The Spring 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the titles on the Spring 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Kids’ White Box.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the winter publishing season and an additional 42 titles organized by age group. All Indie Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The top 10 Kids’ Indie Next List titles are also available on downloadable shelf-talkers.

The nomination deadline for the Summer 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List is April 15, 2019. The list will focus on titles published between May 1 and July 30, 2019. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

The Spring 2019 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top Ten

1. SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780670012107, $17.99, available March)
“Laurie Halse Anderson invites readers not to speak but to shout in her new poetry memoir, a long-awaited follow-up to her bestselling YA novel Speak, which centers around a survivor of sexual assault. In SHOUT, Anderson shares memories from her young adulthood when she herself was raped and how she found the strength to keep going. Between autobiographical poems lie fierce rants about rape culture and censorship, as well as love letters and encouragement to survivors of sexual assault. SHOUT is a fist raised to the sky, arriving on the heels of #MeToo and urging readers to never be silenced. A must-read.” —Mary Wahlmeier, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

2. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062498564, $18.99)
“For her sophomore book, Thomas gives us a heroine — Brianne — who is struggling against both her family’s expectations as well as those of white people as she tries to make her way doing what she loves: rapping. We follow her through ups and downs as she navigates racism at her school and the expectations of black girls in the music world. Excellently written and incredibly unputdownable, you will cheer and cry as Bri makes her way!” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

3. To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Meg Wolitzer
(Dial Books, 9780525553236, $17.99)
“If there is a word that perfectly sums up this book, it has to be ‘adorable.’ Bett and Avery are NOT friends, but when they discover their dads are dating and sending them to summer camp together, they conspire via e-mails and letters to split the dads up and get out of going to camp together. What ends up happening is much more than anyone could have imagined. This book is everything you want in a middle-grade novel: sweet, humorous, adventurous, and packed with wonderful characters. It is also just a beautiful story about families and relationships. Cuddle up with this one!” —Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

4. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
(Wednesday Books, 9781250195661, $18.99, available April)
Wicked Saints has everything I look for in a book: dark monsters, powerful magic, and a stunning atmosphere that permeates every page. Inspired by the story of Joan of Arc, Wicked Saints follows a gods-touched peasant girl raised to be the solution to a century-long war. When Nadya’s entire life is burned to the ground, she must work with the enemy and betray her gods to save them all. This book is lush and darkly romantic, perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo. Duncan’s thrilling debut explores the ecstasy and heartbreaking tragedy of what it is to love a monster.” —Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

5. New Kid by Jerry Craft
(HarperCollins, 9780062691194, $12.99)
New Kid tackles diversity and inclusion with humor and charm. Jordan Banks wants to go to art school, but his mother sends him to Riverdale, a predominantly white private school, to increase his opportunities. Jordan teams up with Liam and Drew and along the way starts to enjoy himself. Craft uses pop culture parody references to start each chapter and includes drawings by Jordan throughout the book. The graphic novel format is perfect for a kid who loves art and also serves to take the story deeper as the pictures add another layer. Highly recommended for new kids and old ones!” —Kathy Burnette, The Brain Lair, South Bend, IN

6. Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn (Indies Introduce)
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781681197432, $16.99, available April)
“This stunning debut from Gillian McDunn is guaranteed to warm any reader’s heart. Cat and her brother, Chicken, who has special needs, have never met their mother’s parents, but that all changes when their mom is called away to work and the kids need somewhere to go for the summer. Once the kids arrive at their grandparents’ house on Gingerbread Island, old hurts are exposed and Cat has to navigate her family’s complicated history. At the same time, Cat has to look after Chicken, who lands himself in sticky situations despite his best efforts. Mix in a new friend, a little bully, and a fishing competition, and that’s one thrilling summer! Cat is a spirited, responsible young girl with a fierce sense of what is right. She is sure to win a lot of fans!” —Michael Leali, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

7. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (Indies Introduce)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368024969, $18.99, available April)
“When mutilated bodies start to show up in the small town of Four Paths in rural upstate New York, the townsfolk know it can only mean one thing: The Gray is back. Existing on an alternate plane, The Gray (not unlike the Demogorgon/Upside Down in Stranger Things) has been terrorizing the town since its inception but the founding families of Four Paths have always been able to keep it from crossing over. This time, dark familial secrets could allow The Gray to break through, and it’s up to four teen descendants of the founders to set aside their differences to keep the terror at bay. Gripping and terrifying, The Devouring Gray will have you sleeping with one eye open, if at all.” —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

8. Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9781524770235, $16.99)
“A great book about the importance of community, understanding, and the spirit of adventure, Song for a Whale follows a young deaf girl whose curiosity is piqued by the story of a whale that is singularly unable to communicate with other whales. As the only deaf member in a hearing family, Iris immediately recognizes the severe loneliness of this situation, and her surge of empathy leads her to embark on a quest of growth and catharsis. There are myriad reasons why it is wonderful to meet a deaf heroine in young adult literature, but more than that, Iris is a wholly delightful character: a whiz-kid who digs electronics, who has a hot temper, who loves her grandmother, and who is vastly more than her inability to hear. I hope other readers enjoy meeting her as much as I did.” —Amy Van Keuren, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

9. Sweety by Andrea Zuill
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780525580003, $17.99, available March)
“Raise your hand if you’re Sweety! For all the oddballs, the freaks, the geeks, the nerds, the weirdos, the ones looking for their tribe: This is your picture book. Whether you’re a child in truth or a child at heart, Sweety will wrap you in a loud, enthusiastic hug and let you know that you are so very not alone.” —Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR

10. A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9780763677534, $18.99, available April)
“Who hasn’t wondered how Mercy Watson ended up with Mr. and Mrs. Watson? This picture book tells that serendipitous story, complete with input from Eugenia and Baby Lincoln. Chris Van Dusen’s illustrations of Mercy as a piglet are absolutely adorable, and the looks of pure joy on the faces of Mr. and Mrs. Watson will remind parents of seeing their little ones for the first time. A lovely, lovely book.” —Kelli Gleiner, Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore, Cincinnati, OH

Ages 4 to 8

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers, Luke Flowers (Illus.)
(Quirk Books, 9781683691136, $19.99, available March)
“Mr. Rogers is no longer with us but his wonderful legacy lives on in his songs, poems, and television show reruns. This book is a collection of 75 of Mr. Rogers’ lyrics from the songs he used on his show for so many years, all written by him. They are so encouraging, uplifting, and positive that even adults will benefit from these lyrics on days they are feeling a little down or blue. Though current generations of children may not have been blessed by Mr. Rogers’ kind, calm, compassionate demeanor when he was on TV, they can still benefit from his creative genius in taking ordinary life events and helping kids realize that is exactly what they are: ordinary events that one will get through and learn from. This book is one of those books that should be on every family’s shelf and taken down regularly and enjoyed.” —Pat Trotter, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368036894, $16.99, available March)
“I absolutely adore Greg Pizzoli! His signature bright and bold style brings this heartfelt tale about an illiterate book-lovin’ hog to life! The Book Hog is a beautiful love letter to librarians, who work so hard to put books into children’s hands, encourage and inspire readers, and open their doors to the world. A delightful read, perfect for story time!” —Eugenia Vela, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Bruno, the Standing Cat by Nadine Robert, Jean Jullien (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780525647140, $17.99, available April)
Bruno, the Standing Cat is the book you need! Having a tough day? Read Bruno! Having a great day? Read Bruno! Not a cat person? Doesn’t matter, I’m not either, read Bruno! One of the funniest, cleverest, wittiest, fun-to-read-aloud new picture books this spring. You need Bruno!” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Hope by Matthew Cordell
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484773413, $16.99)
“I loved Hope, which I thought of as a love letter to one’s grandchildren. We wonder if what we teach our children stays with them when we are gone. In this book, it does.” —Kathi Rauscher, Hockessin Bookshelf, Hockessin, DE

