Sixteen Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jasmine Warga

16 Things About Jasmine Warga

Hello, bookworms! So, I’m back, after a month-long unannounced hiatus. But worry not! I’m fine. In fact, I’m more than fine. Not only did I get to meet Jasmine Warga (a.k.a. one-out-of-four of the Beckminavidera Squad) over the weekend, I also got to hang out with some of my favorite people. Win win!

On Sunday, Warga, together with another beloved author Jennifer E. Smith, treated the Filipino reading community to an afternoon of lovely conversation, some Q&A, and signing in an event hosted by National Book Store. Warga talked about inspiration, wanting to be in conversation with her favorite books, who she wants to direct the My Heart and Other Holes adaptation, as well as which side she’s on in the Great Oreo War. Whether you missed it or were present but too busy fangirling to catch every single information the author said, here are sixteen things we learned about Jasmine Warga from #JenandJasinPH.

She is an Accidental Young Adult Author
And she feels incredibly lucky to have tumbled into it. The author explained, “for me, sort of the character chooses the story, and I can’t see My Heart and Other Black Holes working with any other-aged protagonist. She, [Aysel], always was sixteen.”

She Believes the Best Fiction is Emotionally Honest
“So, even if the things that have happened to my characters haven’t specifically happened to me,” Warga shared. “It’s either a feeling that I’ve wrestled with or a feeling that I’ve spent a lot of time meditating on to hopefully have stretched my empathy muscle enough that it seems true in the book.”

Which Also Means She Writes as a Way to Address Feelings or Questions She Had as a Teenager
…and still as an adult.

She Thinks of Herself Foremost as a Reader
And her writing as an offshoot of how much she loves reading.

‘The History of Love’ Reminded Her of Her Love of Reading and That She Wanted to Write and Be a Part of the Conversation…
Warga picked up Nicole Krauss’ work when she was seventeen, and that sort of set her down a path the same year she read Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Junot Diaz’s Drown.

…And Jandy Nelson Continually Inspires Her
As well as some of her friends in the YA community.

‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ was Optioned For a Film
And when asked to “fan cast,” the author admitted, “I feel like I’m not that familiar with stars that would be like the appropriate age to play the characters.” Then, she went on, “but the thing that would be most important to me is that they’re good at the roles and, for Aysel, it would be really, really important for me that it’s a woman of color playing her.” Although, on the flip side…

She Has a Director and Screenwriter in Mind
They are Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), respectively.

She Didn’t Set Out to Write a Book About Mental Health
When she was writing her debut, she felt like she was just writing Aysel’s story and a story that grappled with all these big questions about what it means to live and what it means to die and what it means to be an unreliable narrator of your own life.

And The Most Emotionally Trying Scene She Has Ever Written Appears in Her Debut
It was during Aysel’s brother’s birthday party and it was heartwrenching because it drew home for her everything she knows about depression and captured everything she was attempting to convey about mental health.

‘Hard to Find’ by The National is the Number One Song She Associates with ‘Here We Are Now’
Especially since she listened to that song a lot on repeat while editing the book.

She was Asked by Becky Albertalli to Write a Freaks-and-Geeks Book with Her
“[Becky] wants me to write this book with her that’s like a freaks-and-geeks style thing. She always jokes that she was a geek in high school and I was a freak in high school. And so she wants to do this book, and she’s kind of mapped it out. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.” (Fingers crossed!)

She Does, However, Want to Collaborate with Someone For a Graphic or Illustrated Novel

She Had Been Surprised That People Think That the ‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ Ending is Open-Ended
“That’s maybe the most definitive conclusion I ever see myself writing.”

She’s Team Adam Silvera, er, Golden Oreo
Well, okay, Warga is more a fruity candy girl (think Skittles). But if she had to take sides, she said she would totally be in Team Golden Oreo. (We love you, Becky Albertalli!)

