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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Top Reads of the Year: CW’s Top Ten Reads of 2020

What a year 2020 has been. I’m actively resisting the urge to talk and reflect on 2020 as a year, because I am sure that there will be an overabundance of thinkpieces. But all I’ll say that – it’s been a tough year, friends, and I’m so proud and glad that we all made it through together.

With books though, I think this has been one of my favourite reading years. 2017 was my last favourite reading year – that was the year where I made the conscious decision to diversify my reading choices, and I discovered so many wonderful stories. Though the years after were also good, I think 2020 was the year where I just read a series of phenomenal books that now live in a tender place in my heart and memory.

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Story-Time: Our Third Pond-Mas – the Pond Friends Carol and Celebrate a Special Anniversary

You make your way towards The Pond, noticing the cold air nipping at your neck where your hairline meets the wool collar of your peacoat. As you brush aside the drooping branches of the willow tree marking the entrance, the absence of Xiaolong’s warm welcome is alarming. “I wonder where everyone is,” you think, “I can’t have Pondmas without my friends! They’re like my family!”

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Book Recommendations – Short Reads To Help You Meet Your Goodreads Goal

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

With only a week left of 2020, most of us are probably looking very closely at our Goodreads goals… and for those of us who might not have reached the ambitious goal that we set out for ourselves earlier this year, maybe we’re starting to sweat a little.

But never fear! Because today, I’m going to be sharing with you some very short reads that you can read in under an hour to help you meet that Goodreads goal – because we all deserve a win, however small, right?

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Book Review: A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong – A Vibrant Graphic Novel about the Struggles of Being a Teen, the Friendships That Hold Us Up and Basketball

A map to the sun by Sloane Leong.
Blurb:

One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered.

Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She’s dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women’s basketball team at their highschool. With Ren’s new friends and Luna all on the basketball team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust.

Sloane Leong’s evocative storytelling about the lives of these young women is an ode to the dynamic nature of friendship.

I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review by the author; this does not impact or influence my opinion.

I genuinely cannot remember the last time I read something in one sitting. I struggle a lot with focusing on one task for extended periods of time; even with novellas or short works of fiction that I can easily finish in an hour, it’ll probably take me more than a few sittings to finish it. With A Map to the Sun though, I read it all in one sitting, engrossed by its vibrant and beautiful pages and hopelessly compelled by the graphic novel’s cast of flawed and imperfect teenage girls. That, for me, is a testament to how wonderful I thought this graphic novel was.

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