The Pond Book News #76 – Middle Grade Adventures, Gothic Fantasies, and New Stories in Familiar Worlds

Welcome to Issue #76!

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 [February 28th – March 6th]

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

Emil and Brighton Rey defied the odds. They beat the Blood Casters and escaped with their lives–or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed it would make him invincible, but instead the potion is killing him.

In Emil’s race to find an antidote that will not only save his brother but also rid him of his own unwanted phoenix powers, he will have to dig deep into the very past lives he’s trying to outrun. Though he needs the help of the Spell Walkers now more than ever, their ranks are fracturing, with Maribelle’s thirst for revenge sending her down a dangerous path.

Meanwhile, Ness is being abused by Senator Iron for political gain, his rare shifting ability making him a dangerous weapon. As much as Ness longs to send Emil a signal, he knows the best way to keep Emil safe from his corrupt father is to keep him at a distance.

The battle for peace is playing out like an intricate game of chess, and as the pieces on the board move into place, Emil starts to realize that he may have been competing against the wrong enemy all along.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .

Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.

Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.

Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.

And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.

If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved. 

Releases on March 2. Add this book to Goodreads!


Black Boy Out of Time by Hari Ziyad

An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way.

One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them.

Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad’s vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead. It offers us a new way to think about survival and the necessary disruption of social norms. It looks back in tenderness as well as justified rage, forces us to address where we are now, and, born out of hope, illuminates the possibilities for the future. 

Releases on March 1. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal [US & UK]: Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon

[US] Design: Erin Fitzsimmons | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier

Illustration: Kitt Thomas | Design: Mary Claire Cruz | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Illustration: Jeff Manning | Design: Regina Flath | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Illustration: Russell Cobb | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Heartbreak Bakery by A. R. Capetta

Design: Matt Roese | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska

Illustration: Charlie Bowater | Design: Nicole Hower | Add the book to Goodreads!


Book Announcement: A speculative historical noir from Chloe Gong set in 1930s China after the events of These Violent Delights


Book Announcement: A cyberpunk heist set in Beijing following thieves, revolutionaries, and rebellions by Andrea Tang


Book Announcement: A forthcoming YA about ghosts, inherited mansions, and mysteries by Liselle Sambury


Book Announcement: Lakita Wilson’s debut middle grade contemporary about friendship breakups and honesty


Book Announcement: Akemi Dawn Bowman’s The Infinity Courts is slated for a trilogy!

Add The Infinity Courts to Goodreads!


Book Announcement: A queer Black YA retelling of Jekyll and Hyde set in the 19th century from Kalynn Bayron!


Book Announcement: Noble houses, tenuous alliances, and divine powers collide in an upcoming epic fantasy trilogy by Tara Sim!


Book Announcement: A forthcoming romance novel by Akwaeke Emezi about lost love and new beginnings


Book Announcement: A YA romance about fake boyfriends and boarding school roommates by Mason Deaver!


Book Announcement: Susan Lee’s debut YA whirlwind romance about Korean teens and summer bucket lists!


Book Announcement: Rick Riordan’s forthcoming middle grade about the descendent of Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea

Stephanie Owens Lurie at Disney-Hyperion has acquired Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan, the first stand-alone novel from the author not set in the Percy Jackson universe. The middle grade novel, an homage to Jules Vernes’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, features Ana Dakkar, the last living descendant of Captain Nemo, who must locate his secret island before her enemies find it and use his technology for nefarious purposes. Publication is scheduled for October 5, 2021; Nancy Gallt at Gallt & Zacker Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.


Book Announcement: An upcoming ‘modern gothic fairy tale’ fantasy by Alix E. Harrow!

The Underland reads like a modern-day gothic fairy tale, surrounding a sinister old house and its last heir. Opal Gravely has spent her life collecting stories about Starling House, which have been passed down the generations like good china. Then one evening, she accidentally encounters Arthur Starling, its reclusive owner. He offers her a job as a cleaner and, needing the money, she accepts. But there is something beneath Starling House, clamoring to escape and wreak havoc upon the town. Even as the house tries to claim her, she learns of a greater danger ahead. But if Arthur and Opal can join forces, they might break the ties that bind them.


Book Announcement: A debut YA historical by Betty Yee about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to immigrate from China to the United States


Book Announcement: Monica Roe’s debut middle grade about community disability care, and a kid with wheelchair motocross dreams


Book Announcement: More middle grade horror stories from Daka Hermon, featuring dream worlds that bleed into reality


Book Announcement: An adorable middle grade about Mars rovers and missions to Mars by Jasmine Warga


Book Announcement: A rebellious teenage artist experiences a summer of freedom, nature, and self-discovery in Liara Tamani’s upcoming YA contemporary!

One thought on “The Pond Book News #76 – Middle Grade Adventures, Gothic Fantasies, and New Stories in Familiar Worlds

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