The Pond Book News #25 – A Rainbow February – Queer Romances, Anthologies & Portal Fantasies⁠

issue #25

Welcome to Issue #25!

The trees are whispering…

Friends, welcomeSprout the sparrow, doing a curtsy with their eyes closed and a smile on their face. Their cape swooshes in the wind with their arm extended in their curtsy. to another exciting week of The Pond Book News! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse book releases, cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! We also feature three incredible people in the book community every week, to highlight the important work that readers do in celebrating the books they love. Onward to the news!

Book Releases This Week [February 2nd – February 8th]

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

Another new release by two BELOVED authors!! This cute, political interracial romance sounds equal parts adorable and thrilling, and there are no two authors who are better suited to this project. Even the cover is adorable in its depiction of the couple! So excited for romance fans who will be getting this gem this week.

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

GAYS IN SPAAAACE. Has there ever been a more perfect pitch for a YA contemporary? Phil Stamper is an icon in the publishing industry, and this book has been long-awaited for many many fans and readers alike. I can’t wait to dive into this heartfelt queer romance!

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

So much hype for this one! A dark, feminist Macbeth retelling, this book has received so much praise for its handling of heavy topics like sexual assault, rape culture and violence, while still being incredibly empowering to read through, as well as its writing style and powerful prose. Definitely pick this one up if any of these elements sound interesting to you, and be sure to heed the trigger warnings!

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

This is a highly anticipated book for many many people, and rightly so! I too long for more princesses, mermaids and magic. The magic system already sounds so very compelling, and I’m excited to see if this book lives up to the hype. The cover already promises so many hauntingly beautiful ocean motifs!

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

This book cover is absolutely stunning. Kacen Callender has come out with so many great titles recently, and it’s a wonder that all of them have premises this incredible! I love these “loved ones remain as forces of nature after they pass on” stories, and I’m excited to see what new twists this book will bring to the genre.

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.

A curious “princess and the pauper”-inspired premise 👀 I am now very intrigued. Early reviews of the book mention that it challenges classism and traditional gender norms, and includes on-page transgender and asexual representation—both huge pluses! Very highly anticipating this!

Releases on February 4th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Iron Heart by Nina Varela

FRIENDS. Friends. To say that I have been awaiting this reveal, to say that I am now ascendant, are all understatements. I have absolutely no words for how filled with joy I am to have seen this MAGNIFICENT cover and read the excerpt. Crier’s War was my favourite book in 2019, and this lives up to every single expectation I had and busts them wide open. September absolutely cannot come sooner.

Cover Reveal: A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

It’s honestly a travesty that the embed isn’t working properly for this cover, because it is drop-dead gorgeous. Pink and green is one of my FAVOURITE colour combos, and I just adore how it’s used in this cozy little cover. Absolutely cannot wait for this book!

Cover Reveal: The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung

This looks adorable! The Boys in the Back Row sounds like it’s going to be such a fun book, and I like that it focuses on healthy male friendships! And more Asian-authored books are always, always an excellent thing.

Book Announcement: Graphic novel about fleeing North Korea forthcoming from Tina Cho and Deborah Lee

Friends, how incredible is this description? We don’t have a lot of good fiction literature about North Korea yet, much less in children’s publishing, and that this book is going to be a graphic novel is going to make both the reality of it all that much more accessible to wider audiences. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this book, and cross my fingers for more good news!

Book Announcement: Queer portal fantasies from Mark Oshiro!

YESSSS, more diverse-authored portal fantasies! I’m so excited! So many of my friends absolutely adored Anger is a Gift, and it’s a book I desperately need to pick up. I’m so happy for lovers of Oshiro’s writing! With this blurb to go by, this story’s in excellent hands already.

Book Announcement: Queer middle grade anthology from an all-star lineup, edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby!

HURRAH! A queer middle-grade anthology, with such an incredible lineup!! Claribel Ortega! Mark Oshiro! I’ve been on the lookout for good anthologies lately, and this sounds right up my alley.  I can’t wait to hear more news about this!

From Page to Screen: Lyla Lee’s adorable YA contemporary about queer K-Pop is headed to the movies!

I’m totally not biased at all that I too go by Skye, and am also plus-sized and Asian. Not at all. Haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. This is going to be such a rip-roaring adventure, and I’m so excited to see it in motion on the big screen. I DEFINITELY also hope that adapting books already written by authors of color becomes a trend in the movie industry, rather than sadly shoehorning diversity representation in stories that doesn’t deserve it. I cannot wait for this!

Book Community Spotlight

Book blogger: Shenwei at Reading Asian American

Shenwei is an inexhaustible advocate for diverse representation in fiction and the book community, and I am always so inspired by their tireless championing of good Asian representation in books in particular. A great place to start with their posts is their absolutely massive and incredibly comprehensive list of science fiction/fantasy books by authors of color (no more excuses for reading exclusively white sci-fi and fantasy!!), and this one about the 228 massacre, a deadly and defining event in Taiwanese history, as well as some book recommendations for stories that portray the moment in history accurately. If you’re looking to read more books with good Asian representation, Shenwei should definitely be an icon to follow.

Follow Shenwei on their book blog, Twitter, and Goodreads!

Bookstagrammer: Hana at hanabookreview

Hana is an Indonesian bookstagrammer, and her feed is absolutely gorgeous. I have so much love for the beautiful pink cardigan motif, and how soft everything looks. I just want to live in her photos forever. And peek the little baked pastry too!

Follow Hana on her bookstagram, Twitter, and Goodreads!

Booktuber: Boston at boston reads books

Boston is the most adorable bi/ace booktuber, and her presence on my feed is always, always a blessing. Her queer SFF recommendations video features so many (so many!) of my absolute favorite reads of last year: Song of Achilles, Crier’s War, etc, so I am definitely just inclined to trust her reviews now as someone with GOOD TASTE. Or if you’re in the mood for a video you can relax to, her 2020 bookshelf tour is set to the chillest lo-fi music, and really feels like something you can just put on in the background for your dose of Aesthetic™ for the day. Trust me friends, she is definitely worth a follow!

Follow Boston on her booktube channel, Twitter, and Instagram!

4 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #25 – A Rainbow February – Queer Romances, Anthologies & Portal Fantasies⁠

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