And Lastly, She Just Turned in the Most Recent Draft of a Book She’s Currently Editing

Thank you, National Book Store, as always for cultivating such an active book culture for the Filipino readers! You guys are awesome! Shout out to JM @ Book Freak Revelations, Hazel @ Stay Bookish, and Inah @ The Bibliophile Confessions, to boot, for being the absolute best! I love y’all! Always. PS. Collagen. Wink, wink.

How was your weekend, beautiful human beings?

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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Thirteen YA Books That Feature POC Leads Coming to You This 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

Before 2014, before the grassroots movement #WeNeedDiverseBooks took off, curating a list of books with people of color as main characters would have been daunting. It would not have been impossible, yes, but not easily manageable either. So for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday—which prompt is pretty loose—I opted to feature POC leads to celebrate how far we’ve come in publishing and at the same time remind everyone that there is still a lot of work to do. And one way we, bloggers, can help is by supporting and promoting diverse titles, by telling those in position that these stories not only matter but also sell.

I’m also listing down thirteen books instead of ten because, well, Paper Fury.

NOTE: The list is in chronological order of publication and I only included those with cover designs.

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

Love, Hate and Other Filters 01   Let's Talk About Love 01   Down and Across 01

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
January 16, Soho Teen

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City—and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
January 23, Swoon Reads

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
January 30, Viking Books for Young Readers

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try—all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

The Belles 01   After the Shot Drops 01   Children of Blood and Bone 01

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
February 20, Disney Hyperion

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
March 6, Houghton Miffin Harcourt

Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir is betrayed. Bunny feels out of place among his new, privileged peers, and Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can’t help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble.

When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision—maybe a dangerous one.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
March 6, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

The Poet X 01   Fire Song 01   The Astonishing Color of After 01

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
March 6, HarperTeen

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones
March 13, Annick Press

How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life?

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.

Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
March 20, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Tyler Johnson was Here 01   Dread Nation 01   Anger is a Gift 01   #Prettyboy Must Die 01

Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles
March 20, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
April 3, Balzer and Bray

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
May 22, Tor Teen

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid
TBD, Tor Teen

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo—along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”—Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

Complement this with Sil @ The Book Voyager’s 2018 Books by Authors of Color/Native Authors.

Now it’s YOUR turn. What upcoming POC-lead books are you most excited about? And also? How gorgeous is the cover for Tyler Johnson was Here?

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

This week’s list includes two of my most anticipated 2017 new releases, as well as a Snow White reimagining that operates as “the departure point for a cautionary tale on post-race ideology, racial limbos and the politics of passing,” a 2014 Stonewall Honor Book, and a handful of debut titles.

NOTE: The list is in no particular order.

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

They Both Die at the End 01   The Wicker King 01   Boy, Snow, Bird 01

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, exposes the Whitman family secret. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

The Victoria in My Head 01   Warbringer 01   Openly Straight 01

The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes
Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

Goodbye Days 01   When Dimple Met Rishi 01   The Temptation of Adam 01   Two Boys Kissing 01

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They’re hoping to set the world’s record for longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be.

Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different.

Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Both of them worry that something will go wrong.

Cooper is alone. It’s getting to the point where he doesn’t really feel things anymore.

I also shared 26 YA titles for your fall TBR list a couple of weeks back, which you might want to check out.

What made it to YOUR list? Link me up; I want to know what everyone’s reading!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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26 YA Books for Your Fall TBR List

Fall 2017 YA Preview

From virtual realities and teen hackers to fairy courts and prodigious artists. From boys who fall for boys and boys who want revenge to girls who fight back against sexism. Whether it’s a debut or a new John Green title, you’ll find something in this season’s line up of new releases.

NOTE: I didn’t include sequels.

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

They Both Die at the End 01   Autoboyography   Warcross 01

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
September 5, HarperTeen

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
September 12, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

Warcross by Marie Lu
September 12, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

You Bring the Distant Near 01   Moxie 01   The Victoria in My Head 01

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
September 12, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
September 19, Roaring Brook Press


Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes
September 19, Simon Pulse

Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
September 26, Margaret K. McElderry Books

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
September 26, Imprint

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
September 26, Simon Pulse

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

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27 Hours by Tristina Wright
October 3, Entangled Teen

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
October 3, Feiwel and Friends

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
October 10, Scholastic Press

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
October 10, Philomel Books

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins—sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
October 10, Simon Pulse

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
October 10, Dutton Books for Young Readers

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
October 17, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
October 17, Crown Books for Young Readers

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
October 17, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

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A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
October 17, Dutton Books for Young Readers

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
October 24, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
October 31, Razorbill

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
October 31, Imprint

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

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The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves
November 7, HarperTeen

Marcos Rivas wants to find love.

