The Pond Book News #53 – Magic Jungles & Graphic Novels: A Week of Black & Latinx Excellence

Welcome to Issue #53!

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’re still working on our Book Community Spotlight feature too, and we really appreciate everyone’s patience as we work on getting it where we want to be. Now onward to the news!

Book Releases This Week [August 23rd – August 29th]

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

This decadent YA fantasy retelling of Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera finally takes centre stage this week! This is a wildly anticipated book for so many people, and I’ve heard such good things from early readers! I’m so excited for it to be out in the world, I hope it lives up to everyone’s expectations. ❤

Releases on August 25. Add this book to Goodreads!


Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

49025767Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, his varsity soccer practices, and his internship at his favorite tea shop, Darius is feeling pretty okay. Like he finally knows what it means to be Darius Kellner.

Then, of course, everything changes. Darius’s grandmothers are in town for a long visit while his dad is gone on business, and Darius isn’t sure whether they even like him. The internship isn’t what Darius thought it would be, and now he doesn’t know about turning tea into his career. He was sure he liked Landon, but when he starts hanging out with Chip–soccer teammate and best friend of Trent Bolger, epic bully–well, he’s just not so sure about Landon anymore, either.

Darius thought he knew exactly who he was and what he wanted, but maybe he was wrong. Maybe he deserves better.

The companion novel to Darius the Great is Not Okay is finally here! Xiaolong and CW previously reviewed the lovely first book here at the Pond, which you should totally check out if this sounds interesting to you! I still need to pick this up, and the release of this companion novel might just mean that it’s time to push this series up on my TBR >_>

Releases on Aug 25. Add this book to Goodreads!


Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.

This is such a cool premise for a YA contemporary! Sometimes all you need is a glamorous escape to a girl eking out a life for herself in Hollywood, and I’m so excited to see the famous grandma-slash-aspiring actress granddaughter dynamics. I’ve heard that this book has excellent character development, which puts it immediately up on the TBR for me! 

Releases on August 25. Add this book to Goodreads!


Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and Rovina Cai

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.

There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.

Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

I’ve been greatly anticipating this book, friends! It’s a magical middle-grade by a Lipan Apache author, and it has an asexual protagonist! Rovina Cai’s artwork is always stunning and so very detailed, which makes me excited to experience the synergy between the story and her illustration. If you’re looking to fill up your TBR with indigenous American representation, this is a good place to start!

Releases on August 25. Add this book to Goodreads!


Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri

49089631At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls “Daniel”) stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much.

But Khosrou’s stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy.and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of sunset burst over everything, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan.

We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou’s family’s past, who ate pastries that made people weep and cry “Akh, Tamar!” and touched carpets woven with precious gems.

Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story).

It is Daniel’s.

I only learned about this book recently, and I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t come across this sooner! This is a middle-grade autobiographical memoir of the author’s own experience of fleeing Iran, ending up at a refugee camp in Italy and ultimately Oklahoma, where he is met with both “curiosity and suspicion” from the new people he meets. This is shaping up to be such an interesting, genre-blending book, and I’m excited to get my hands on it!

Releases on August 25. Add this book on Goodreads

Book News

Cover Reveal: The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxane Gay, and Tracy Lynne Oliver, illustrated by Rebecca Kirby

Okay, was I supposed to know that acclaimed nonfiction writer Roxane Gay was publishing a graphic novel adaptation of one of her short stories, or was I supposed to find out myself while scrolling through WNDB’s tweets this week? This looks absolutely fantastic! I’m already in love with the art, and I didn’t actually know that the author has a short story collection, so that’s going on my  TBR too. I’m so excited for this!


Cover Reveal: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Oh goodness, I am in love with the texture and type treatment of this cover! The composition and colors are simple, but still striking too. Very very into this, and definitely interested in checking out this wonderful trans coming-of-age by an ownvoices author!


Cover Reveal: The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

Mason is back!!! I love the blue/orange palette of this cover. This YA contemporary about grief and healing already looks like it’s going to be breaking (and healing) a lot of hearts, and I wholeheartedly wish this book all the best as we inch closer to release date!


Book Announcement: Ayana Gray’s debut YA fantasy about magical jungles and ancient creatures

HELLO, I am so here for this! MAGICAL JUNGLES!!! Ancient creatures! And a major three-book deal for a debut Black author! I’m filled with so much joy that I can’t stop these exclamation marks!!! Trust that I am keeping a keen eye out for this series next year as we patiently await more news!


Book Announcement: Angela Velez’s debut YA contemporary about college and sisterhood

Oh heck yeah I love this premise! I love love books that deal with sister/siblinghood and all the complications, rivalry and deep-seated love that comes along with it, and setting it just on the verge of graduation while the main characters are touring campuses sounds so fun! And there’s family secrets as well??? Sign me the hell up!


Book Announcement: Jarett William’s MG graphic novel series about solving mysteries

AHHH this looks like everything I ever wanted. Kids going around and solving mysteries is entirely my jam, and I’m beyond thrilled to see this premise being done in a three-book series! So much content! Greatly anticipating more news about these books down the line!


Book Announcement: A star-crossed romcom set in publishing houses forthcoming from Shauna Robinson

HA, this pitch looks AMAZING!!! I, for one, lowkey want to read this just for the insight into the up’s-and-down’s of working in publishing as a person of color, and the romance element of this sounds adorable too! I’m keeping this on my radar for sure.


Book Announcement: MG historical novel about Cuba and immigration forthcoming from Alexandra Diaz

This book looks like it’s going to be such an important read for making the nuances and the terror of the Castro regime in Cuba accessible to young readers, and I’m excited to see it written from an ownvoices lens! Middle-grade books about immigration are always written with so much heart, and I’m hopeful that this book will treat the topics with the care and compassion they deserve.


Book Announcement: Lana Clarke’s YA contemporary on family and romance

Oh this book announcement looks lovely! I love the title already. The author describes the stories she writes as Black AF, which makes me so excited for this book! More Black-led YA that don’t grapple with racism as a main conflict, please! We love to see it! 


From Page to Screen: Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together gets a film adaptation!

Hurray for Piecing Me Together! This YA contemporary has been on my TBR for the longest time because its premise is so damn interesting — a Black girl has to grapple with the microaggressions she faces from attending an all-white school, while discussing classism, privilege and body shaming on her journey. I’m so hype to see what a film version of this will look like; hopefully it’ll bring more attention to this wonderful book! 

5 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #53 – Magic Jungles & Graphic Novels: A Week of Black & Latinx Excellence

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