The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2019, Part I. – Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Inevitably Destroy Me (In a Good Way)

TEXT: The Pond's Most Anticipated Reads; Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Destroy Me; Image: Xiaolong the pink axolotl, reading a book and sitting inside a book tent and fort, surrounded by books.

You’re feeling rather excited to visit the Pond today. Before leaving the magical boundary of the Pond on your last visit, little Xiaolong had run after you and told you that she was planning something fun for everyone. “I wanted to start a tradition,” she had said. “And because you’re our good friend, I want you to be there. Make sure you visit soon, okay?”

As you cross the boundary into the Pond, you see that little blanket forts have been erected around the Pond’s edge.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside-down flower hat, smiling and holding up a stack of books.“Friend!” calls Xiaolong. She crawls out from one of the blanket forts – the blanket is a blue as deep as the sky with golden stars embroidered on it – holding a small stack of books. “Surprise!” she cheers, looking absolutely delighted. “I thought having a blanket fort party would be a great way to start the new year would be to have a big sleepover where we just read together and talk about the books we’re excited about. Look! I even made a tent for you.”

You turn around, following her gaze. Indeed, across from Xiaolong’s tent is your very own blanket fort – you were worried for a second that you had to squeeze into Xiaolong’s tiny one! You make yourself comfortable in your own fort, and glance around; it’s pretty cosy in here.

So what books are you excited about, Xiaolong? you ask.

A big smile grows on Xiaolong’s face at your question. She sits across from you, and holds up one of the books in her stack. And thus begins your blanket fort party, where she shares with you all the books she’s excited to read this year.

Friends, I went down the Goodreads rabbit hole. I thought to myself, okay, I’ll just put together a simple list of 8 books that I’m excited about! And so I did a lot of research. Five hours later, I found over 70 wonderful diverse books that are releasing in 2019 alone – and I’m still not finished looking. And I realised, oh dear, choosing only EIGHT BOOKS RELEASING IN 2019 is an impossible task.

So rather than agonise for hours about which eight books to choose, I decided to do a week-long feature of all the books I am excited about!

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Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan – An Excellent YA Sci-Fi with Social Discourse, Helmed by Three Brilliant & Realised Characters

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Summary:

Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

My review:

I’m still in awe. Going into Ignite the Stars, I had a feeling that I would like it, but I had no idea that I would love it. It follows Ia Cocha, a teenage criminal mastermind and genius pilot who is captured by her enemy and is forced to work for their military academy. While she plots her escape, she meets two others at the academy that will change her life and its trajectory forever. It has so much to offer and boasts some incredible elements that readers will love: discourse on social and political issues relevant to today, found family, female friendships, and a slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance.

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