Ida and the Whale by Rebecca Gugger, Simon Röthlisberger (Illus.)
(NorthSouth Books, 9780735843417, $17.95, available April)
“Dwell on the dreamy watercolors as Ida goes for a whale ride that takes her away from the world but at the same time allows her to really understand it. Reassuring text creates the perfect opportunity to ponder big questions together with a small child.” —Jamie McCauley, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626724426, $17.99, available April)
“These little guys are just about the cutest things in all the forest, and when they band together, they can do just about anything, can take just about anything... can get all they need. But just how much is too much? And just where do the needs of the whole forest come in? These little guys will warm your heart as they open their hearts to the needs of others both big and little.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Little Taco Truck by Tanya Valentine, Jorge Martin (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9781524765859, $17.99, available April)
“Hey, everyone! THIS is how capitalism should work! Let’s all make space, work together, and celebrate diversity! FANTASTICO!” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

The New Neighbors by Sarah McIntyre
(Penguin Workshop, 9781524789961, $17.99)
“The bunny family is very excited to meet their new neighbors, the rats. The other animal neighbors aren’t so thrilled when they hear the news — they have unkind and embellished ideas of what their rat neighbors might be like. As all the tenants go downstairs to meet them, they’re in for a surprise! This is a busy, colorful book with detailed interior illustrations of each animal’s house, plus a lesson on not judging somebody before you meet them yourself.” —Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534400900, $17.99, available April)
“I love the illustrations in this book! Hank’s transformation from a grumpy cactus to a cuddly hugger is perfect. A lesson about how maybe being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be plays out nicely as Hank’s interactions lead him to be, well, less prickly.” —Tildy Banker-Johnson, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood, Hannah Marks (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780735228504, $17.99, available April)
“This panda definitely breaks the fourth wall, so to speak, as he talks to the narrator. The back-and-forth banter is both fun and imaginative. Great fun!” —Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, Shahrzad Maydani (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780399539121, $17.99, available March)
“As an adult who feels disconnected from poetry, I wish there had been more books like this for me to read as a child. I like the combination of poetry and friendship in this tale and the idea of children having their own poetrees!” —Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself by Matthew Gray Gubler
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780525648444, $14.99, available April)
“I loved Rumple Buttercup! Anyone familiar with Matthew Gray Gubler’s work will see his trademark quirkiness all over this book, which is simultaneously sweet and weird. This is the kind of book that will make children feel like it is okay to be themselves, in whatever shape or form. For adult readers, it will spark in them that hope and joy of feeling like a kid again.” —Clarissa Hadge, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, MA

Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds
(Orchard Books, 9780545865036, $17.99)
“The importance of speaking your truth echoes throughout this book. Don’t be afraid. Don’t hold back. Your voice is important and necessary. We all need to gather our strength and speak up, even if it’s hard to do. Beautiful.” —Dea Lavoie, Second Star to the Right Children’s Books, Denver, CO

Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish  by Beth Ferry, Tom Lichtenheld (Illus.)
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9781524741549, $17.99)
“Who doesn’t love their birthday? This tale is so fun and quirky, every child and adult will love it.” —Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess, Fiona Woodcock (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399556623, $17.99, available March)
“In this adorably illustrated book, we learn we can all be a grouchy curmudgeon at times. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to cheer up a friend or sibling who refuses to look on the lighter side of life. At some point, you may even find that cheering them up is making you grumpy. So be careful if you try to budge a curmudgeon, because you just might find yourself turning into one.”
—Kidron Mariotti, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

