Wow, was November busy! I met writers from around the state, got a couple teens to join in the NaNo fun with the Young Writers Program, and successfully wrote 50,000+ words in 30 days. I also slowed down my reading a lot to allow for all that extra writing time. So, here are some books that came out in November that I’m really excited about!
Oddity by Sarah Cannon
Full disclosure, my friend is the author, but I just finished reading this and it was absolutely delightful! Here’s the summary from Amazon:
Join a tough eleven-year-old as she faces down zombie rabbits, alien mobs, and Puppet Cartels while trying to find her missing twin in Sarah Cannon’s imaginative middle-grade debut, Oddity.
Welcome to Oddity, New Mexico, where normal is odd and odd is normal.
Ada Roundtree is no stranger to dodging carnivorous dumpsters, distracting zombie rabbits with marshmallows, and instigating games of alien punkball. But things haven’t been the same since her twin sister, Pearl, won the town’s yearly Sweepstakes and disappeared…
Along with her best friend, Raymond, and new-kid-from-Chicago Cayden (whose inability to accept being locked in the gym with live leopards is honestly quite laughable), Ada leads a self-given quest to discover Oddity’s secrets, even evading the invisible Blurmonster terrorizing the outskirts of town.
But one of their missions goes sideways, revealing something hinky with the Sweepstakes … and Ada can’t let it go. Because, if the Sweepstakes is bad, then what happened to Pearl?
Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
Science fiction writing and family drama at a summer camp? Yes, please! Here’s the summary from Amazon:
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and run away to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College — the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program, and her dream school. She’s also going to start over as Ever Lawrence: a new name for her new beginning. She’s even excited spend her summer with the other nerds and weirdos in the completion, like her socially-awkward roommate with neon-yellow hair, and a boy who seriously writes on a typewriter and is way cuter than is comfortable or acceptable.
The only problem with her excellent plan to secretly win the scholarship and a ticket to her future: her golden-child, super-genius cousin Isaiah has had the same idea, and has shown up at Rayevich smugly ready to steal her dreams and expose her fraud in the process.
This summer’s going to be great.
The November Girl by Lydia Kang
A romance between a girl who is literally a storm and a boy who’s running away from an abusive home. I was intrigued by the description, but when author and literary agent Eric Smith recommended it on Book Riot’s Hey YA podcast, I was sold. Here’s the description from Amazon:
I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.
Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.
Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.
Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
I loved Warga’s first novel, My Heart and Other Black Holes. She writes mental illness with such nuance, and her characters are achingly real. Here’s the description of her latest from Amazon:
Taliah Sahar Abdallat lives and breathes music. Songs have always helped Tal ease the pain of never having known her father. Her mother, born in Jordan and very secretive about her past, won’t say a word about who her dad really was. But when Tal finds a shoebox full of old letters from Julian Oliver — yes, the indie rock star Julian Oliver — she begins to piece the story together.
She writes to Julian, but after three years of radio silence, she’s given up hope. Then one day, completely out of the blue, Julian shows up at her doorstep, and Tal doesn’t know whether to be furious or to throw herself into his arms. Before she can decide, he asks her to go on a trip with him to meet her long-estranged family and to say good-bye to his father, her grandfather, who is dying.
Getting to know your father after sixteen years of estrangement doesn’t happen in one car ride. But as Tal spends more time with Julian and his family, she begins to untangle her parents’ secret past, and discovers a part of herself she never recognized before.
By the acclaimed author of My Heart and Other Black Holes, this is an intergenerational story of family and legacy and the way love informs both of those things. It’s about secrets and the debt of silence. It’s about the power of songs. And most of all, it’s about learning how to say hello. And good-bye.
The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
From the description, this didn’t sound like something I’d normally pick up, but after hearing the author discuss it on a panel at the YALSA Symposium, I’m intrigued. Here’s the summary from Amazon:
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
What are some new books you’d recommend?