New Releases

A great mix of new releases this week that make it hard to choose which exactly one I will buy for myself to celebrate making it to spring break. What would you choose?

A Crown So Cursed (The Nightmare–Verse #3) by L.L. McKinney

In the third book in L.L. McKinney’s Nightmare-Verse trilogy, Alice gets one last chance to save Wonderland from itself.

Alice and the gang are trying to recover from recent events—but members of her crew start having weird dreams. The same dreams. It seems the evil in Wonderland may not be as defeated as they thought—because someone’s building an army of Nightmares to attack the mortal world. But before Alice jumps into battle, she discovers she has a personal connection to Wonderland, and she must face what it means for the fight ahead. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

The book cover has a background of alternating orange and yellow shades of arches above the head of a young Black woman with hoop earrings. Her hair is in braids at the top of her head and curls below that. Her chin is slightly lifted and she is glancing a bit to the side.The Making of Yolanda la Bruja by Lorraine Avila
Levine Querido

Yolanda Alvarez is having a good year. She’s starting to feel at home Julia De Burgos High, her school in the Bronx. She has her best friend Victory, and maybe something with Jose, a senior boy she’s getting to know. She’s confident her initiation into her family’s bruja tradition will happen soon.

But then a white boy, the son of a politician, appears at Julia De Burgos High, and his vibes are off. And Yolanda’s initiation begins with a series of troubling visions of the violence this boy threatens. How can Yolanda protect her community, in a world that doesn’t listen? Only with the wisdom and love of her family, friends, and community – and the Brujas Diosas, her ancestors and guides.

The Making of Yolanda La Bruja is the book this country, struggling with the plague of gun violence, so desperately needs, but which few could write. Here Lorraine Avila brings a story born from the intersection of race, justice, education, and spirituality that will capture readers everywhere. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

The background has colorful spotlights behind two different young women. At the top there is woman holding a cell phone with an antenna. She has long straight hair and is wearing a buttoned up cardigan. She is upside down. There is a title that is also upside down written in script in white. The other title is in print and is black. The woman on the bottom is wearing a jean jacket over a black tank top. She has short hair and is wearing airpods.Throwback by Maurene Goo
Zando Young Readers

Back to the Future meets The Joy Luck Club in this YA contemporary romance about a Korean American girl sent back to the ’90s to (reluctantly) help her teenage mom win Homecoming Queen.

Being a first-generation Asian American immigrant is hard. You know what’s harder? Being the daughter of one. Samantha Kang has never gotten along with her mother, Priscilla—and has never understood her bougie-nightmare, John Hughes high school expectations. After a huge fight between them, Sam is desperate to move forward—but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.

To her shock, Sam finds herself back in high school . . . in the ’90s . . . with a 17-year-old Priscilla. Now this Gen Z girl must try to fit into an analog world. She’s got the fashion down, but everything else is baffling. What is “microfiche”? What’s with the casual racism and misogyny? And why does it feel like Priscilla is someone she could actually be . . . friends with?

Sam’s blast to the past has her finding the right romance in the wrong time while questioning everything she thought she knew about her mom . . . and herself. Will Sam figure out what she needs to do to fix things for her mom so that she can go back to a time she understands? Brimming with heart and humor, Maurene Goo’s time-travel romance asks big questions about what exactly one inherits and loses in the immigrant experience. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

The book cover has the title in bright hot pink capital letters. Through the text, there is a cobbled street lined with pastel buildings. There's a young girl with shoulder length dark hair. She is wearing a yellow dress and walking away from the reader. She also has a purse that she's wearing across her body with a long strap.Viva Lola Espinoza! by Ella Cerón

A debut young adult novel that’s BOOKSMART with a dash of magic, about a Mexican American teen who spends the summer in Mexico City, meets two very cute boys, attempts to learn Spanish, and uncovers a family secret that changes her life forever.

Lola Espinoza is cursed in love. Well, maybe not actually cursed — magic isn’t real, is it? When Lola goes to spend the summer with her grandmother in Mexico City and meets handsome, flirtatious Rio, she discovers the unbelievable truth: Magic is very real, and what she’d always written off as bad luck is actually, truly . . . a curse. If Lola ever wants to fall in love without suffering the consequences, she’ll have to break the curse. She finds an unlikely curse-breaking companion in Javi, a seemingly stoic boy she meets while working in her cousin’s restaurant. Javi is willing to help Lola look into this family curse of hers, and Lola needs all the help she can get. Over the course of one summer — filled with food, family, and two very different boys — Lola explores Mexico City while learning about herself, her heritage, and the magic around us all. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

The title is in the center. Below it, the image is of the back of a young woman with long dark hair wearing a dress walking between bare trees into a light sky with birds flying. This image is upside down. The top half of the book is dark with a young man walking towards the viewer. There are buildings behind him and birds flying in the mist near his legs.Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Candlewick Press

Deftly leading readers to the literary crossroads of contemporary realism and haunting mystery, Cynthia Leitich Smith revisits the world of her American Indian Youth Literature Award winner Hearts Unbroken. Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He’s excited to take part in the fun, spooky show—until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an “Indian maiden,” a ghost inspired by local legend, will headline. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House. A creepy man is stalking teenage girls and young women, particularly Indigenous women; dogs are fretful and on edge; and wild animals are behaving strangely. While Hughie weighs how and when to speak up about the bigoted legend, he and his friends begin to investigate the crossroads and whether it might be haunted after all. As Moon rises on All Hallow’s Eve, will they be able to protect themselves and their community? Gripping and evocative, Harvest House showcases a versatile storyteller at her spooky, unsettling best. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads 

Ooops! We missed a book last week. What do you think of this new release?

An illustrated cover that almost looks like a pink woodcut. It features a girl from the shoulders up with long hair. Her eyes are closed and she is mostly turned away from the viewer. Flowers surround her head, and where the back of her head should be are the silhouettes of two girls, one looking like she's falling backward and the other to catch her.Forget Me Not by Alyson Derrick
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

A romantic ode to the strength of love and the power of choosing each other, against odds and obstacles, again and again.

What would you do if you forgot the love of your life ever even existed?

Stevie and Nora had a love. A secret, epic, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. They also had a plan: to leave their small, ultra-conservative town and families behind after graduation and move to California, where they could finally stop hiding that love.

But then Stevie has a terrible fall. And when she comes to, she can remember nothing of the last two years—not California, not coming to terms with her sexuality, not even Nora. Suddenly, Stevie finds herself in a life she doesn’t quite understand, one where she’s estranged from her parents, drifting away from her friends, lying about the hours she works, dating a boy she can’t remember crushing on, and headed towards a future that isn’t at all what her fifteen-year-old self would have envisioned.

And Nora finds herself…forgotten. Can the two beat the odds a second time and find their way back together when “together” itself is just a lost memory?