Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Dustin Thao, Author of You’ve Reached Sam – On His Debut, Kimi No Na Wa, and His DVPit Journey

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

When I first came across You’ve Reached Sam and read the blurb – about a girl who grieves the death of her boyfriend and calls her boyfriend’s phone, only for him to pick up thus giving them a chance to say goodbye – I probably cried. And then when I read this book? I had tears and snot dripping down my face. This book is a beautiful story about love, grief, and the connections that we have with others, and I’m excited for you all to read it come November.

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The Pond’s 32 Most Anticipated Books of 2021 (January – June)

The Pond's 32 Most Anticipated Books of 2021 (January – June)

We can feel it in our bones: 2021 is going to be an amazing reading year.

The beginning of the year feels like such an exciting time. There are so many books to look forward to this year, so many of which we are excited to read and whether we end up liking it or not – well, the anticipation feels so good.

When we scoured through our spreadsheet, looking for books releasing in 2021 to feature in our The Pond’s Most Anticipated Books list, we were stumped. We had a hard time featuring a list-sensible number of books (my own list included over 30 books!) – there were just so many exciting books to look forward to! (In saying that, this list was incredibly difficult list to put together, and we are looking forward to many books not included in this list as well!)

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Book Review: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston – Listen Up: This Imaginative Middle-Grade Fantasy with Black Girl Magic Should Be the Next Big Series

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston.
Blurb:

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.

Wow, wow, wow. I was immediately pulled in by the intriguing premise for Amari and the Night Brothers: about a girl who discovers a briefcase left by her missing big brother, and its contents leads her on a journey of discovery, a world of magic that has always co-existed with the mundane one. My curiosity was sufficiently piqued; sign me up any day for a contemporary fantasy.

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The Pond Book News #68 – Hello 2021! Starting the Year with 8 Exciting New Releases, 15 Cover Reveals, and 11 Book Announcements

Welcome to Issue #68!

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!

This year, we’re changing up the book news a little to make space for all the wonderful projects we have coming your way in 2021—the little personal notes from Xiaolong and Sprout will now just be bonus blurbs instead of core fixtures in the articles! This means that you might not see us commenting on every single book release or announcement in the column anymore, but rest assured: if a book really really gets us excited, we’ll still let you know! The hope is that this will free up our time to work on new creative features that really excite us here at the Pond.

With the help of Xiaolong, we’ve brought to you the very first issue of 2021, covering all the book announcements we could find from December until today. Now, onwards to the brilliant books!

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