Happy New Year! I hope your 2023 is filled with five-star reads, relaxing reading time and that your reading challenge is off to a good start! I’m hoping I’ll read about 122 books this year, we’ll see how it goes. Whatever your reading goal may be, this month has a lot of fantastic books to choose from.
My Selma by Willie Mae Brown
My Selma is an important and necessary portrait of a twelve-year-old’s experiences set in a place and time that is forever immortalized in the story of the civil rights movement of our country. Willie Mae Brown shares family stories and memories of her hometown with a loving and unforgettable voice.
As the civil rights movement and the fight for voter rights unfold in Selma, Alabama, many things happen inside and outside the Brown family’s home that do not have anything to do with the landmark 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Yet the famous outrages which unfold on that span form an inescapable backdrop in this collection of stories. In one, Willie Mae takes it upon herself to offer summer babysitting services to a glamorous single white mother–a secret she keeps from her parents that unravels with shocking results. In another, Willie Mae reluctantly joins her mother at a church rally, and is forever changed after hearing Martin Luther King Jr. deliver a defiant speech in spite of a court injunction.Infused with the vernacular of her Southern upbringing, My Selma captures the voice and vision of a fascinating young person–perspicacious, impetuous, resourceful, and even mystical in her ways of seeing the world around her–who gifts us with a loving portrayal of her hometown while also delivering a no-holds-barred indictment of the time and place.
Release Date: January 3, 2023, via Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; illustrated by Loreto Aroca; adapted by Salva Rubio; translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites
This month is Holocaust Remembrance and in honor of that, you may want to read this hopeful and courageous graphic novel based on the true story of Dita Kraus, a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive in the prison camp.
Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Release Date: January 3, 2023, via Henry Holt & Company. Order Here.
The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
Any book compared as Pride and Prejudice is a must-read in my book. Heartfelt and delightful, this is a rom-com for Never Have I Ever Fans and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before fans. When her meddling mother arranges a marriage for her, a young Bangladeshi American teenager must contend with a choice–her family’s security or the love interest she’s already fallen for.
Synopsis: Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style. Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.But life–and boys–can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.
Release Date: January 3, 2023, via Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads. Order Here.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
Talia Hibbert is one my favorite romance authors so I was over the moon when I found out that she was releasing a YA romance. I can’t wait to read what promises to be a hilarious and delightful read.
Synopsis: Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.
Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption—yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)
These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.
Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?
Release Date: January 3, 2023, via Joy Revolution. Order Here.
Loathe To Love You by Ali Hazelwood
If you didn’t get to read any of Ali Hazelwood’s delightful hilarious and addictive enemies-to-lovers romance novellas in audio, now is your chance to read them in one collection. Fun, steamy and compulsively readable, the novellas follow three best friends are stuck in impossible situations–forced proximity with their nemeses. But as they get to know each other, and the tension becomes too great, they realize that their passion isn’t so much anger but something else.
Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a collection of steamy, STEMinist novellas featuring a trio of engineers and their loves in loathing–with a special bonus chapter! Under One Roof: An environmental engineer discovers that scientists should never cohabitate when she finds herself stuck with the roommate from hell–a detestable big-oil lawyer who won’t leave the thermostat alone. Stuck with You: A civil engineer and her nemesis take their rivalry–and love–to the next level when they get stuck in a New York elevator. Below Zero: A NASA aerospace engineer’s frozen heart melts as she lies injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station and the only person willing to undertake the dangerous rescue mission is her longtime rival.
Release Date: January 3, 2023, via Berkley. Order Here.
We Are All So Good At Smiling by Amber McBride
We Are All So Good At Smiling is described as a book that both teens and adults can find themselves in, either if they’ve dealt with depression or know someone who has. This important novel in verse is about healing from trauma and depression and magic, as two teens navigate their shared magic and the terror at the end of Marsh Creek Lane.
Synopsis: Whimsy is back in the hospital for treatment of clinical depression. When she meets a boy named Faerry, she recognizes they both have magic in the marrow of their bones. And when Faerry and his family move to the same street, the two start to realize that their lifelines may have twined and untwined many times before.They are both terrified of the forest at the end of Marsh Creek Lane. The Forest whispers to Whimsy. The Forest might hold the answers to the part of Faerry he feels is missing. They discover the Forest holds monsters, fairy tales, and pain that they have both been running from for 11 years.