He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.

When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

Here We are Now by Jasmine Warga
November 7, Balzer and Bray

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense—kinda—because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father—her grandfather—who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
November 7, Feiwel and Freinds

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
November 7, Sky Pony Press

Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

What is your most anticipated fall new release(s)?

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

3 Practical Ways to Get More Reading Done

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In these times of political turmoil and easy distractions, when many of us constantly find ourselves in heated conversations about presidents* or the recent episode of Game of Thrones, that on top of school or work or both, squeezing in more time to read is increasingly hard. (Whew. That is the longest run-on sentence ever.) But hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean impossible. So for today, I am sharing 3 practical ways to rummage for pockets of time hidden in the corners of the day and get reading. I am also acknowledging that there are endless articles like this that have existed in the interwebs since time immemorial, and I may not have something you haven’t heard in some manner or form before. But hey, what if I have?

Let’s get something out of the way first, shall we? Someone here might be like, oh, I love reading but I have no time, in which case, sorry, George, this list is not for you. This is for people who do want to actively incorporate more reading time in their lives. And please, call off the villagers with their torches. You are a reader if you read, irrespective of quantity and frequency. That is not the point.

Okay. Grab a doughnut or two and let’s talk strategies.

Read on Your Commute
Whether you’re taking the train or bus to work, reading on your commute is probably the easiest—and most recommended—way to get extra reading time in the day. This means you have to carry at least one book wherever you go; you’ll find it’s the one basic rule for all the items in this list. Now, hardbounds are delightful for bookstagram and all, but for the sake of convenience, please bring your good ol’ paperbacks. Or audiobooks** or e-books. Also, maybe read poetry or a collection of short essays since you can neatly break these down into segments and not deal with having to stop in the middle of a climax. It’s about time you pick up Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, which your co-worker had been recommending since Christmas.

Allow Yourself the Wonders of Sprint Reading
I used to be one of those people who cannot—or would not—read for short amounts of time. The idea just seemed ridiculous to me. How can I get into the story? How am I supposed to connect with the MC and his current situation with a scanty 15 minutes? Or, conversely, how do I get back to reality after such a harrowing scene? So I didn’t read at all. Until I realized I was wasting time, precious time I could’ve taken advantage of to make progress with my current read. These days, I’d read while waiting for my students at work or if I happened to arrive early for a coffee date with a friend. I get to read AND overlook someone’s tardiness and there’s really no bad outcome to that. Maybe read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s smart and infinitely eloquent We Should All be Feminists on your next 30-minute break?

Have a Dedicated Reading Time
And protect it. So, back in 2013, I would wake up an hour before I needed to and read. And I know others who read a chapter or two before resigning to bed. It doesn’t have to be a huge parcel of time but you have to treat it with respect. If you decide to set aside 45 minutes between the time you get off school and dinner, it has to actually be for reading. Disconnect from the internet if you have to. Hide your phone in the drawer. Just, read.

At the end of the day, I guess it all comes down to knowing your priorities. If you want to read more, maybe do not rewatch Stranger Things tonight, which you’ve seen thirteen times already anyway. Or be on Twitter less. Whatever works for you. But you have to do it on purpose. You’ll be amazed at how much reading you can get done even if it isn’t Sunday.

*Hint: it’s not just Trump Everything, but it’s mostly Trump Everything.
**Actually, audiobooks are the only option for people who are walking or driving to work. Unless you hire someone to read for you, which, uh, I feel obliged to remind you that that is just a fancy version of an audiobook. Also, how is this poor human to walk? K bye.

