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Maybe it has been happening every year and I didn’t notice, but this January brought a fabulously large amount of new releases and I am not complaining. Here are a few we’re watching for this week.
The Davenports (The Davenports #1) by Krystal Marquis
The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Two Can Play That Game by Leanne Yong
Allen & Unwin
Sam Khoo has one goal in life: create cool indie games. She’s willing to do anything to make her dream come true – even throw away a scholarship to university. All she needs is a super-rare ticket to a game design workshop and she can kickstart her career.
So when Jaysen Chua, otherwise known as Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket for himself, Sam is left with no choice. It’s war. Knowing all too well how their Australian-Malaysian community works, she issues him an ultimatum: put the ticket on the line in a 1v1 competition of classic video games, or she’ll broadcast his duplicity to everyone. Thank you, Asian Gossip Network.
Meeting in neutral locations, away from the eyes and ears of nosy aunties and uncles, Sam and Jay connect despite themselves. It’s a puzzle that Sam’s not sure she wants to solve. But when her dream is under threat, will she discover that there is more than one way to win?
Play the Game by Charlene Allen
Katherine Tegan Books
In the game of life, sometimes other people hold all the controls. Or so it seems to VZ. Four months have passed since his best friend Ed was killed by a white man in a Brooklyn parking lot.
When Singer, the man who killed Ed, is found dead in the same spot where Ed was murdered, all signs point to Jack, VZ’s other best friend, as the prime suspect.
VZ’s determined to complete the video game Ed never finished and figure out who actually killed Singer. With help from Diamond, the girl he’s crushing on at work, VZ falls into Ed’s quirky gameiverse. As the police close in on Jack, the game starts to uncover details that could lead to the truth about the murder.
Can VZ honor Ed and help Jack before it’s too late? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant
Balzer + Bray
Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
The Black Queen by Jumata Emill
Nova Albright was going to be the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High—but now she’s dead. Murdered on coronation night. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and The Other Black Girl will love this unputdownable thriller.
Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends rehabilitating.
Tinsley McArthur was supposed to be queen. Not only is she beautiful, wealthy, and white, it’s her legacy—her grandmother, her mother, and even her sister wore the crown before her. Everyone in Lovett knows Tinsley would do anything to carry on the McArthur tradition.
No one is more certain of that than Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett. For Duchess, Nova’s crown was more than just a win for Nova. It was a win for all the Black kids. Now her best friend is dead, and her father won’t fact the fact that the main suspect is right in front of him. Duchess is convinced that Tinsley killed Nova—and that Tinsley is privileged enough to think she can get away with it. But Duchess’s father seems to be doing what he always does: fall behind the blue line. Which means that the white girl is going to walk.
Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt. And to do that, she’ll have to get close to her.
But Tinsley has an agenda, too.
Everyone loved Nova. And sometimes, love is exactly what gets you killed. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Promise Boys by Nick Brooks
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
The Urban Promise Prep School vows to turn boys into men. As students, J.B., Ramón, and Trey are forced to follow the prestigious “program’s” strict rules. Extreme discipline, they’ve been told, is what it takes to be college bound, to avoid the fates of many men in their neighborhoods. This, the Principal Moore Method, supposedly saves lives.
But when Moore ends up murdered and the cops come sniffing around, the trio emerges as the case’s prime suspects. With all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. But is the true culprit hiding among them? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
How to Be a (Young) Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi & Nic Stone
The New York Times bestseller How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is shaping the way a generation thinks about race and racism. How to be a (Young) Antiracist is a dynamic reframing of the concepts shared in the adult book, with young adulthood front and center. Aimed at readers 12 and up, and co-authored by award-winning children’s book author Nic Stone, How to be a (Young) Antiracist empowers teen readers to help create a more just society. Antiracism is a journey–and now young adults will have a map to carve their own path. Kendi and Stone have revised this work to provide anecdotes and data that speaks directly to the experiences and concerns of younger readers, encouraging them to think critically and build a more equitable world in doing so. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
One Girl In All The World (In Every Generation #2) by Kendare Blake
Into every generation, a slayer is born. One girl in all the world . . . maybe.
Frankie Rosenberg is the world’s first slayer-witch, but she doesn’t have that slay-life balance figured out just yet. After all, being the newest slayer means that another slayer had to die. Frankie and the Scooby gang are still reeling from the deadly explosion that rocked the annual slayer retreat―and grappling with new evidence that some slayers may have made it out alive. And even though they defeated bloodthirsty vampire the Countess, it doesn’t mean Sunnydale is free from the forces of evil.
Something has reawakened the Hellmouth―and is calling old friends home. Someone is performing demon magic in the shadows, opening portals between dimensions. Everyone has demons to contend with―of the metaphorical and the very real (occasionally very hot) variety. And an oracle warns of a new evil on its way: the Darkness.
Could this be what attacked the slayers? And is it coming for Frankie? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
The Cartographers by Amy Zhang
Ocean Wu has always felt enormous pressure to succeed. After struggling with depression during her senior year in high school, Ocean moves to New York City, where she has been accepted at a prestigious university. But Ocean feels so emotionally raw and unmoored (and uncertain about what is real and what is not), that she decides to defer and live off her savings until she can get herself together. She also decides not to tell her mother (whom she loves very much but doesn’t want to disappoint) that she is deferring—at least until she absolutely must.
In New York, Ocean moves into an apartment with Georgie and Tashya, two strangers who soon become friends, and gets a job tutoring. She also meets a boy—Constantine Brave (a name that makes her laugh)—late one night on the subway. Constant is a fellow student and a graffiti artist, and Constant and Ocean soon start corresponding via Google Docs—they discuss physics, philosophy, art, literature, and love. But everything falls apart when Ocean goes home for Thanksgiving, Constant reveals his true character, Georgie and Tashya break up, and the police get involved.
Ocean, Constant, Georgie, and Tashya are all cartographers—mapping out their futures, their dreams, and their paths toward adulthood in this stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding the strength to control your own destiny. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads