We’ve got six books on our radar this week! Did we miss anything? What’s on your TBR list?
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it.
After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for.
But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.
And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.
Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…
Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Where the Rhythm Takes You is a romantic, mesmerizing novel of first love and second chances. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
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 about her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with a cute actor, 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? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.
With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Hannah, a Korean American girl from Queens, New York, and Angel, a Puerto Rican boy from Brooklyn, fall in love in the spring of 1993. Hannah, who comes from a strict Korean home, meets Angel, a free and beautiful boy, at a quinceañera:
Beyond flushed, sweating bodies pushed,
pushing like cattle below black & buzzing speakers, under a torn pink streamer
loose as a tendril of hair–lush–
his eyes. Darkluminous. Warm. A blush floods her.
Hannah sucks in her breath, but can’t pull back.
Music fades. A hush
he’s a young buck in the underbrush,
still in a disco ball dance of shadow & light
Their forbidden love instantly and wildly blooms along the Jackie Robinson Expressway.
Told in seasons Angel & Hannah holds all of the tension and cadence of blank verse while adding dynamic and expressive language, creating new kinds of engrossing and magnetic forms. The hip-hop sonnets and poems are dynamic, arresting, observant, and magical, conveying the intimacies and sacrifices of love and addiction and the devastating realities of struggle and loss.
Committed to cultural details and the vernacular of Queens and Brooklyn, this is a hip-hop love story, not of the Capulets and the Montagues, but two New York City kids trying to survive and grow within their families and communities, driven by an all-consuming love. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Even though it’s during Ramadan, a month of fasting and spiritual devotion, A and Z can’t help spending any and all free time with each other. Enter parents and their idea for a nikah at the end of Ramadan, on Eid day itself.
Which would appear to be the greatest Eid gift of all — except that, unbeknownst to each other, A and Z have been working on spectacularly surprising Eid gifts for the other all along.
The only thing? In true “The Gift of the Magi” fashion, these Eid gifts are at complete odds with the other. Along with a nikah day over-run with “benevolent” family interferences, A and Z are up for either recording this Eid as the best one ever, as a real marvel…or as a completely upsetting oddity.
WHEN IT TAKES PLACE:
The Eid Gift is a part of the Love from A to Z storyline; it occurs shortly before the epilogue. (If you haven’t read Love from A to Z yet, please consider doing so before reading this story—some of what occurs will not make sense otherwise.)
SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND:
While there’s nothing explicit in the story, it is more mature than S. K. Ali’s previous YA novels—there’s more physical touch here than in Love from A to Z— so readers are asked to exercise awareness of their reading comfort zones. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads