It’s Grace here, attempting to get myself to focus after a morning of waffles, working on student government, and putting together a “blog content” binder in an attempt to feel like I have myself together going into the fall! Because I have a busy year, I’m trying to write as much out as possible beforehand — holding myself more accountable to flesh out my reviews as I finish books, so that I can be more consistent throughout the year as I get bogged down in schoolwork.
One of my stubborn goals of the summer is to get back to where I was before college in terms of book reviewing. When I was in high school, I was much better about spotlighting new releases, and books coming out shortly. Now that I’m in college, it’s much more hectic; I spotlight books as I read them, whether their release date was in 2009 or 2018. While I enjoy both methods, I want to be able to share the love and be more involved in the recent book industry.
Since I already put together my release spreadsheet for the year for my ALA trip, I figured spotlighting releases per month would be a great way to showcase some of the books I’m looking forward to, or have already read and adored. Without further ado, here are five books coming your way this August.
Novel: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan | Goodreads
Release Date: August 14, 2018
King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.
Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.
Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?
Yes. I need a good King Midas story. Also, I’m weak for good covers and the synopsis of this one seems to convey a lush, glittering story world that would satisfy my taste in fantasy. I love the fact that this one follows his daughter rather than him, and that it’s a dark myth that few have bothered to adapt.
Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.
But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.
I’m religious, but I’m also fascinated by all the theories and philosophies surrounding religions. Furthermore, I think that everyone has the right to believe what they believe — so I’m curious about a YA book that explores the intersections of faith. Writing about religion requires a delicate touch, and that coupled with the humor and community that this book displays seems like it would convey a good amount of truth. And make for a good story. (My buzz phrases also include “private school” and “secret society.”)
Novel: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram | Goodreads
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Dial Books (PRH)
Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.
Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understand that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.
Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
First of all, I love the title and the cover. It has a dryness to it that appeals to me, and seems like it would be a colorful and raw look at the struggles of an Iranian teenager. A coming-of-age dealing with many of the nuances of an under-represented perspective? Always. Additionally, there aren’t many YA books (from the States) that take the plunge of a setting outside America — especially dealing with the transition to and from a given country.
Novel: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé | Goodreads
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Something is wrong with Marianne.
It’s not just that her parents have split up, or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close.
Something is after her. But a first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. And Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it think it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.
As a reader, my preferred taste is “Halloween reads.” Anything with atmosphere or spookiness is immediately up my alley. I like darkness that’s simultaneously romantic, something shrouded in gorgeous language or a tantalizing mystery. This looks spot on. I also love that Marianne used to be a dancer, because I did too — and it’s a hobby that I still long for.
Novel: We Regret to Inform You by Ariel Kaplan | Goodreads
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly resume-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.
As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.
I love that more publishers have started to churn out books about such an excrutiating year. In all honesty, most people love senior year and I totally hated it. I was a complete ball of stress the entire time because I had no clue where I was going or even where I wanted to go. While I ultimately ended up at the school that I’d had tucked away in my head the whole year (go Gennies!), it was a horrible process full of self-doubt and spell check. I love the concept behind this one, and it’s a hook that speaks to me. The mystery is beyond compelling. Bonus for an “eccentric” group of geeks and a “sometimes crush.” I’m excited for the gray area.