The Pond Book News #38 – #Ownvoices Center Stage — A Week of Diverse Romcoms, Anthologies, & SFF


Welcome to Issue #38!

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 [May 3rd – May 9th]

Once Upon an Eid, edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

Happy Ramadan to all our Muslim readers! I’m so so excited for this book to finally exist in the world—I’ve been hearing so much good about it ever since it was announced. There will be stories in verse and short stories and actual illustrations in this book, and honestly, what more could you want from an anthology?

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Elizabeth Acevedo is BACK and she’s here to break our hearts once more! I genuinely cannot express how delighted I am to finally be able to read this—The Poet X genuinely shattered my heart and put it back again, and my feelings are ready for this book. (Also peek this snippet of Elizabeth reading from her book! We stan our author-poets who perform their work just as gracefully as they write it.)

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

I’ve heard so many good things about this book! A sapphic love story set on the high seas between a genderfluid pirate and a Japanese-coded aristocratic lady? Yes. Give me all of it. I definitely need to actually get to my ARC of this…

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?

In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

The author’s Twitter for this book says that it’s about disaster gays in a bi love triangle set in revolutionary Paris—and honestly? It sounds like a rip-roaring time to me. Also important to mention: please note that this is an ebook release! The hardback is scheduled to be released sometime later during summer 2020.

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Hurrah, look at this wonderfully, unapologetically QTPOC story! We here at the Pond are huge fans of Kacen’s advocacy work, and we’re so excited for this vibrant book to finally be out in the world!

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she’s got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have…together.

But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she’s been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn’t have a crush on, the friendship she’s always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble.

Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends-even if it means losing one of them-or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?

This looks so cute! I’m excited that authors of color are getting to write books set in spaces we’re already familiar with. I know my younger self would’ve fallen all over this as a kid.

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone

Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda.

For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying. No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.

I’m not super into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if you put an arrow to my head and asked me to pick the characters I love the most, Shuri would be very high on this list. I’m so excited to see an #ownvoices author get to take this snarky, bright-eyed science-wiz on an adventure!

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.

Sal Vidon creates wormholes. But Sal’s father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi’s efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?

Oh my god this sounds like such a fun time! I love love love the new covers for this series too, and I really should dive into the first book soon, huh.

Releases on May 5th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour

I feel like my heart grew a whole three sizes larger after watching this book trailer, and I am so ready to be wrecked again by Nina Lacour’s masterfully written queer contemporaries. And this cover! The beautiful cover! The girl looks so mysterious with her closed eyes and all the flowers in her hair, and the illustration is gorgeously rendered. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for this, and if you haven’t read a Nina Lacour book yet: today’s as good a time to start as any!

Cover Reveal: Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

This cover just makes me happy. This cover with its Thai girl rep front and center—an #ownvoices romcom about a girl forced to date in high school by her parents to “practice” relationships—with its bright colors and cute typography? C’est adorable.

Cover Reveal: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

OH HELLO, look at these absolute units! I had no idea that there were future plans for The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and this news comes as such a joy! I absolutely cannot wait for more stories in the world Nghi Vo has built, and I eagerly await the release date for this in December.

Book Announcement: Alechia Dow’s second YA: assassins, royalty, and more interplanetary shenanigans!

Alechia Dow is cementing herself as a name in the YA bookish sphere for her books set in and around outer space that will give you the feels, and I am entirely here for this. I think this is such a fascinating high-concept premise, and I’m so intrigued in seeing how this book will develop!

Book Announcement: Jesse Q Sutanto’s romance comedy about dead blind dates, weddings, and Asian family dynamics

OH NO, this book already sounds like such a riot! This premise is absolutely off-the-walls bonkers—a wedding photographer trying to hide the dead body of her blind date with a whole family of aunties from a wealthy client— and sounds absolutely perfect. We’re definitely keeping an eye on this!

Book Announcement: Ballet and social justice collide in Mariko Turk’s forthcoming YA novel!

This sounds absolutely perfect, and I cannot express how much joy this pitch gave me! Ballet has always been something that I’ve been interested in from afar, and I’m beyond anticipating a novel that will dive deep into dance, and also the discrimination that exists in its hallowed halls. Putting this on the (already towering, but shhh one more won’t hurt) TBR as I write…

Book Announcement: YA romcom about tech and immigrants and coding, forthcoming from Rona Wang!

Oh!! How cute does this sound? An #ownvoices about women of  color in tech, and the idea of that app is so dang interesting! This is on the radar of the Pond for sure, and I hope this pitch makes you consider keeping an eye on it too 👀

Book Announcement: A queer middle grade fantasy about forests and secrets by Ash Van Otterloo

This looks utterly delightful! I’m always on a keen hunt for more compelling middle grade fantasies, and this looks like such a cool premise to get invested in already. I still need to read Cattywampus, but I’ve also heard good things about it!

Book Announcement: YA paranormal romance anthology with an all-star lineup, edited by Patrice Caldwell!

Look at this amazing lineup of authors! Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, Casey McQuiston? All writing short stories revolving around paranormal romance? I can’t believe we have to wait until 2022 for this! (Also: this isn’t exclusively pitched as queer, but I have so much faith in these authors, and I am confident that some of these will be queer stories⁠—and the idea of that makes me swoon.) I cannot wait to see where this goes!

Book Announcement: A heartwarming queer YA contemporary from Jonny Garza Villa

Honestly you need only to whisper the words “One Day at a Time” and I will be there, will climb over space and time to get to my favorite sitcom of all time. I’m so very excited for this! The premise already sounds incredible, and I really hope it’s going to be as heartwarming and poignant as the show it’s being comp’d to!

Book Announcement: Historical #ownvoices sapphics forthcoming from Charlotte Anne Hamilton!

OH hello, this already looks to be something I’m going to absolutely adore. I will never tire of sapphic romances, especially ones in historical settings! I can’t wait to see more news of this book soon!

Book Community Spotlight

…is still in the middle of transforming into something new! See our last post for more details.

4 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #38 – #Ownvoices Center Stage — A Week of Diverse Romcoms, Anthologies, & SFF

  1. OMG, so much wonderful news.

    I agree with how gorgeous the cover of Nina LaCour’s Watch Over Me is. I’m so stoked, I’ve been a fan of her’s ever since I discovered her book, Hold Still, in a second hand book shop when I was in high school.

    I am also excited with the release of Rona Wang’s You Had Me at Hello World! It sounds fun.

    Thanks for putting this together, Skye!

    Liked by 1 person

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