Hey yoh, bookworms! Do you practice any of these? Would you like to add something on the list? Let’s talk!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

Ten Books to Diversify Your School’s Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

Wow, it’s been ages since my last Top Ten Tuesday! Where is the handbook for this?

With the recent horrifying incident in Charlottesville and this article and that regarding YA Twitter, lists that talk about diversity in literature are relevant more than ever. And since today’s prompt is all about required reading, I thought I’d tweak it a bit and give you Ten Books to Diversify Your School’s Reading List. Or, you know, the school you graduated from. Because you’re already a 20-something adult. Like me. But I digress! I cannot stress this enough. We still need diverse books and there’s still a lot of work to do. We can start by taking a cue from Kate McKean and “support the things [we] want to exist in the world.” (Hint: one easy way is to request these titles from your local libraries if they don’t already have them. Or if you have the money, maybe it’s time to update your shelves at home.)

NOTE: The list is in chronological order of publication and I included #ownvoices from the information I can find in the internet.

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-AmericanI would like to begin with a work that probably is on your reading list. Although, there’s a good chance that this oft-banned book has been removed from it. So. Call for a repeal!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Mexican-American, gay. By now, you should be well aware of my inexorable love for this breathtaking and breathtakingly poignant story of two Mexican-American boys who learn the wonders and power of friendship.

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nigerian. Allow me to convince you with a quotation from the author herself:

“But by far the worst thing we do to males – by making them feel they have to be hard – is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.
We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.'”

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
African-American, lesbian. Jacqueline Woodson has won multiple awards not for nothing. In Brown Girl Dreaming, she recounts her childhood—growing up as a black girl both in the North and the South—in these beautiful and moving vignettes. The author looks at race, family, self-discovery, and how stories helped her find her voice. It is faintly elegiac but also deeply comforting.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I mean. C’mon. You definitely saw this one coming. It’s about a closeted gay whose identity is at risk of being exposed by a classmate and who is also maybe falling in love with a boy he’s been exchanging e-mails with. But more than anything, it’s a thoughtful, adorable tale of coming out and coming of age with a spot-on voice.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
This National Book Award-winning novel is a keen observation on schizophrenia.

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Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
Lesbian. In 2015, I pronounced this as a title champions of the We Need Diverse Books campaign should be talking about. It’s 2017 and I still often find myself shoving it to people. Intersectional diversity, you guys! Plus, fine storytelling.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
African-American (Reynolds). Police brutality and systemic racism are at the center of this 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Puerto Rican-American, gay. Silvera brings a lot to the table and he’s a name you’d always find in my arsenal of book recommendations. In his latest, he delivers a surprisingly quiet, thoughtful exploration of friendship, grief, love, and loss. His MC also happens to be gay with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

The Hate U Give by Angie C. Thomas
African-American. I have yet to pick this one up but by all accounts from people whose opinion I value, Thomas’ debut is an important contribution to YA.

Complement this with SLJ’s 42 Diverse Must-Have YA Titles for Every Library and Elizabeth Campbell’s 50 Years of Young Adult Literature +.

Have you read any of these? Tell me about your lists!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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Scenes I Need to See in the Simon vs Film

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda 02

It is a truth universally acknowledged that this fanboy is SO stoked for the movie adaption of Becky Alberalli’s debut Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Not only does Simon Spier have the most pitch-perfect of voices, the book also is a 320 pages of adorable. And now that rumors surrounding the actor playing Blue are finally confirmed (do not click the link unless you know who Blue is because spoiler), it is time to put together a list of scenes from the novel fans need to see in the big screen. And by fans, I mean myself.

For hardcore Simonites, you will notice I did not include Garrett’s Halloween Party and The Carnival. Evidences in the form of set photos assure fans we’ll get those. Then again, you probably already know. So, here goes:

1. The Autocorrect Fail.
Simon vs switches between Simon narrating and entries from his e-mails with Blue. One that particularly cracked me up is an entry where Simon e-mails Blue from his phone and, well, autocorrect fail. I won’t share the whole thing but it has the line: “DICK a good guess.” Simon is pretty freaking embarrassed and we need to see Nick Robinson blushing!