Release Date: January 10, 2023, via Feiwel & Friends. Order Here.
Brighter Than The Moon by David Valdes
A story of three teens learning to love themselves and each other when they connect online and form a real life connection. A perfect read for fans of David Levithan and Adam Silvera.
Synopsis: Shy foster kid Jonas and self-assured vlogger Shani met online, and so far, that’s where their relationship has stayed, sharing memes and baring their souls from behind their screens. Shani is eager to finally meet up, but Jonas isn’t so sure–he’s not confident Shani will like the real him . . . if he’s even sure who that is.Jonas knows he’s trapped himself in a lie with Shani–and wants to dig himself out. But Shani, who’s been burned before, may not give him a chance: she talks her best friend Ash into playing spy and finding out the truth. When Ash falls for Jonas, too, he keeps that news from Shani, and soon they’re all keeping secrets. Will it matter that their hearts are in the right place? Coming clean will require them to figure out who they really are, which is no easy task when all the pieces of your identity go beyond easy boxes and labels.Lauded writer David Valdes offers a heartfelt, clever, and thought-provoking story about how we figure out who we want to be–online and IRL
Release Date: January 10, 2023, via Bloomsbury. Order Here.
The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh
I was immediately captivated by the cover of this book, the silhouette of a young girl against a dark and vibrant background. As beautiful as the cover is, the book is also timely. Described as a novel of resistance, the book is told in alternative point-of-views, one where a young boy uncovers his family’s tragic past and another where the tragedy unfolds in 1930s Ukraine, during Holodomor, a devastating famine that claimed the lives of millions.
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Matthew is miserable. His journalist dad is stuck overseas indefinitely, and his mom has moved in his one-hundred-year-old great-grandmother to ride out the pandemic, adding to his stress and isolation.
But when Matthew finds a tattered black-and-white photo in his great-grandmother’s belongings, he discovers a clue to a hidden chapter of her past, one that will lead to a life-shattering family secret. Set in alternating timelines that connect the present-day to the 1930s and the US to the USSR, Katherine Marsh’s latest novel sheds fresh light on the Holodomor – the horrific famine that killed millions of Ukrainians, and which the Soviet government covered up for decades.
Release Date: January 17, 2023, via Roaring Book Press. Order Here.
Begin Again by Emma Lord
Emma Lord has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary YA novelists. Her books always feature the sweetest first love stories and the best found family. I can’t wait to read this one.
Synopsis: As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station-the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away-Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.
Release Date: January 24, 2023, via Wednesday Books. Order Here.
The Buried and The Bound by Rochelle Hassan
Synopsis: A YA novel about witches, curses, fae and a magical town? I’m in. This book promises to be a must-read for fans of Holly Black and Melissa Albert, so be sure to add this to your TBR if you’ve enjoyed those authors!
As the only hedgewitch in Blackthorn, Massachusetts–an uncommonly magical place–Aziza El-Amin has bargained with wood nymphs, rescued palm-sized fairies from house cats, banished flesh-eating shadows from the local park. But when a dark entity awakens in the forest outside of town, eroding the invisible boundary between the human world and fairyland, run-of-the-mill fae mischief turns into outright aggression, and the danger–to herself and others–becomes too great for her to handle alone. Leo Merritt is no stranger to magical catastrophes. On his sixteenth birthday, a dormant curse kicked in and ripped away all his memories of his true love. A miserable year has passed since then. He’s road-tripped up and down the East Coast looking for a way to get his memories back and hit one dead end after another. He doesn’t even know his true love’s name, but he feels the absence in his life, and it’s haunting. Desperate for answers, he makes a pact with Aziza: he’ll provide much-needed backup on her nightly patrols, and in exchange, she’ll help him break the curse. When the creature in the woods sets its sights on them, their survival depends on the aid of a mysterious young necromancer they’re not certain they can trust. But they’ll have to work together to eradicate the new threat and take back their hometown… even if it forces them to uncover deeply buried secrets and make devastating sacrifices.
Release Date: January 24, 2023, via Roaring Brook Press. Order Here.
Featured Image Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books For Young Readers, Roaring Book Press, Bloomsbury, Joy Revolution