The Pond Book News #96 – Joy in the Air: Wholesome Middle-Grade Adventures & Love Stories for All Ages

Welcome to Issue #96!

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 [August 1st – August 7th]

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing.

With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered.

Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars, Taraana, is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones. And that…is a fate the Wild Ones refuse to accept. Ever again.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Black Boy Joy, edited by Kwame Mbalia

Black boy joy is…

Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.

Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.

Finding your voice—and your rhymes—during tough times.

Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.

And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins

Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by Julie Abe

From this day forward, we will believe in the impossible.

Eva Evergreen has fulfilled her dream of earning the rank of Novice Witch, and discovered the chilling truth behind the mysterious Culling — the violent magical storm wreaking havoc across Rivelle Realm.

Revealing the truth, however, proves to be a difficult task and soon the culprit is at large. To make matters worse Eva learns what might be the horrible truth behind her pinch of magic and her mother’s own mysterious connection to the Culling and rogue magic.

With her spirits at an all-time low, Eva must muster up the courage to prove her mother’s innocence and learn to believe in her own magic, if she wishes to put a stop to the Culling once and for all.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. She is barely speaking to her best friends, Dante and Emma, and what’s worse, her mom has a totally annoying boyfriend. Even with her chupacabra puppy, Bruto, around, Pao can’t escape the feeling that she’s all alone in the world.

Pao has no one to tell that she’s having nightmares again, this time set in a terrifying forest. Even more troubling? At their center is her estranged father, an enigma of a man she barely remembers. And when Dante’s abuela falls mysteriously ill, it seems that the dad Pao never knew just might be the key to healing the eccentric old woman.

Pao’s search for her father will send her far from home, where she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence

When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents’ messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn’t always easy. Jenna’s chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she’s been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn

When Amandla wakes up on her fifteenth birthday she knows it’s going to be one of her mother’s difficult days. Her mother has had another vision. If Amandla wears a blue sheet her mother has loosely stitched as a dress and styles her normally braided hair in a halo around her head, Amandla’s father will come home. Amandla’s mother, Annalisa, always speaks of her father as if he was the prince of a fairytale, but in truth he’s been gone since before Amandla was born and even Annalisa’s memory of him is hazy. In fact many of Annalisa’s memories from before Amandla was born are hazy. It’s just one of the many reasons people in Sugar Town give Annalisa and Amandla strange looks–that and the fact her mother is white and Amandla is brown.

But when Amandla finds a mysterious address in the bottom of her mother’s handbag along with a large amount of cash, she decides it’s finally time to get answers about her mother’s life. But what she discovers will change the shape and size of her family forever.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Great Destroyers by Caroline Tung Richmond

Jo Linden grew up in a world where wars are won with the use of giant mechanical soldiers and the nuclear bomb was never invented. Yet the Cold War still rages. Only now international rivalries between democracy and communism play out at the Pax Games, an Olympic-style competition that pits young pilots of mecha soldiers against each other. The USSR’s beaten the US in every game since its inception, and in the 1963 games, the US is desperate for a win. Because it’s more than just the Games at stake here. Premier Khrushchev will be attending, and after he and President Kennedy are slated to sign a peace accord stabilizing the war in Vietnam-and their relationship.

Raised in her father’s mecha repair shop, Jo knows more than anyone about the awesome machines and piloting. She’s also the most unlikely pick for Team USA since she’s a virtually unknown fighter. So when Jo is invited at the last minute to compete, she jumps at it. This could be the last chance to save her family’s home from debt collectors. When Jo arrives in DC for the Games, all eyes on her. But she’s got secrets of her own. Secrets that could get her kicked out the Games-and cost her family everything-if anyone found out. As competitors start dying in the arena, it’s suddenly clear that it’s more than the usual Pax Games, and Jo finds herself drawn into a deadly political plot with the very stake of freedom at its center.

In a global chess match between superpowers, playing out in violent games that only humanity could create, comes a terrifying story of clashing titans, deadly competition, patriotism, and the girl caught in the middle of it all.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad

After her life is upended by divorce and a cross-country move, 16-year-old Saskia Brown feels like an outsider at her new school—not only is she a transplant, she’s biracial in a population of mostly white students. One day while visiting her only friend at her part-time library job, Saskia encounters a vial of liquid mercury, then touches an old daguerreotype—the precursor of the modern-day photograph—and makes a startling discovery. She is somehow able to visit the man in the portrait: Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. The hitch: she can see him only in her dreams.

Saskia shares her revelation with some classmates, hoping to find connection and friendship among strangers. Under her guidance, the other girls steal portraits of young men from a local college’s daguerreotype collection and try the dangerous experiment for themselves. Soon, they each form a bond with their own “Mercury Boy,” from an injured Union soldier to a charming pickpocket in New York City.

At night, the girls visit the boys in their dreams. During the day, they hold clandestine meetings of their new secret society. At first, the Mercury Boys Club is a thrilling diversion from their troubled everyday lives, but it’s not long before jealousy, violence, and secrets threaten everything the girls hold dear.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin

After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted.

Inspired by what they see as Mara’s political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara’s lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can’t throw, can’t kick, and doesn’t know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara’s crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara’s nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara’s preconceived notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration—and love—in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!


I Kissed a Girl by Jennet Alexander

Lilah Silver’s a young actress who dreams of climbing out of B-list stardom. She’s been cast as the lead in what could be her breakout performance…but if she wants to prove herself to everyone who ever doubted her, she’s going to need major help along the way.

Noa Birnbaum may be a brilliant makeup artist and special effects whiz-kid, but cracking into the union is more difficult than she imagined. Keeping everyone happy is a full-time job, and she’s already run ragged. And yet when the beautiful star she’s been secretly crushing on admits to fears of her own, Noa vows to do everything in her power to help Lilah shine like never before.

Long hours? Exhausting work? No problem. Together they can take the world by storm…but can the connection forged over long hours in the makeup chair ever hope to survive the glare of the spotlight?

Releases on August 3. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

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


Cover Reveal: The Blood Trials by N. E. Davenport

Illustration: Sebastien Raymond | Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: New From Here by Kelly Yang

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


Cover Reveal: Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

Illustration: Jay Bendt | Design: TBA | Add this book to Goodreads!


Book Announcement: A YA gothic horror by Catherine Yu featuring vampires, stormy weather, and missing sisters


Book Announcement: A YA graphic novel by Bianca Xunise about poverty and punk rock stars


Book Announcement: A coming-of-age best-friends-to-lovers YA summer romance by Ronni Davis


Book Announcement: God-killing weapons, reincarnated gods, and nonbinary teens collide in H. E. Edgmon’s forthcoming YA fantasy


Book Announcement: A YA love story about environmental issues and classism in a near-future Chile by Lauren Yero


Book Announcement: A novel set in small-town Appalachia following the disappearance of young Black girls by Erin E. Adams


Book Announcement: A queer romcom between cafes and boba shops by Emery Lee


Book Announcement: A trans monster-hunting YA graphic novel by Clive Hawken


From Page to Screen: Octavia Butler’s landmark novel Parable of the Sower gets a film adaptation by A24!


From Page to Screen: Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series is going to the big screen!

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