2. Simon’s Golden Birthday Plus E-Mail Thread After.
Because sugar high Simon is sugar high Simon and he is a-do-ra-ble. And the cake scene at lunch! People are shameless about cake and we need to see Nick Robinson covered in frosting! I mean, his face. Okay, I need to shut up. I needed to shut up like five minutes ago.

3. Simon Wearing Eyeliner for Oliver!
Because the EYES. So, Simon is in a play called Oliver! And the Friday before opening night, the cast performs a sneak preview for the students of Creekwood High School. Abby applies eyeliner on our boy and the result is EYES. Obviously, we just need to see Nick Robinson framed in close-up shots.

4. Peter and Webster’s.
One of my absolute favorite scenes in the book is when Abby and Nick take Simon to a night out. They go to this “gay bar” restaurant, where Simon meets college student Peter and it is all kinds of cute and flirty! (Shush, I’m still Team Blue. Geez.) But we clearly need to see wasted Nick Robinson! Bonus points for Colton Haynes who plays Kevin. Not a typo. He is the film version of Peter.

5. Really, Just Give Us All the E-Mail Exchanges Between Simon and Blue.
Please and thank you!

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is set to hit theaters on March 16, 2018. Which means you have all the time in the world to catch up. Go pick up a copy and thank me later.

Amazon | IndieBound | Fully Booked

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda 03

So, which scene(s) are you most looking forward to seeing in the big screen? Did I miss your favorite(s)? Do tell me in the comments below!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

The 22 Times We are All Molly Peskin-Suso When We Crush

Molly-Crushing #26
And we crush hard. At least I do.

1. When you’ve had thirty-six crushes and zero kisses.

Molly-Crushing #01

2. When Crush doesn’t know you exist.

Molly-Crushing #02

3. When, on the flip side, Crush is someone you’ve known since middle school.

Molly-Crushing #03

4. When you embarrass yourself in front of Crush by talking asfjklvgwytlqk—

Molly-Crushing #04

5. So you’re like:

Molly-Crushing #05

6. But, of course, your friends wouldn’t let you forget.

Molly-Crushing #06

7. When Crush smiles at you. #whereismychill

Molly-Crushing #08

8. Also:

Molly-Crushing #09

9. And:

Molly-Crushing #10

10. When all your friends are “In a Relationship.”

Molly-Crushing #11

11. When you see Crush is online.

Molly-Crushing #12

12. But seen-zones you. (For whatever reason.)

Molly-Crushing #13

13. When you bullshit your best friend.

Molly-Crushing #14

14. But, really, you’re just being too careful.

Molly-Crushing #15

15. But also:

Molly-Crushing #16

16. When Crush breaks up with Current Partner only to wind up dating someone else.

Molly-Crushing #17

17. When you’re trying to respond to Crush’s iMs.

Molly-Crushing #21

18. Or:

Molly-Crushing #22A

Molly-Crushing #22B

19. When you sit next to Crush in lunch and there’s not much space.

Molly-Crushing #18

20. And so pining becomes real.

Molly-Crushing #19

21. Too real.

Molly-Crushing #20

22. And when you’re trying to read but low key hopes Crush would text.

Molly-Crushing #07

BONUS (from Nadine, one of Molly’s moms): And when you’re finally, FINALLY “In a Relationship” with Crush.

Molly-Crushing #23

Or so you wish. HAHAHAHAHA.