Ages 9 to 12

Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon by John August
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626728165, $16.99)
“The mysteries of the Long Woods deepen in this surprising sequel as Arlo and friends head off to Camp Redfeather for the summer. It’s a camping experience just like you remember — if your summer camp came with doppelgängers, time travel, and a lake monster! Author John August’s masterstroke is making us love Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon even more than the first book in the series. Anyone who read and enjoyed Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is going to devour book two.” —Gibran Graham, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062689801, $16.99)
“Twins Elodee and Naomi’s world has been rocked by something the reader only gradually begins to understand. When their mom finds a job in Eventown, the whole family moves there believing a fresh start will help them right their world again. As the name suggests, everything and everyone is ‘even’ in Eventown — there are no messy feelings, no messy projects, and everything is ‘perfect.’ While Naomi and her parents readily turn in their ‘stories’ at the welcoming center, Elodee is less willing. Eventually, Elodee and others bust open the secrets of Eventown. This is a good story for encouraging kids to feel all the feels, even when they’re hard or sad.” —Shirley Freeman, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547601004, $16.99, available April)
“Sandy Stark-McGinnis brilliantly and passionately writes about 11-year-old December’s reluctant and courageous struggle from heartbreaking disappointment to trust. After bouncing around from one unhappy foster home to another, December has found her own way to cope with the rejection and pain of a devastating childhood. McGinnis writes a sensitive story about family, trust, bullying, mental health, and identity in a way that middle-grade kids can empathize with. I’m sure this novel will find its way into many classrooms and into the hearts of readers everywhere.” —Sara Ornelas, Blue Baboon Books, Wichita, KS

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062836687, $16.99, available March)
“Shayla’s a relatable character trying to make sense of her world and whose ideas of following the rules are challenged when she’s confronted with unjust rules, but the Black Lives Matter movement empowers her to stand up for her beliefs. The viewpoint and tone are perfect for a middle-grade audience, and Lisa Moore Ramée raises questions and opens eyes while telling a strong story.” —Jennifer Kraar, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Anne Lambelet (Illus.)
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062838377, $17.99, available April)
“The three Greystone children live a happy and comfortable life with their mom in Ohio, but things change when three kids in Arizona are kidnapped — kids who have the same first and middle names and birthdates as Finn, Emma, and Chess Greystone. Suddenly, their mom seems distracted and takes off on short notice for what she says is a business trip, leaving the kids in the care of a woman they don’t know and with a letter written in code, a hidden room in their basement, and a tunnel that leads to... This is the first volume in an action-packed middle-grade suspense series, and I’m eager to learn what happens next!” —Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Lety Out Loud by Angela Cervantes
(Scholastic Press, 9781338159349, $16.99)
“One of the most difficult things a kid faces is feeling confident enough to do something new and challenging. It’s made that much harder when English isn’t your first language and you, like our main character, Lety, are challenged to write fantastic descriptions for shelter animals. Lety Out Loud is a book about succeeding when things are tough and making a space for yourself when you’re in a new place. And it’s a book about loving dogs, which means it’s practically a perfect book!” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

The Line Tender by Kate Allen
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780735231603, $17.99, available April)
The Line Tender is the beautifully written story of Lucy, an almost-13-year-old girl in the oceanside town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Her mother, a shark scientist, died suddenly when Lucy was only eight, and she has found solace within a circle of caring friends and her father, who remains depressed since his wife’s death. I absolutely adored the characters in this book, and all the scientific information about sharks.” —Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062275097, $16.99)
“Iris has always defined herself by how she’s different from her twin sister, Lark. Lark is bursting with imagination, and Iris is the one who anchors her sister to the real world. But when the two girls are assigned different teachers for the first time, Iris is lost — what’s an anchor without the thing it anchors? How can she protect her sister if people won’t let them stay together? In a world that seems to be falling to pieces, Iris fights to figure out who she wants to be and who she can count on to fight at her side. This is the kind of book you’ll want to hug when you’re done reading it.” —Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9781338283372, $17.99)
“An absolute gem! Aida Salazar perfectly captures the anxiety, excitement, and embarrassment that come with middle school. Celi slowly grows into a better understanding of her mother’s hopes for her and what it means to be a good friend. Her moon ceremony — at first a strange and new idea —becomes an opportunity to show her strength and the person she is becoming. Beautiful and powerful.” —Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Mostly the Honest Truth by Jody J. Little (Indies Introduce)
(HarperCollins, 9780062852496, $16.99, available March)
“When Jane finds herself in foster care while her father spends another stint in rehab, she’s determined not to make friends with anyone because this is the last time they’ll be apart. As days go by and she settles into Three Boulders, Jane realizes that family is more than your relatives — it’s who stands by you when you need them. Wonderful characters and authentic voices make this story one for all to share.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Nikki on the Line by Barbara Carroll Roberts (Indies Introduce)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316521901, $16.99, available March)
Nikki on the Line thrums with life, energy, and adolescent self-discovery. With a relatable, driven protagonist, Roberts deftly weaves a story of realistic struggles through the themes of genetic gifts and curses — and their complicated relationship with who we choose to be. Fun and perfectly balanced, this book is impossible to put down, even for readers who know nothing about basketball.” —Heather Smith, Linden Tree Children’s Books, Los Altos, CA

