Welcome to Issue #33!
The trees are whispering…
Friends, welcome 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 [March 29th – April 4th]
We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia
Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.
Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.
But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?
This book about queer identity and the messiness of questioning your own sexuality as a teenager comes as a hearty recommendation from us here at the Pond! Read CW and Xiaolong’s review of this important book and eagerly anticipate the release of it with us.
Releases on March 31st. Add this book to Goodreads!
Music From Another by World Robin Talley
It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultra-religious aunt relentlessly organizes anti-gay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as anti-gay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.
We love punk revolution sapphics! Oh man, I can already tell that this book is going to resonate with so many readers. Coming from a very conservative background myself, I’m so interested to read how the main characters will deal with the fallout of daring to be queer in a community that refuses to accept them for who they are.
Releases on March 31st. Add this book to Goodreads!
Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.
But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.
Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.
Oh a middle-grade about a kid with undocumented immigrants! This looks so interesting and so very relevant. This book has flown very much under the radar coming up to its release, and I really hope that it’ll get into the hands of readers who will need it!
Releases on March 31st. Add this book to Goodreads!
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
Julie Kagawa fans rejoice! I haven’t picked up this fantasy series yet, but it looks so interesting. Kitsune, assassins, a setting mired in Japanese mythology and inspiration? Yes please! I hope it lives up to the legacy of the books that came before it!
Releases on April 2nd. Add this book to Goodreads!
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.
That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
This Nigerian fantasy looks absolutely stunning, and it’s been so lowkey that I didn’t even realise this was releasing this week until I was browsing Goodreads for some new books! This already looks so radiant and intriguing—I’m definitely interested in picking this one up.
Releases on April 4th. This book is now releasing on the 18th of August. Add this book to Goodreads!
Cover Reveal: The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
Heck yeah, this cover is absolutely glowing with brilliance. The final, final chapter in Rin’s story is coming soon and coming fast, friends, are you ready? There’s still plenty of time to catch up on the trilogy before the last book releases, which is what I’m planning to do! I hope you will consider joining me if you haven’t dived into this magnificent series yet.
Book Announcement: Rory Power’s immortal Greek twins: a duology!
Is the world ready for another Rory Power book? It will have to be! I am so so ready for more spooky stories from this prolific author (although I still have to properly get into Wilder Girls) and I am very much anticipating more news on this promising duology.
Book Announcement: A feminist Korean folktale retelling by Axie Oh
SO MUCH of this announcement already caters to my very specific book tastes: feminist retelling of a Korean folktale? One where girls are sacrificed to the ocean? With echoes of Miyazaki? I thought waiting for 2021 releases was already hard, turns out the universe has ways to torment us still. I am keeping an eye on this one for SURE.
Book Announcement: Gay college YA forthcoming from Julian Winters!
Hello! Friends! More college-aged YA! I am so stoked for this, and even more excited that the protagonist is ownvoices queer! I really hope to see more college YA/NA in the coming few years—it’s such a pivotal point in a teen’s life that we don’t nearly get to read enough of!
Book Announcement: An adorable picture book about hot dogs and Arab-Muslim families, forthcoming from Susannah Aziz and Parwinder Singh
It’s no secret that we here at the Pond absolutely adore cultural stories about food and family, and this debut looks deliciously heartwarming already! I can’t wait to see this Arab-Muslim story out in the world and in the hands of all the kids who will get to see themselves represented growing up.
Book Community Spotlight
Book blogger: Em at Em’s Bookish Musings
Friends, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover Em’s blogging work, because her writing feels absolutely essential in the times that we live in. She has an entire series called The Black Experience featuring posts from different authors, book bloggers and booktubers, with topics ranging from the danger of a singular Black story to anime recommendations with black characters! I am so very excited to delve into all the posts once I have more time on my hands this week. Em has also written a wonderful review of The Black Veins by Ashia Monet, which is a diverse urban fantasy that I know has gotten a lot of love from readers as well (and is coincidentally next up on my TBR)!
Bookstagrammer: Marian at marianraereads
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fun fact: i took this picture on the way to dolores park before i read the book, not realizing this book is set in the bay area and has several important scenes IN dolores park and i should have just taken the picture there 😅. anyway, this was february’s pick for #bisexualbookclub! FULL DISCLOSURE is a YA romance and coming of age story about simone, a HIV positive black teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality. i thought it was cute and a good way to teach teenagers about the history of the AIDS epidemic, how it affected the LGBTQ community, and stop the ignorance that still exists about HIV today. as for bi representation, it shows how coming out even to people within our community can be difficult because of biphobia or not feeling “gay enough” because of who you’re dating. from within and without our community, there’s this pressure to “prove it” which is ludicrous. beyond all of that, simone is a musical nerd falling in love for the first time and it was fun going on that journey with her. while this debut novel isn’t perfect (not sure how i feel about the antagonist), i did enjoy reading it and its messages. plus i found out the author was SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD when she sold this book. the excellence! i definitely think it’s worth a read, especially for a young queer person. #fulldisclosure #camryngarrett #queerlit #lgbtliterature #bisexualbooks #queerbooks #rainbowreading #diversespines #yafiction #yaromance #yacomingofage #librarybook #recentreads #diverseya #yalit #hardcover #bookstagram #readharderchallenge2020 #booksandbuildings #qtpocauthors #qtbipoc #bibliophile #booklovers #youngreaders
Friends, how cool is this photo? I love love love the incorporation of the book’s blue with the architectural background, and the beautiful queer lettering that frames it! Marian is a Filipino-American bookish creator who also hosts a bisexual book club, and she absolutely deserves more eyes on her work! I’m always so excited to see more bi Southeast Asian creators in the book community, and I’m keeping my eyes wide open for the books she talks about next!
Booktuber: Sarah at Read With Sarah
The very first video on Sarah’s channel is her absolutely hilarious Booktube Newbie tag, and it is from here that we can already tell that Sarah’s channel is full of wit and humor in equal spades. The video catalog on her channel isn’t that extensive yet, which makes binging all of them a very good goal if you need a place to escape for a little while sometime this week. I greatly enjoyed her scatching review of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, and her dissecting of all the… baggage that comes with the book, and I genuinely look forward to seeing more from her brilliant mind in the future!