Grace's Top Five ALA 2018 Picks

Hey y'all!It's Grace here, the evening before I leave for New Orleans! I couldn't be more excited to get a few days out of town (although my family just informed me that we're leaving for Canada the morning after I get back -- yay for short turnarounds.) Between getting to see a few school friends, wandering the streets, and catching up on industry trends with some publishers, I'm psyched to strike out for a bit.This morning, I spent a good majority of my time putting together a spreadsheet of the titles releasing in late summer and the fall. Here are some of the ones I'm making my top priority to read early.As a disclaimer, I have no clue if these are ARCs yet -- but either way, some fall reads I'm excited for.

The Reads

Novel: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck | GoodreadsRelease Date: September 11, 2018Publisher: Delacorte Press

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

It's truly obnoxious how obsessed I am with all things that remind me of Halloween (my favorite holiday.) Big fan of all things spooky and atmospheric, especially if they have folky roots.Novel: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James | GoodreadsRelease Date: July 3, 2018Publisher: HarperTeen

A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twistThe daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on theInfinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone…

Sometimes a book gets me solely by a cover (or title.) I'm not normally a sci-fi thriller girl, but the industry's been moving in that direction -- and this type, poignant and exciting, piques my interest.Novel: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby | GoodreadsRelease Date: August 7, 2018Publisher: HarperTeen

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.

As a gal who was supposed to be on the Pacific Crest Trail by now, anybody can see why this book is #1 on my wishlist. Luckily, I have a copy coming to me in the mail! My goddamn heart. For one, I reread her book Moonglass like a fiend. Also, any books about coming-of-age within nature make me weak.Novel: Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand | GoodreadsRelease Date: October 2, 2018Publisher: HarperCollins

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.Who are the Sawkill Girls?Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

So a lot of the reviews for this cite it as super hit-or-miss. These types of abstract metaphor, spooky, a little too dark and dramatic -- those are my sweet spot. Woods and waves and campfires? Yes. For reference, I loved similar books like Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, The Graces, Wink Poppy Midnight, The Accident Season.Novel: Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman | GoodreadsRelease Date: September 11, 2018Publisher: Simon Pulse

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

I love tropical settings, and that in itself is enough to rescue the book from the wave of recent grief-reaction books that flooded the market from 2015 to now. Although some of them have the capability to be mindblowing, I've gotten to the point of putting a book down if I'm browsing and read it in a synopsis. Because of the author and the reviews, I've been dying for this one.

Believe me when I say I'll be featuring plenty of the fall titles on the blog. Cutting it off at five was so hard! Do y'all have any books you're excited for?

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