Three new books I’m excited about

This month, three authors that I admire and respect (and have the good fortune to know personally) have new books out. All three are also moms (happy belated mother’s day!) and write for kids of varying ages, so I’m looking forward to sharing their latest works with my own kids. I’ve read–and loved–just about everything these authors have written, so I’m still eagerly awaiting my copies to arrive. All three are garnering lots of positive reviews, so snap up copies for yourself right away!

Marti Dumas is the co-coordinator of our local SCBWI chapter and an all-around lovely person. She and I collaborated on putting together a virtual retreat for creators when we couldn’t do so face-to-face. My kids and I have loved her previous middle-grade series, so I am really looking forward to diving into her brand-new middle-grade novel, Wildseed Witch:

Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her. Or that the magic will be strong enough to attract the attention of witches. Or that before she can say #BlackGirlMagic, she’ll be shipped off on a scholarship to a fancy finishing school for talented young ladies.

Marti Dumas, Wildseed Witch,

Linda Williams Jackson and I met at a SCBWI retreat, where I was lucky enough to read part of a very early draft of her new middle-grade novel, The Lucky Ones. I am also eternally grateful to her for introducing me to our mutual agent. Her previous books have been beautifully illuminating, and this one promises to be wonderful:

It’s 1967, and eleven-year-old Ellis Earl Brown has big dreams. He’s going to grow up to be a teacher or a lawyer–or maybe both–and live in a big brick house in town. There’ll always be enough food in the icebox, and his mama won’t have to run herself ragged looking for work as a maid in order to support Ellis Earl and his eight siblings and niece, Vera. So Ellis Earl applies himself at school, soaking up the lessons that Mr. Foster teaches his class–particularly those about famous colored people like Mr. Thurgood Marshall and Miss Marian Wright–and borrowing books from his teacher’s bookshelf. When Mr. Foster presents him with a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ellis Earl is amazed to encounter a family that’s even worse off than his own–and is delighted by the Buckets’ very happy ending. But when Mama tells Ellis Earl that he might need to quit school to help support the family, he wonders if happy endings are only possible in storybooks. Around the historical touchstone of Robert Kennedy’s southern “poverty tour,” Linda Williams Jackson pulls from her own childhood in the Mississippi Delta to tell a detail-rich and poignant story with memorable characters, sure to resonate with readers who have ever felt constricted by their circumstances.

Linda Williams Jackson, The Lucky Ones,

Lish McBride and I graduated from UNO’s Creative Writing Workshop MFA program at the same time, though in different genres. I always enjoyed whatever she read at open-mike nights–she’s really funny–and have followed her career (and read all her books) ever since. Her latest YA fantasy, A Little Too Familiar: An Uncanny Romance Novel promises to be exciting and romantic in equal measure:

Louise Matthews has got it good. Wonderful job? Check. Loving family? The best. Roommates? Pretty fantastic, thank you. All of this helps her stay focused on what she wants: to finish out her apprenticeship and become a fully licensed Switch-an animal mage who bonds familiars to their witches. Only a problem has just moved in — a hot, occasionally wolf-shaped problem.

Declan Mackenzie doesn’t want to be a lone wolf, but he doesn’t have a choice. Girlfriend? Gone. Sister? Starting a new life. Parents? In prison where they belong, thankfully. All he wants is a fresh start-new home, new job, new life. What he gets is a house full of witches, a fledgling phoenix named Dammit, and rogue ferrets who won’t stay out of his business. And he could handle all of that if it wasn’t for Louise. It’s not great to crush on your roommate. It’s even worse when you realize she wields the kind of magic that sends you running for the door.

Still, Declan is no pup, and he’s not going to let this set him back. Until the past comes back to haunt him — the parents he put in jail have busted out. They want revenge. And the only thing standing between them and Declan is Louise and the very magic he vowed never to go near again.

Lish McBride, A Little Too Familiar: An Uncanny Romance Novel,