The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas
(HarperCollins, 9780062498786, $16.99, available March)
“This adventure story is about a boy searching for his wayward — then kidnapped — father. It’s an intriguing tale featuring a card game called Parsnit, which is overseen by a witch and played in the nearby swamplands. In this increasingly magical world, Cajoleas highlights the complex relationship between a father, his adoring son, and the truth. The Rambling is an engaging book for middle-grade readers.” —Lia Lent, WordsWorth Books, Little Rock, AR

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534419551, $17.99, available March)
“Andrew Smith has long been my favorite YA author, and his middle grade debut is magnificent. The Size of the Truth fills my heart to bursting. What does an 11-year-old boy do when he is afraid of disappointing his father, whose dreams for him are different than his own? Especially when he has no memory of the days he spent at the bottom of a well when he was four years old but lives with extreme claustrophobia (and annoying celebrity) as a result? And when the school jock, who he thinks could be a murderer, might just be something entirely different? Smith weaves a story of great heart, love, bravery, and promise with his signature humor and imagination (including a talking armadillo). Falling in love with this book is as easy as falling down a well.” —Kathy Adams, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062852540, $16.99, available March)
“‘Poor Amelia Albright,’ Mrs. O’Brien says every day and has for the last 10 years, ever since Amelia’s mother died of cancer. Henkes’ Amelia is a 12-year-old artist whose new artist friend, Casey, is also dealing with grief as his parents go through a divorce. Together, the two young artists help each other journey through loneliness, loyalty, death, and family crises. After reading Sweeping Up the Heart, readers will fully understand why Henkes has received two Newbery Honors and they will want to read more of his timeless and classic stories.” —Karen Briggs, The Booknook, East Talwas, MI

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey
(Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524773045, $16.99, available March)
“This book is perfect for any young person with an interest in history or science fiction. The characters are like the imagined siblings we all make up when we are fed up with our own. The world of this book is tangible in a way that not all science fiction is. The strangeness of the new world, the new customs, and the various aliens are amazingly vivid. This story of human immigration to another planet has infinite lessons to teach young people and adults about sympathy toward those unlike us.” —Toni Jones, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Teens

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason
(Soho Teen, 9781616959876, $18.99)
“Sibling relationships don’t come much more fraught and complex than they do in Lizzy Mason’s stellar debut. The aftermath of an alcohol-centric high school party leaves Audrey in a coma and Harley reeling, forced to face head-on some awful truths about her closest relationships. A surprise reconnection with a childhood friend brings her demons to the forefront and allows her to finally stare them — and everything she’s been ignoring — in the face. The stark honesty of this story will crack open your heart and then heal it.” —Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9781328496300, $18.99, available March)
“I adored this dark fantasy take on ‘The Goose Girl.’ The characters are beautifully imagined, and witnessing Aurelia’s transformation from willful princess into selfless heroine was incredible. Smith’s system of blood magic is a fascinating and original idea. Bloodleaf is about one girl’s quest to save a kingdom, but more than that, it’s about loyalty to oneself and others and the strength that comes from it.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Internment by Samira Ahmed
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316522694, $17.99, available March)
The Hate U Give meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this slightly futuristic and dystopian version of America in which Muslim Americans are placed in internment camps. Ahmed’s book starts out with Layla describing how the real-life statements and policies of Trump’s America led from our current world to the horror of the book. Internment shines in showing not only Layla and her friends’ resistance, but also the life and humor the characters exude, even during their darkest days. A revelation that deserves as much recognition and praise as Angie Thomas’ debut work.” —Christine Stamper, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap (Indies Introduce)
(Poppy, 9780316415385, $17.99, available March)
“Putting her own spin on the age-old story of star-crossed love, Shannon Dunlap’s incredible first novel is a solid reminder as to why I continue to read and sell books on a daily basis. I challenge anyone out there to read the prologue of Izzy + Tristan and not fall head-over-heels for this lovely debut.” —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

