KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Caitlyn Paxson

Set in an imaginary world version of post-war Britain where body horror and romance collide, The Death of Jane Lawrence digs into the age-old question asked by gothic novels and fairy tales alike: What do you do if your deeply attractive but hastily-married husband is hiding a very dark secret in his crumbling manor house?

Two YA historical fictions set in America when the 19th century was rolling over into the 20th. One boy haunted by ghostly visions of a traumatic past and one forced to live a captive because of his magic transportive powers. Two thieves and rapscallions who love them, but fear they aren't worthy.

September releases The City Beautiful and Before We Disappear both offer up twisty plots full of crimes, cons, conspiracies, and queer romance.

Road trip stories tend to fall into two categories — wild adventures of self-discovery where things turn out okay in the end, or grim, outlaws-on-the run tragedies. You can Priscilla Queen of the Desert or you can Thelma and Louise. But maybe there's another journey to be had. Me (Moth) may feature a list of sightseeing stops and a series of motels, but it defies the road trip genre, carving out a pensive path through ancestry, trauma, and art.

Folkloric family magic and monstrous mothers tie together these two July releases, though their tones could not be more different.

Six Crimson Cranes is a reimagining of a classic if lesser-known fairy tale, The Six Swans. I'm most familiar with the version recorded by the Brothers' Grimm, though there are many variants, and Elizabeth Lim has taken the source material and turned it into something much more nuanced and compassionate than the original tale.

A big part of the appeal of story about giant fighting mechas is the machines themselves. Their look, their character — it's fun to compare them and root for them when they go into battle. But Gearbreakers really doesn't care about the mecha fantasy. Its machines are cold symbols of authoritarianism, and its protagonists seek to destroy them at any cost.

At first glance, new YA releases The Ones We're Meant to Find and Luck of the Titanic don't seem to have a lot in common. One of these books is set in an imagined future, and the other represents a potential past. Though the protagonists of both are part of the Asian diaspora, their concerns are divided by hundreds of years of social upheaval and climate catastrophe. But as I read, I began to realize that they somehow bear surprising thematic connections: Siblings who are divided by differing values but yearn to support one another.

A tender-hearted prince finds his power in this earnest, seafaring romance.

Prince Tal hasn't had a lot of chances to get out of the palace. As the second youngest of five, he isn't going to be the king one day or lead the army or even marry strategically. There's only one thing his family expects of him: to keep his magic hidden. Tal burns with the same supernatural fire that his grandfather wielded in the name of destruction and tyranny. If people knew Tal was the heir to his magic, they would call for his head on a platter.

A contemplative exploration of existing between two cultural identities meets fake relationship romance meets backwoods thriller in this absolute powerhouse of a debut from Ojibwe author Angeline Boulley.

Prickly, angry girls either get to the bottom of disappearances — or cause them — in these three angsty young adult books that will send thrills through your winter doldrums.

The Initial Insult, by Mindy McGinnis

What if Wednesday Addams had been sent away to boarding school when she was little? Would she remember all the secrets of her monstrous family? Would she remember why, of all of them, she was the one so dangerous that she had to be banished?

This is the best way to describe the premise of Rose Szabo's debut novel, What Big Teeth — though the Zarrin family is both much stranger and more dour than the affable Addamses.

I am writing this on January 7, 2021, and I have no idea how to review a book that depicts a notorious historical event where white supremacists rioted and destroyed a Black community, when yesterday, almost exactly 100 years later, white supremacists rioted their way into the U.S. Capitol Building. But Angel of Greenwood deserves to fly into the world on the biggest wings she can spread, so I'm going to try.

Romeo and Juliet gets a hardboiled makeover in this historical drama set amid the turmoil of a city torn apart by colonialism: In 1920s Shanghai, where we lay our scene, two rival gangs must join forces to hunt down a monster.

Addie LaRue was born in France at the very end of the 17th century — but no one remembers that. No one, that is, except for Addie herself and the devil she makes a deal with to escape an unwanted marriage and an ordinary life. But bargaining with wild gods always comes with hidden costs. Addie willingly trades her soul for immortality, but she doesn't realize until too late that the price of her freedom is her legacy — for now she is doomed to be instantly forgotten by everyone she meets.

An ancient story of love and loss finds new life amongst Afro-Latinx teens in Lilliam Rivera's new young adult novel, Never Look Back.

Pheus — short for Orpheus — has spent his whole life in the Bronx, charming everyone in the neighborhood with his charisma and his beautiful voice. He plans to spend an easy summer singing bachata and playing his guitar on the beach. But all of that changes when he meets Eury.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Girls are pushed to their limits and have to decide how far they are willing to go to survive, be remembered and protect what they love in these three spring young adult releases.

You know you're in for something a little different when a YA novel begins with an exploding penis.

An amateur art historian uncovers the story of a mysterious woman who inspired some of the great works of Alexandre Dumas, Lord Byron, and Eugène Delacroix in this delightful romp through the City of Lights.

National Book Award nominee Samantha Mabry returns with a ghostly tale of four Latinx sisters – three of them living, one dead.

The Torres sisters are a charismatic but prickly bunch, always straining against their widower father's smothering grip and trying to figure out how to run towards something better. But when Ana, the eldest, falls to her death trying to sneak out her bedroom window one night, it shatters her sisters and leaves them alone with their regrets and fears.

It's 1617. A storm blows up so suddenly that it seems like evil magic and wipes out the entire male population of Vardø, a little fishing village off the coast of Norway. The women watch as the sea consumes their husbands, fathers, and brothers whole. Left on their own, they swallow their grief and set about trying to survive.

Fiber art magic brings Bolivian-inspired fantasy to life in Isabel Ibañez's debut novel, Woven in Moonlight.

Kane Montgomery is in trouble. He had some sort of car accident that wiped out both an old derelict building and his memory of the crash, and now the police are asking questions and his family — especially his sister, Sophia — want information he can't quite piece together. Even the charismatic doctor that he assumed was assigned to his case by the police is an enigma. Are they a therapist? A detective? A drag queen?

Steph is used to starting over. She and her mother have been on the run from her father for as long as she can remember, moving from town to town and school to school, always leaving when it seems like there's a chance he could find them. The only thing that remains consistent in her life is the close connection she's made with a chat group on a website called CatNet. They upload photos of cute animals, they talk about being teenagers, they encourage each other — all from a safe, anonymous distance.

A girl in disguise, a king in need of protection, and a conspiracy so deep that even those at its heart don't know the whole truth: The Guinevere Deception takes the familiar trappings of Arthurian legend and spins them into an earthy fantasy.

Ruta Sepetys last tore our hearts out with Salt to the Sea, her exploration of the human condition as seen through the eyes of refugees fleeing World War II. In her new book, The Fountains of Silence, she is intent on once again slaying us with history that is full of both beauty and terror, this time set in 1950's Spain — a country held tight in the grip of General Francisco Franco's blood-soaked dictatorship.

Heidi Heilig is the kind of author who comes up with the kind of clever premises that make other writers wring their hands in envy. In her first book, The Girl from Everywhere, she asked: What if there was a boat that could sail through time? In her new series, which began last year with For a Muse of Fire, she turns from time travel to necromancy. Jetta is a shadow puppeteer who animates her puppets with the souls of dead animals.

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