Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Frenzy Presents Spring Preview at the new HarperCollins Canada office. As always it was a fun day filled with good company, great snacks and of course lots of book talk! Not to mention we got to hear authour, Hadley Dyer talk about her new YA novel Here So Far Away. As per tradition instead of doing a full recap, I thought I’d once again share my top HarperCollins Spring/Summer YA titles picks with you guys. Feel free to let me know in the comments below which books you guys are most looking forward to.
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
So I’m going, to be honest here. I never really got on the Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda bandwagon with the book and so my first Becky Albertalli book was actually The Upside of Unrequited which I liked but didn’t really love. I did, however, adore the movie adaption of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Love Simon which made me really fall for Simon and his group of friends. And while I’m nervous at the thought of Leah and her group of friends drifting apart during their senior year of high school, I am excited for Leah to finally get her own book!
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy – May 8, 2018
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a little girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream of being a newscaster—and to kiss the boy she’s crushing on.
Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend.
When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing that they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
So this was a title that I was fortunate enough to read before the event as an eGalley. I did read Dumplin’ but it just wasn’t for me. Puddin’, however, was an awesome, heartwarming read! I love the female friendships in this book and all the girl power that happens. Pitched as a title that would appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell’s books, I also think this is perfect for those who may not love Rainbow Rowell’s books but are looking for a feel-good read to put them in a happy mood. Look for my review of this one on the blog early next week.
The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?
The friends pile into Umar’s car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way–from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints.
Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle’s address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn’t inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.
So out of all the titles that were presented during the event, this one was my most anticipated title. It’s a summer story of a group of friends who embark on a road trip together to New Orleans. The characters are said to be relatable and hilarious and I like that it tackles the cultural issues along with the usual teenage drama. I also like that the characters are in university as opposed to high school like in most YA novels. This one’s recommended for contemporary fans who’ve enjoyed books like When Dimple Met Rishi. I actually manage to snag an ARC of this one at the event, so if you guys are interested in seeing my review of it on the blog let me know in the comments below.
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning – July 31, 2018
Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.
Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.
For fans of fairy tale retellings and the musical Wicked, Sea Witch is the story of the evil witch in The Little Mermaid (known to Disney fans as “Ursula”). Pretty much every blogger I knew was excited for this one. And while I’m more of a contemporary YA girl myself, the comparison to Wicked (my favourite Broadway musical) in addition to the promise of strong female characters and friendship on top of a revenge plot has me intrigued. And while I’m not really the biggest fan of getting to know the “villians”, I am curious to see Henning’s unique take on the classic story of The Little Mermaid. Not to mention just how awesome and haunting the cover is of this book is! Also recommended for fans of Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series.