Lovely War by Julie Berry
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451469939, $18.99, available March)
“In a Manhattan hotel room during WWII, Aphrodite has been caught having an affair with Ares by her husband (and Ares’ brother), Hephaestus. When he puts her on trial, Aphrodite recruits Hades and Apollo as her defense to tell a tale of four young people whose lives intertwined during the first World War. Death, love, music, and war all have their parts to play in sweeping us up in this beautiful and tragic tale of love found, lost, and found again. I simply could not put it down.” —Amanda Reid, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds (Indies Introduce)
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062748379, $17.99, available March)
“Was there ever one moment in your life that you’d want to do over? How about four or five chances? That’s what Jack gets: multiple chances to have the girl of his dreams and his friends happy and healthy, but he needs every chance he can get. This debut is a must-read for fans of John Green or anyone who wants a wonderful love story with hilarity, honesty, and one of the best friendship trifectas I’ve ever read.” —Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson
(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781492673651, $17.99, available April)
“This is YA at the highest level of intensity! Kudos to Kosoko Jackson for crafting a novel with gay characters of color that is about neither being gay nor being of color. James and Tomas are teen boys in Kosovo as it begins to implode. Their budding romance is caught in the violence of war, and their courage and loyalty are tested beyond the scope of normal teenage endurance. These characters will melt your heart as you race to the cataclysmic ending. A Place for Wolves is a welcome answer to the need for diverse books and outstanding YA literature.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
(Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524720209, $17.99)
“This is a story of true friendship, of joy and laughter, of loss and pain, of heartbreak and love, and in the end it’s a story of growth and hope. Josie and Delia each hold half of my heart. I saw different parts of myself in them in deep ways; their words felt like my own stolen from a place where I feared to speak them aloud. This book left me laughing with tears streaming down my face and warmth in my heart!” —Meghan Vanderlee, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
(Simon Pulse, 9781534410633, $19.99, available March)
“Far into the future, humans have left earth and now inhabit The System Divine, with French colonists living on the planet Laterre, where citizens starve under the watch of an indifferent ruling class. But revolution is brewing, and three teens are drawn in as a terrorist group threatens to tear apart their home. Should they be fighting to save such a broken system, or should they be working to help the spark catch? Each must decide for themselves in this thrilling sci-fi retelling of Les Misérables.” —Madeline Dorman, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062691316, $17.99)
“There are only two outcomes when you finish at the Media School for Girls: a Primara, or First Wife, who is to act as the partner to her husband and run his household, or a Segunda, or Second Wife, who is in charge of being beautiful and bearing his children. Each man gets one of each. Dani is the school’s best student and the top Primara pick, so it’s no surprise when she’s chosen by the candidate favored to become their country’s next president. But Dani has a past that she will do everything in her power to protect. If you enjoy The Handmaid’s Tale, but are looking for a YA twist, this is the book for you. I definitely recommend this one.” —Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

White Rose by Kip Wilson (Indies Introduce)
(Versify, 9781328594433, $17.99, available April)
“With spare but powerful verse, Kip Wilson brings us the haunting story of the young resistance group that risked everything to speak out against the Nazi regime. Based on a true story, Wilson conveys the hearts and minds of the characters beautifully.” —Alicia Michielli, Talking Leaves...Books, Buffalo, NY

XL by Scott Brown (Indies Introduce)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781524766245, $17.99, available March)
“Growing up is tough, no matter what! But it doesn’t make it any easier if you are a boy and barely five feet tall going into high school. You just want to be normal, average, and have a friend or two. Will Daughty has a stepbrother, who is also his best friend, and Monica, a girl he secretly loves. But Will is not average. He doesn’t feel normal. Until he starts to grow. And grow. And grow. And soon Will is towering over everyone. And here begins another set of problems. XL is a fun and fascinating story about growing up — literally.” —Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, CO