The Pond Book News #70 – The Heart-Wrenchers Edition: Contemporaries & Horror Stories for All

Welcome to Issue #70!

Sprout 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.

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! Now, onwards to the brilliant books!

Book Releases this Week [January 17th – January 23rd]

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

🌱 A Pond Recommended Book! Read CW’s review here.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Comeback by E.L. Shen

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however–she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?

Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

A rare, searing portrayal of the future of climate change in South Asia. A streetrat turned revolutionary and the disillusioned hacker son of a politician try to take down a ruthlessly technocratic government that sacrifices its poorest citizens to build its utopia.

The South Asian Province is split in two. Uplanders lead luxurious lives inside a climate-controlled biodome, dependent on technology and gene therapy to keep them healthy and youthful forever. Outside, the poor and forgotten scrape by with discarded black-market robotics, a society of poverty-stricken cyborgs struggling to survive in slums threatened by rising sea levels, unbreathable air, and deadly superbugs.

Ashiva works for the Red Hand, an underground network of revolutionaries fighting the government, which is run by a merciless computer algorithm that dictates every citizen’s fate. She’s a smuggler with the best robotic arm and cybernetic enhancements the slums can offer, and her cargo includes the most vulnerable of the city’s abandoned children.

When Ashiva crosses paths with the brilliant hacker Riz-Ali, a privileged Uplander who finds himself embroiled in the Red Hand’s dangerous activities, they uncover a horrifying conspiracy that the government will do anything to bury. From armed guardians kidnapping children to massive robots flattening the slums, to a pandemic that threatens to sweep through the city like wildfire, Ashiva and Riz-Ali will have to put aside their differences in order to fight the system and save the communities they love from destruction. 

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

Things can change in a second:

The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.

The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble.

The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.

And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back…or is there?

As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself. 

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Something is rotten in the heart of Winterkeep…

Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons.

But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep.

Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life. 

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!


Wider Than the Sky by Katherine Field Rothschild

Sixteen-year-old Sabine Braxton doesn’t have much in common with her identical twin, Blythe. When their father dies from an unexpected illness, each copes with the loss in her own way—Sabine by “poeting” (an uncontrollable quirk of bursting into poetry at inappropriate moments) and Blythe by obsessing over getting into MIT, their father’s alma mater. Neither can offer each other much support . . . at least not until their emotionally detached mother moves them into a ramshackle Bay Area mansion owned by a stranger named Charlie.

Soon, the sisters unite in a mission to figure out who Charlie is and why he seems to know everything about them. They quickly make a life-changing discovery: their father died of an HIV- related infection, Charlie was his lover, and their mother knows the whole story. The revelation unravels Sabine’s world, while practical Blythe seems to take everything in stride. Once again at odds with her sister, Sabine chooses to learn all she can about the father she never knew. Ultimately, she must decide if she can embrace his last wish for their family legacy—along with forgiveness.

Releases on January 19. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Illustration: Zipcy | Design: Kerri Resnick | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

“Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.”

Illustration: Palesa Monareng | Design: Kerri Resnick | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Art: James Iacobelli | Design: Kerri Resnick | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham

Illustration: Eric Wilkerson | Design: Sheila Smallwood | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

Design: M.S. Corley | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal (US): Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

Illustration: Yuta Onoda | Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Every Body Shines edited by Cassandra Newbould

Illustration: Hippy Potter | Design: John Candell | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Room to Dream by Kelly Yang

Illustration: Maike Plenzke | Design: Maeve Norton | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Marvelous by Claire Kann

“Everyone thinks they know Jewel Van Hanen. Heiress turned actress turned social media darling who created the massively popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule.

After mysteriously disappearing for a year, Jewel makes her dramatic return with an announcement: she has chosen a few lucky Golden Rule users to spend an unforgettable weekend at her private estate. But once they arrive, Jewel ingeniously flips the script: the guests are now players in an elaborate estate-wide game. And she’s tailored every challenge and obstacle to test whether they have what it takes to win–at any cost.”

Illustration: Rachelle Baker | Design: Liz Dresner | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

“The city of Ora uses a complex living network to surveil its inhabitants and maintain order. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over the city. Aer knowledge of the world begins and ends with what ae can see and experience through the living network, and ae takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora’s citizens safe from all harm.

All that changes when a mysterious visitor arrives enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s knowledge of aer world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places—and possibilities—ae never before imagined to exist, ae finds aerself asking a question that throws into doubt aer entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?”

Illustration: Kuri Huang | Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Illustration: Sophie Gonzales | Design: Olga Grlic | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

Illustration: Sam Araya | Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal (Audible): The Wife in the Attic by Rose Lerner

“A gothic historical novel and queer Jane Eyre retelling in which the governess falls in love with the wife in the attic, and together they wreak fiery vengeance on the tyrannical master of the house.

Illustration & Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Book Announcement: A MG fantasy series following a biracial Latinx boy about small town magic and missing pets


Book Announcement: George M. Johnson’s forthcoming MG contemporary about queer boys and basketball


Book Announcement: A forthcoming MG graphic novel by Claribel Ortega about witches and fearsome beasts


Book Announcement: A YA contemporary debut about police brutality and confronting racial debuts by Charity Alyse


Book Announcement: Cryptology and contests in a thrilling YA contemporary forthcoming from Brittney Morris


Book Announcement: A queer sapphic YA novel-in-verse by Ashley Woodfolk


Book Announcement: Evil witches and spirit worlds collide in creepy sketchbooks in a forthcoming middle-grade by Karen Strong


Book Announcement: A genre-blending YA debut about dance, grief, and zombies by Britney Lewis


Book Announcement: A Latinx horror YA by Diana Rodriguez Wallach featuring demonologists and Latin American folklore

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