Here’s what’s new in Realistic Fiction this month:
The Haters by Jesse Andrews
Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band. For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.
Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby
ORGAN DONOR: Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about–and never revealed to her. All at once, everything Tallie thought she understood about her brother’s death feels like a lie. And although a part of her knows he’s gone forever, another part of her wonders if finding the letter might be a sign. That if she can just track down the people on the other end of those two words, it might somehow bring him back. This deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. In a leap of faith–or an act of complete desperation–Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis
Dess knows that nothing good lasts. Disappointment is never far away, and that’s a truth she has learned to live with. Dess’s mother’s most recent arrest is just the latest in a long line of disappointments, but this one lands her with her baby brother’s foster family. Dess doesn’t exactly fit in with the Carters. They’re so happy, so comfortable, so normal, and Hope, their teenage daughter, is so hopelessly naïve. Over time their differences, insurmountable at first, fall away to reveal two girls who want the same thing: to belong. Davis, a Coretta Scott King Honor winner, weaves a tale of two modern teenagers defying stereotypes and deciding for themselves what it means to be a family.
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice. In 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, teenage Hanneke–a ‘finder’ of black market goods–is tasked with finding a Jewish girl a customer had been hiding, who has seemingly vanished into thin air, and is pulled into a web of resistance activities and secrets as she attempts to solve the mystery and save the missing girl. An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
When We Collided by Emery Lord
17 year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, CA, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he’s not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. Then he meets Vivi, the new girl in town. In love with life, charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. But it’s not long before her zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking. Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
A chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view. Rumors of a student-teacher affair hit the fan. After Juniper accidentally exposes her secret at a party, her fate falls into the hands of the other six sinners, bringing them into one another’s orbits. All seven are guilty of something. Together, they could save one another from their temptations–or be ruined by them. This twisty YA debut effortlessly weaves humor, heartbreak, and redemption into a drama that fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins will adore.
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Told in four parts–freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year–this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding
Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, this is a hilariously relatable story about how even the best-laid plans sometimes need to be rewritten. What’s the only thing that could derail overachiever Jules’s perfect senior year? Alex Powell–former boy-band sensation and newest transfer to Eagle Vista Academy. He seems cool enough when he starts spending time with Jules. And he turns out to be quite the romantic (not to mention a killer kisser). After getting over the initial shock that someone like Alex might actually like like her, Jules accepts that having a boyfriend could be a nice addition to her packed schedule. That is, until Alex commits the ultimate betrayal, which threatens to ruin her high school career, and possibly her entire future. This. Means. War.
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian
What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together? While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together. And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever. There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story.
Scar Girl by Len Vlahos
When The Scar Boys ended, the band has fallen apart. Harry and Johnny are barely speaking, and Cheyenne is feeling desperate about Johnny, who has retreated into silence. It’s only through their music that the group is able to rebuild their relationships, and they slowly begin to reach musical success and fame. In Scar Girl, Cheyenne, Harry, and Richie tell their own stories as they discover the ups and downs of being rock musicians–including meltdowns on stage, too much drinking, keeping secrets that should be shared, and having fights that test the limits of their friendship. The band’s reputation grows and grows, but will the kids themselves survive?