Here, let Cassie, Molly’s twin sister, give you the #realtalk:

Molly-Crushing #24

Molly-Crushing #25

C’mon. You so are a Molly Peskin-Suso when you crush. Which part did identify with the most? Sound off in the comments below!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

Ten Characters who are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

What did William Nicholson once say about reading? We read to know that we’re not alone? I do not presume to speak for the whole populace, but I’m fairly certain this rings true with a lot of readers. A quality decidedly confirmed by the fact that we form immediate connections with characters who either love reading or are writers or work at libraries or bookstores. And having said that, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a double treat on celebrating the reading life. Here are ten fellow book nerds, arranged alphabetically by their first names:

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

Looking for Alaska 02   Fangirl   The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska)

Looking for Alaska 01

Cather “Cath” Avery (Fangirl)

Fangirl 02

Charlie (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower 02

Pride and Prejudice 03   Glaciers 02   To Kill a Mockingbird 01

Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

Pride and Prejudice 02

Isabelle (Glaciers)

Glaciers 01

Jean Louise “Scout” Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

To Kill a Mockingbird 02

Matilda 02   The Magicians 01   A Game of Thrones   All the Bright Places 02

Matilda Wormwood (Matilda)

Matilda 01

Quentin Coldwater (The Magicians trilogy)

The Magician's Land 02

Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire series)

A Song of Ice and Fire 01

Violet Markey (All the Bright Places)

All the Bright Places 03

So. Ultimate question: who do you think shoud’ve made my list? Who would you push out? Do tell!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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Ten Upcoming Books That Celebrate Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

I cannot overstate this: we need diverse books. We need a reality where a queer girl can read her story in books. Where a young Indian (or Filipino or Hispanic) can find heroes that look like him. Where a Muslim is represented regardfully. Where there are published works, both fiction and otherwise, with interracial couples, with parents that are both dads or moms. We need a reality that reflects the reality. Our reality. So it’s on us, readers, to talk about diversity and diverse books. Because by having this conversation, we’re informing publishers and agents that they can actively fish for these stories. That they need to. That they will sell.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday does just that.

The prompt is to list down books that celebrate diversity/diverse characters. But I’m doing a bit of an alteration. Today, you shall have a respite from me gushing over Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda or More Happy Than Not or Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Because although I think one can never talk about books he loves enough, I also think one would benefit from continuously seeking out more. Thus, I’m featuring upcoming titles with a focus on diversity. They are arranged by date of publication.

NOTE: I a opted for books with cover designs and b acknowledge that this list leans on the LGBTQIA+ side. I had a hard time looking for books with racial, socioeconomic and/or religious diversity, which is very telling of the current situation in the industry.

*Click the cover to be directed to the book’s Goodreads page.*

George 01   Cam Girl 01   9780373211753_BB

George by Alex Gino (August 25th, Scholastic Press)
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (October 27th, Harlequin Teen)
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

Cam Girl by Leah Raeder (November 3rd, Atria)
Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art, and her best friend and soulmate, Ellis Carraway. Elle and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets a smooth-talking lothario who offers to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night taking off her clothes on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s all just kinky fun till a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they open up to each other intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. She agrees, because she’s starting to fall for him. And when he asks to meet, she says yes. Because she’s dying to know the real man behind the keyboard.

Even if one of his conditions is to bring Ellis. The girl who wants nothing to do with her anymore.

Now Vada must confront the past she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others, and those she’s been keeping from herself…

Soundless 01   This is Where it Ends 01   We are the Ants 01

Soundless by Richelle Mead (November 10th, Razorbill)
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (January 5th, Sourcebooks Fire)
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m.
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m.
Someone starts shooting.

We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (January 19th, Simon Pulse)
Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

Away We Go 01   Symptoms of Being Human 01   The Great American Whatever 01   Saving Montgomery Sole 01

Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski (February 2nd, Greenwillow Books)
Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted—you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus. No one is expected to live to graduation.

What do you do when you go to a school where no one has a future? Noah Falls, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty spend their time drinking, making out, and playing video games on But when an older boy named Zach (who Noah may or may not be in love with) invites Noah and Marty to join his secret Polo Club, the lives of both boys change as they struggle to find meaning in their shortened existence.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (February 2nd, Balzer + Bray)
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (March 29th, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki (April 19th, Roaring Brook Press)
Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren’t for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High’s Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects.

Then there’s the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having two moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym.

I also want to give shout outs to The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa, Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, which I excluded just because they were recently featured in another TTT. I’ve already read Fans and I definitely, definitely recommend it!

What did I miss? Give me all the recs!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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