March is finally here, which has me rejoicing: the end of winter is finally in sight AND we’ve got a whole new month’s worth of books to read! Let’s take a look:
Black Dove, White Raven, by Elizabeth Wein
Another collage-style historical about flying, friendship, and family—and about how family transcends both blood and race—from the author of Code Name Verity. It’s set in Ethiopia during 1935, during the invasion by Italy. Even if Wein wasn’t an auto-read for me, I’d have picked this one up for the era and the setting—I don’t think I’ve seen another YA novel that covers this event.
The protagonist’s name is Higgs Boson and the book is by Lisa Yee. That’s really all I need to know. (Kirkus gave it a star, too.)
Playing a Part, by Daria Wilke, translated by Marian Schwartz
A story about friendship, bullying, and the far-reaching effects of homophobia and hatefulness set in a puppet theater in modern-day Moscow. As I mentioned recently over at Bookshelves of Doom, this is the first YA novel to be translated from Russian, and was originally released in Russia right around the same time that their LGBT propaganda laws went into effect.
The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma
I’m a sucker for spooky thrillers about ballerinas—not to mention alternating narratives that deal with race and economic class—and I loved Suma’s 17 & Gone, so the fact that this one got a Kirkus star is just gravy.
We All Looked Up, by Tommy Wallach
We had Rapture books in January and February, and this one deals with the end of the world, too—but in a much more practical, asteroid-is-due-to-hit-the-planet-in-two-months sort of way. Four characters alternate narration, Wallach pulls from Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle—suddenly, the fact that I compulsively read and re-read Cat’s Cradle throughout high school puts all of these YA end-times stories into perspective—and Kirkus awarded it a star. I’m there.
Liars, Inc., by Paula Stokes
Max’s best friend—who happens to be the son of a senator—goes missing, and Max finds himself the prime suspect. In addition to giving it a star, Kirkus specifically praises this one for the “misdirection and intrigue” AND the unpredictability of the ending, so I’ve got high hopes.
Written in the Stars, by Aisha Saeed
A Pakistani-American girl defies her parents by attending prom with her secret boyfriend, so they pack her up to visit relatives in Pakistan…where they decide to marry her off. The descriptions of life and culture in Pakistan are supposed to be especially good.
Boys Don't Knit, by T. S. Easton
As so much of what I’ve picked up lately has been dark and broody, a farce with the tagline Meet Ben Fletcher: Accidental Criminal, Liar, Master of Mohair looks like complete bliss.
The Agency 4: Rivals in the City, by Y.S. Lee
I love these historical mysteries so much that every time there’s a new one, I use it as an excuse to re-read all of the previous ones.
Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby
A kidnapping in a small town, fantasy elements side-by-side with realism and lots of quirk. I have heard nothing but raves about Bone Gap; for the storyline, the writing, and the originality, there has been frothy passionate love across the board.
The Tightrope Walkers, by David Almond
Read Between the Lines, by Jo Knowles
Two more authors on my auto-read list, with nothing particular in common with each other beyond being uniformly excellent.
The Bunker Diary, by Kevin Brooks
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, by Teresa Toten
Two award-winners from other countries, now available in the U.S. As you may remember, The Bunker Diary’s Carnegie win was EXTREMELY controversial; and Unlikely Hero won Canada’s 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Children’s Text. I’ve been dying to read both for ages, and I’m so excited that the time is finally NOW.
There are so, SO many more: New books by Lauren Oliver and Andrew Smith, Hannah Moskowitz and E.K. Johnston; historical fiction and fantasy and noir; a story set in a funeral home and one that draws from mythology; two about leaving insular communities; and debuts galore.
SO. EXCITING! What’s on deck for you?
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or running the show at her local library, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while rewatching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.