I don’t know about you, but I am desperate for Spring. The winter has been grey and cold and feels like it can go on forever. I need warmer days where a comfortable porch chair and more daylight, where it’s neither too hot nor too cold, and a good book can keep you company for hours. If that sounds like the antidote the winter blahs, I invite you to join me in checking out these March reads while we desperately wait for Spring.
The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten
A fantasy romance with a backdrop of necromancy and court intrigue? Sign me up. Hannah Whitten intrigued readers with her duology, For The Wolf and For The Throne and The Foxglove King is another highly anticipated release.
Synopsis: When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.
Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.
Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.
But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.
Release Date: March 7, 2023, via Orbit Books. Order Here.
The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill
Another hopeful found family by K. O’Neill, creator of my favorite graphic novel The Tea Dragon Society? I can’t imagine starting Spring with any other book!
Synopsis: Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prove her worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn’t exactly what Anya thought it would be? Night after night, it is lonely in the desert, with only one lantern for light.
Still, Anya is eager to prove her worth, to show her thanks to her friends and her village. But is it worth the cost? And yet something isn’t right. When Anya glimpses the one thing that could destroy what she’s meant to protect, her village and the lunar moths are left to deal with the consequences. K. O’Neill brings to life a beautifully illustrated fantasy with lush, gorgeous art, and intricate world-building. A story about coming of age and community, The Moth Keeper is filled with magic, hope, and friendship.
In Memoriam by Alice Winn
This novel, as romantic and tragic as Atonement, is set during WWI and tells the story of two young men, classmates at boarding school and both desperately in love with the other, though neither knows it, who join the fight. Heartbreaking and visceral, this is a novel that I imagine anyone who reads it won’t soon forget about it and the characters within.
Synopsis: It’s 1914, and World War I is ceaselessly churning through thousands of young men on both sides of the fight. The violence of the front feels far away to Henry Gaunt, Sidney Ellwood, and the rest of their classmates, safely ensconced in their idyllic boarding school in the English countryside. News of the heroic deaths of their friends only makes the war more exciting.
Gaunt, half German, is busy fighting his own private battle–an all-consuming infatuation with his best friend, the glamorous, charming Ellwood–without a clue that Ellwood is pining for him in return. When Gaunt’s family asks him to enlist to forestall the anti-German sentiment they face, Gaunt does so immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings for Ellwood. To Gaunt’s horror, Ellwood rushes to join him at the front, and the rest of their classmates soon follow. Now death surrounds them in all its grim reality, often inches away, and no one knows who will be next.
An epic tale of both the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip, In Memoriam is a breathtaking debut.
The Jump by Brittney Morris
Combining a diverse cast, social justice, and environmental themes, The Jump is a thrilling novel by bestselling author, Brittney Morris.
Synopsis: Influence is power. Power creates change. And change is exactly what Team Jericho needs.
Jax, Yas, Spider, and Han are the four cornerstones of Team Jericho, the best scavenger hunting team in all of Seattle. Each has their own specialty: Jax, the puzzler; Yas, the parkourist; Spider, the hacker; and Han, the cartographer. But now with an oil refinery being built right in their backyard, each also has their own problems. Their families are at risk of losing their jobs, their communities, and their homes.
So when The Order, a mysterious vigilante organization, hijacks the scavenger hunting forum and concocts a puzzle of its own, promising a reward of influence, Team Jericho sees it as the chance of a lifetime. If they win this game, they could change their families’ fates and save the city they love so much. But with an opposing team hot on their heels, it’s going to take more than street smarts to outwit their rivals.
Release Date: March 7, 2023, via Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
A Long Stretch of Bad Days by Mindy McGinnis
For fans of Sadie, Mindy McGinnis’ latest is a gritty, twisty thriller about two girls who use a podcast to speak up about the dark history in their small town.
Synopsis: Lydia Chass doesn’t mind living in a small town; she just doesn’t want to die in one. A lifetime of hard work has put her on track to attend a prestigious journalism program and leave Henley behind—until a school error leaves her a credit short of graduating. Undeterred, Lydia has a plan to earn that credit: transform her listener-friendly local history podcast into a truth-telling exposé. She’ll investigate the Long Stretch of Bad Days: a week when Henley was hit by a tornado and a flash food as well as its first—and only—murder, which remains unsolved.
But Lydia needs help to bring grit to the show. Bristal Jamison has a bad reputation and a foul mouth, but she also needs a credit to graduate. The unexpected partnership brings together the Chass family—a pillar of the community—and the rough-and-tumble Jamisons, with Bristal hoping to be the first in her family to graduate. Together, they dig into the town’s worst week, determined to solve the murder.
Their investigation unearths buried secrets: a hidden town brothel, lost family treasure, and a teen girl who disappeared. But the past is never far, and some don’t want it to see the light. As threats escalate, the girls have to uncover the truth before the dark history of Henley catches up with them.
