Four new books this week and one that looks perfect for the spooky season. Which book will you add to your pile? I’m currently reading Rust in the Root so look out for my review in a few weeks.
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
Balzer + Bray
It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.
Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker
But six months later, she’s got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.
As they’re sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for.
Direwood by Catherine Yu
Page Street Kids
In this velvet-clad 1990s gothic horror, Aja encounters a charming vampire who wants to lure her into the woods—just like her missing sister.
No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through the trees. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too.
Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear—she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, but she’s barely able to resist his enthrallment. And following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. Though Aja plans to kill him before the week is out, Padraic has his own secrets as well.
In the misty woods, Aja finds that Padraic has made his nest with another vampire in a dilapidated church infested by blood-sucking butterflies. Within its walls, the vampires are waited on and entertained by other children they’ve enthralled, but there is no sign of Fiona. Before her bargain is up, Aja must find a way to turn her classmates against their captors, find her sister, and save them all—or be forced to join the very monsters she wants to destroy.
Until We Break by Matthew Dawkins
As the only Black student at her ballet academy, Naomi Morgan knows her feelings of isolation and artistic sacrifice are the price she has to pay in order to win the Youth American Grand Prix, the country’s most prestigious dance competition. Winning means access to a spot in a top ballet school and, ultimately, a place with The New York City Ballet. Nothing else matters.
But when Naomi’s dance instructor assigns her Odette’s variation from Swan Lake, Naomi’s world begins to fall apart. She doesn’t think she can dance the part—and her doubts become the loudest voice in her head. Her best friend, Jessica, used to be her sounding board, her support, her co-star—and even though Jessica died in a freak car accident, Naomi still sees and hears her everywhere.
She’s been burying her grief by focusing on her dancing. But when an injury steals that refuge, Naomi’s mental health deteriorates and she starts to seek answers outside of her carefully constructed reality. Then one night, she meets Saint, a street artist, and he opens up an entirely new world for her. A world that’s not connected to dance.
Saint spends his nights creating brilliant and beautiful messages of social change that the world needs to hear. In their sleepy California town, he wants to mix it up—to force the world to see him as he is—he’s got a voice and isn’t afraid to use it. Even if his family life is tough. Even if the same avenues that are open to Naomi are not open to him.
Together they both learn that there’s no one right way to be in the world. For Naomi, this means that maybe dance isn’t the only choice for her. Maybe her voice can be louder off stage, and she can shine in a different kind of spotlight. Maybe she and Saint will shine together and everything will be different in the best possible way.
What the Fact?: Debunking Disinformation to Detangle the Truth by Seema Yasmin
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
What is a fact? What are reliable sources? What is news? What is fake news? How can anyone make sense of it anymore? Well, we have to. As conspiracy theories and online hoaxes increasingly become a part of our national discourse and “truth” itself is being questioned, it has never been more vital to build the discernment necessary to tell fact from fiction, and media literacy has never been more vital.
In this accessibly-written guide, Dr. Seema Yasmin, an award-winning journalist, scientist, medical professional, and professor, traces the spread of misinformation and disinformation through our fast-moving media landscape and teaches young readers the skills that will help them identify and counter poorly-sourced clickbait and misleading headlines.