’s fourth cousin once removed becomes queen!
Ronit & Jamil, by Pamela L. Laskin
Verse retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in modern-day Israel.
We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour
Spare story about grief and friendship. Starred review.
American Street, by Ibi Zoboi
Identity, immigration, faith, heritage, and the American Dream. Starred review.
Yeesh, keeping it to ten words is HARD. I don’t envy the folks who write jacket copy.
Anyway, what about you? Are you looking forward to something that I’m missing?
In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom and The Backlist, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.