This gripping mystery from award-winning author Mindy McGinnis shows the power of a name and one lie and how two girls can use their voices to change a town forever.
Release Date: March 14, 2023, via Katherine Tegen Books. Order Here.
Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz
I haven’t read a time loop novel in a while so I’m very intrigued by the premise of this high-fantasy YA. I also may have decided I needed this book because I never turn down a novel that has a “rogue prince” character.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Anaïs just wants tonight to end. As an outsider at the kingdom’s glittering anniversary ball, she has no desire to rub shoulders with the nation’s most eligible (and pompous) bachelors—especially not the notoriously roguish Prince Leo. But at the stroke of midnight, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone in its path. Including her.
The last thing Anaïs sees is fire, smoke, chaos . . . and then she wakes up in her bedroom, hours before the ball. No one else remembers the deadly attack or believes her warnings of disaster.
Not even when it happens again. And again. And again.
If she’s going to escape this nightmarish time loop, Anaïs must take control of her own fate and stop the attack before it happens. But the court’s gilded surface belies a rotten core, full of restless nobles grabbing at power, discontented commoners itching for revolution, and even royals who secretly dream of taking the throne. It’s up to Anaïs to untangle these knots of deadly deceptions . . . if she can survive past midnight.
Release Date: March 14, 2023, via Delacorte. Order Here.
Turtles of the Midnight Moon by Maria José Fitzgerald
For fans of Erin Entrada Kelly, this debut set in a village in Honduras will delight readers of all ages with its hopeful story and celebration of the bond between animals and children.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Barana lives in a coastal village in Honduras, where she spends every spare minute visiting the sea turtles that nest on the beach.
Abby is feeling adrift in sixth grade, trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs after her best friend moved away from New Jersey.
When Abby’s papi plans a work trip to Honduras, she is finally given the opportunity to see his homeland—with Barana as her tour guide. But Barana has other plans: someone has been poaching turtle eggs, and she’s determined to catch them! Before long, Abby and Barana are both consumed by the mystery, chasing down suspects, gathering clues, and staking out the beach in the dead of night. . . . Will they find a way to stop the poachers before it’s too late?
A heart-pounding mystery with a hint of magic, María José Fitzgerald’s debut novel explores the power of friendship, community, and compassion to unite all living creatures.
Release Date: March 14, 2023, via Knopf Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
The Witch and the Vampire by Francesca Flores
The Witch and the Vampire is a dark Rapunzel retelling that’s both original and exciting. If you’ve been searching for some sapphic vampires since that Netflix show “First Kill” was cancelled, you might also want to check this out.
Synopsis: Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. Until one night two years ago, vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town, and in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed, and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped in her house. Her mother Eugenia needs her: Ava still has her witch powers, and Eugenia must take them in order to hide that she’s a vampire as well. Desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother’s plans to destroy the town, Ava must break out, flee to the forest, and seek help from the vampires who live there. When there is another attack, she sees her opportunity and escapes.
Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship, and the romantic feelings she’d started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.
But with monstrous trees that devour humans whole, vampires who attack from above, and Ava’s stepfather tracking her, the woods are full of danger. As they travel deeper into the forest, Kaye questions everything she thought she knew. The two are each other’s greatest threat—and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the forest unscathed.
Release Date: March 14, 2023, via Wednesday Books. Order Here.
Remember by Jo Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade
With gorgeous and clear verse from US Poet Laureate Jo Harjo and vivid illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goad, Remember is a book for all ages by two indigenous creators and artists.
Synopsis: Remember the sky you were born under,
Know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn,
That is the strongest point of time.
So begins the picture book adaptation of the renowned poem that encourages young readers to reflect on family, nature, and their heritage. In simple and direct language, Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke Nation, urges readers to pay close attention to who they are, the world they were born into, and how all inhabitants on earth are connected. Michaela Goade, drawing from her Tlingit culture, has created vivid illustrations that make the words come alive in an engaging and accessible way.
This timeless poem paired with magnificent paintings makes for a picture book that is a true celebration of life and our human role within it.
Release Date: March 21, 2023, via Random House Studio. Order Here.
The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner
I haven’t read Sarah Penner’s previous novel, The Lost Apothecary, yet but I know I will love it, just as I know that I will love her latest for its attractive blend of historical fiction, mystery, and the occult.
Synopsis: 1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
Release Date: March 21, 2023, via Park Row. Order Here.
Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I love fantasy romances but I also love books with strong sibling relationships and I was immediately drawn in by the bond between Lucha and her sister Lis in Tehlor Kay Mejia’s latest novel. Stunning and with Tehlor’s trademark gorgeous prose, new and established readers will find themselves adding a new favorite to their bookshelves.
Synopsis: A scorned god.
A mysterious acolyte.
A forgetting drug.
A dangerous forest.
One girl caught between the freedom she always wanted and a sister she can’t bear to leave behind.
