Wow. March is a good month for new releases. Last month, I pretty much knew that Out of the Easy was going to be my favorite, and it was. March is so full of releases I’m dying to read, it was tough narrowing it down. Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in more than 5 again, as I did in January and am on track to do for February.
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow. Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.
I was excited about this one way back last year when it was added to Goodreads. I loved the cover and the cute premise. In an Internet age, I think it’s worth considering what we’ve lost as a society. Not that I’m giving up the Internet—I just think the way it’s changed us is something to think about. Plus, this claims to have “family moments” in it, and I think we need more of that in YA. I also bought Sean Griswold’s Head when it was on Kindle special recently, and I’m looking forward to it, too.
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .
When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.
Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.
Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.
I am always a fan of fairy tale retellings. My favorite fairy tale is Bluebeard because it is deliciously creepy. I always thought it was lesser known, so I was surprised to see this pop up on my radar, and equally surprised to see so many other reader-friends say “Bluebeard is my fave fairy tale!” But I guess maybe a bookish set is going to be more familiar with classic fairy tales than most people. At first, I was kind of bummed about this book, because true story: I have a draft of a YA Bluebeard retelling.
Then, incidentally, I read this blog post from 2013 debut author Natalie Whipple: “Other People Will Have Your Ideas (and That’s OK).” And really, my story, still buried in a secret draft folder on my computer, is so different from the time period, setting, and general plot of this story. (Also, mine has never and most likely will never be read by anyone else, unless I publish several successful novels…because it’s not the kind of book that works for a debut, I don’t think). My novel would probably be as similar to Strands of Bronze and Gold as say, Ash is to Cinder, two Cinderella retellings. I set my heart was free to love this book, and I hope I do!
The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa Bick
People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was . . . you know. But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy.
I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams—even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them.
Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands.
What I don’t know is if I can trust my own eyes. I don’t know who threw the stone. Who swung the hatchet? Who are the shadows? What do the living owe the dead?
First, that title. I don’t really care what it’s about. It could be sci-fi, epic historical fantasy, or, what it really is, contemporary…and I would still be interested. This book first came onto my radar when I went to YALSA’s Lit Symposium last November, when it was on a list of 2013 GLBTQ YA titles. (I wrote about the Queer Lit panel at The Hub, if your interested in other titles mentioned or more on the program). The synopsis grabbed me, and I’m anxious to check this one out.
17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
It isn’t so much the premise that sparked my interest, but Nova Ren Suma’s writing. I love her blog and she’s one of my favorite authors to follow on Twitter. I really hope I enjoy this!
OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Rodey Vaughn
With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and “unique learning profile,” Danielle Levine doesn’t fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a “social skills” class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle’s resolve to keep everyone at arm’s length starts to crumble.
The movie The Big Lebowski is big in my family. Lines from it seamlessly enter everyday conversation. When Liberty Hall puts in on in the big theater and sells White Russians, you can bet that we’re going bowling and then going to Midnight Movie Madness. Am I planning my next trip to visit the little brother in LA around Lebowskifest? You bet. Throw in sarcastic plus-sized girls who don’t fit in, and this is my kind of book.
There are several other notable books being released this month. Clockwork Princess is coming out, too, and I feel compelled to finish the series, because even if I don’t care for Cassandra Clare’s writing style, I’m invested enough to want to finish that series. I’ve received a lot of other ARCs for March releases, including If You Find Me, which I have heard fabulous things about, The Culling, a sci-fi/dystopia that features queer characters (yay!) that I really want to read, The Murmurings, which looks to be a good psychological thriller, Mila 2.0, more sci-fi that kind of reminded me of Beta by Rachel Cohn which I loved…and there are still other books I’m looking forward to reading but they’ll probably have to wait for the future, because 10 new novels in a month is ambitious even for me.
What new releases are you most looking forward to?