I am finally making my triumphant return to this blog to share a quick recap of my top picks from last night’s HarperCollins Canada #FrenzyPresents in which the team highlighted their best YA releases for the upcoming months. Below I’ve shared my top 5 titles (in no particular order) that I’m looking forward to reading ASAP!
1. A Show for Two
Mina Rahman has a plan for her future:
• Finally win the Golden Ivy student film competition
• Get into her dream school across the country
• Leave New York City behind once and for all
Mina’s ticket to winning the competition falls into her lap when indie film star—and known heartbreaker—Emmitt Ramos enrolls in her high school under a secret identity to research his next role. When Mina sets out to persuade Emmitt to join her cause, he offers her a deal instead: he’ll be in her short film…if she acts as a tour guide to help him with a photography contest.
As Mina ventures across the five boroughs with Emmitt by her side, the city she grew up in starts to look different and more like home than it ever has before. With the competition deadline looming, Mina’s dreams—which once seemed impenetrable—begin to crumble, and she’s forced to ask herself: Is winning worth losing everything?
2. This Place is Still Beautiful
Two sisters. A shocking racist incident. The summer that will change both of their lives forever.
Despite having had near-identical upbringings, sisters Annalie and Margaret agree on only one thing: that they have nothing in common. Nineteen-year-old Margaret is driven, ambitious, and keenly aware of social justice issues. She couldn’t wait to leave their oppressive small-town home and take flight in New York. Meanwhile sweet, popular, seventeen-year-old Annalie couldn’t think of anything worse – she loves their town, and feels safe coasting along in its confines.
That is, until she arrives home one day to find a gut-punching racial slur painted on their garage door.
Outraged, Margaret flies home, expecting to find her family up in arms. Instead, she’s amazed to hear they want to forget about it. Their mom is worried about what it might stir up, and Annalie just wants to have a ‘normal’ summer – which Margaret is determined to ruin, apparently.
Back under each other’s skins, things between Margaret and Annalie get steadily worse – and not even the distraction of first love (for Annalie), or lost love (for Margaret) can bring them together.
Until finally, a crushing secret threatens to tear them apart forever.
3. Twice as Perfect
A Young Adult novel by Louisa Onomé, Twice As Perfect follows a Nigerian Canadian girl dealing with an estranged older brother, helping her cousin plan a huge Nigerian wedding, and pressure from her parents about her future.
The only things worth doing are those that will lead to success.
For seventeen-year-old Adanna Nkwachi, life is all about duty: to school and the debate team, to her Nigerian parents, and even to her cousin Genny as Ada helps prepare Genny’s wedding to Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy (“Skeleboy me, Skeleboy this money, everything na Skeleboy…that Skeleboy!”). Because ever since her older brother, Sam, had a fight with their parents a few years ago and disappeared, somebody has to fill the void he left behind. Ada may never know what caused Sam to leave home, but the one thing she’s certain of is that it’s on her to make sure her parents’ sacrifices aren’t in vain.
One day, chance brings the siblings back together. Although she fears how their parents will react if they find out she and Sam are back in touch, Ada’s determined to get answers about the night Sam left—Sam, who was supposed to be an engineer but is now, what, a poet? The more she learns about Sam’s poetry, the more Ada begins to wonder if maybe her own happiness is just as important as doing what’s expected of her. Amid parental pressure, anxiety over the debate competition, a complicated love life, and the Nigerian wedding-to-end-all-weddings, can Ada learn, just this once, to put herself first?
4. The Silence that Binds Us
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.
5. The Darkening
In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.
Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.
Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.
Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.
Even cheat her way into his cold heart.
But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.
An unofficial 6th pick because a) Victoria Aveyard and b) it’s the featured book so duh! I started Realm Breaker last year but then life got in the way so I’m super pumped to binge both of these books!
In the sequel to Realm Breaker, a divided world must rally, an unstoppable enemy must be defeated, and the fate of the world rests on a blade’s edge.
Andry, a former squire, continues to fight for hope amid blood and chaos.
Dom, a grieving immortal, strives to fulfill a broken oath.
Sorasa, an outcast assassin, faces her past when it returns with sharpened teeth.
Valtik, an old sorceress, summons a mighty power.
And Corayne, a pirate’s daughter with an ancient magic in her blood, steps closer to becoming the hero she’s destined to be.
Together they must assemble an army to face Queen Erida and Taristan’s wicked forces. But something deadly waits in the shadows, something that might consume the world before there’s any hope for victory.
I have been super MIA from the book world between often being terrible at juggling all aspects of life (work, the gym, adulting, etc.) and then the pandemic hitting and really throwing life out of whack. A couple of weeks ago, however, I unfortunately ruptured my Achilles tendon. This injury has really forced me to slow down and left me with a lot of time to myself and at home. Instead of sulking because I can’t go to the gym (okay…I’ll 100% still be doing some of this too), I’ve decided to use this time to reignite my passion for books, reading, and blogging. Hopefully you’ll see a lot more of me around here, Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even BookTok.
If you have any recommendations of things you think I absolutely need to read please feel free to drop them below! I’ve got lots of time on my hands which means ALL THE BOOKS 🙂