Under the cover of the Night Forest, will Lucha be able to step into her own power…or will she be consumed by it?
This gorgeous and fast-paced fantasy novel from acclaimed author Tehlor Kay Mejia is brimming with adventure, peril, romance, and family bonds–and asks what it means for a teen girl to become fully herself.
Release Date: March 21, 2023, via Make Me A World. Order Here.
Saints of the Household by Ari Tison
Poet and indigenous debut author Ari Tison’s novel follows two brothers in the aftermath of a vicious fight. This powerful novel told in shifting poems and vignettes explores brotherhood, surviving abuse, Bribri culture, and recovering in one of the most unique novels of 2023.
Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down.
But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, breaking up a fight and beating their high school’s star soccer player to a pulp. This act of violence threatens the brothers’ dreams for the future and their beliefs about who they are. As the true details of that fateful afternoon unfold over the course of the novel, Max and Jay grapple with the weight of their actions, their shifting relationship as brothers, and the realization that they may be more like their father than they thought. They’ll have to reach back to their Bribri roots to find their way forward.
Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, debut author Ari Tison crafts an emotional, slow-burning drama about brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and doing the right thing.
Release Date: March 28, 2023, via Farrar. Straus & Giroux Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
There’s something particularly creepy about a southern gothic novel. If you’re looking for a twisted, suspenseful read to ward off winter, this might be a good choice.
“Mom seems off.”
Her brother’s words echo in Sam Montgomery’s ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.
She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam’s excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.
But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.
To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.
Release Date: March 28, 2023, via Tor Nightfire. Order Here.
A Door In The Dark by Scott Reintgen
I have to admit, I was utterly captivated by the cover on this one. But this book is also being compared to the Scholomance series, which is one of my favorites so I’m definitely intrigued. If you like dark academia books, this one’s for you!
Synopsis: Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. Which doesn’t sit well with any of them.
A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival.
If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. She’s been in survival mode her entire life. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods…
Release Date: March 28, 2023, via Margaret K. McElderry. Order Here.
Chaos & Flame by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland
This isn’t the first time authors Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland have paired up and yet I’m still highly anticipating this release. A high-stakes and fast paced fantasy filled with rivalry turned romance, political intrigue, and in-depth worldbuilding.
Synopsis: Darling Seabreak cannot remember anything before the murder of her family at the hands of House Dragon, but she knows she owes her life to both the power of her Chaos Boon and House Kraken for liberating her from the sewers where she spent her childhood. So when her adoptive Kraken father is captured in battle, Darling vows to save him–even if that means killing each and every last member of House Dragon.
Talon Goldhoard has always been a dutiful War Prince for House Dragon, bravely leading the elite troops of his brother, the High Prince Regent. But lately his brother’s erratic rule threatens to undo a hundred years of House Dragon’s hard work, and factions are turning to Talon to unseat him. Talon resists, until he’s ambushed by a fierce girl who looks exactly like the one his brother has painted obsessively, repeatedly, for years, and Talon knows she’s the key to everything.
Together, Darling and Talon must navigate the treacherous waters of House politics, caught up in the complicated game the High Prince Regent is playing against everyone. The unlikeliest of allies, they’ll have to stop fighting each other long enough to learn to fight together in order to survive the fiery prophecies and ancient blood magic threatening to devastate their entire world.
Release Date: March 28, 2023, via Razorbill. Order Here.
Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia
Inspired by the lesser known, twisted and dark stories of the Brothers Grimm, readers of dark fairytale retellings should definitely check this book out by powerhouse YA novelist, Francesca Zappia.
The people of Greymist Fair know that the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and that they should never set foot off the road. But when a young tailor discovers a body on the road, her search for the culprit reveals even more strange and dark happenings around her town. From acclaimed author Francesca Zappia, Greymist Fair is a suspenseful and inventive murder-mystery inspired by the lesser-known fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. Greymist Fair will bewitch readers of Rachel Vincent’s Red Wolf, Liz Braswell’s A Twisted Tale series, and fans of Into the Woods.
Features chapter decorations by the author throughout, as well as a map.
Two roads lead into a dark forest. They meet at Greymist Fair, the village hidden in the trees, a place kept alive by the families that never leave. The people of Greymist Fair know the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and to set foot off the road is to invite trouble.
When Heike, the village’s young tailor, discovers a body on the road, she goes looking for who is responsible. But her quest only leads to more strange happenings around Greymist Fair.
Inspired by the original, bloody, lesser-known fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, acclaimed author Francesca Zappia crafts an enthralling murder-mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Told from multiple points of view, with each narrative building on the crime discovered by Heike, Greymist Fair examines the themes of childhood fears, growing into adult responsibilities, and finding a place to call home amid the trials of life and death.
Release Date: March 28, 2023, via HarperCollins. Order Here.
Featured image courtesy of Make Me a World/Orbit Books/Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House Graphic/Delacorte