At the start of 2018 I kept my overall “most anticipated releases” list pretty short and decided to expand on that list at the beginning of every month so here is the list of books I’m looking forward to in February! There are quite a few so I’m not sure if I’ll get to all of them this month but these are the ones that are definitely on my radar. (I’ve already preordered the first four because I have a serious problem *nervous laughter*)
American Panda by Gloria Chao (February 6)
Synopsis: At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies. With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese. But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
As a college student, I definitely don’t mind reading books set in high school, but I do like reading YA novels set in college when the chance presents itself. This one is all about discovering yourself and being who you are regardless of who others want you to be and I can’t wait to see if it lives up to all the hype!
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (February 6)
Synopsis: Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
I honestly wasn’t that into the idea of this one at first because it’s all about beauty and that’s not a theme I’d usually go for. I’m more of a sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on type of girl so I definitely wasn’t crazy about the idea of being “damned” if you’re not beautiful. However, this one has gotten so much hype and I can’t resist preorder campaigns so I figured I’d give it a shot. I really hope I’m pleasantly surprised!
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross (February 6)
Synopsis: When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron. Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
I was hooked from the beginning of this synopsis where it discusses the five passions. I want to learn more about them but I think I would choose knowledge like Brienna. This book sounds like it’s going to have really intriguing world-building.
By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell (February 6)
Synopsis: Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice. Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for. Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.
I honestly want to read this one because the synopsis reminds me so much of Daughter of the Burning City with a lot more romance. I absolutely loved that novel and if this one is anything like that I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith (February 6)
Synopsis: How do you let go of something you’ve never had? Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind. But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own. In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.
I haven’t ordered this one yet but I definitely have to read it. The idea of the main character’s mother being arrested for killing her abusive father sounds really heartbreaking and intriguing.
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare (February 20)
Synopsis: Can she write a world gone wrong? A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist. But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
This is another book that sounds SO interesting! I’m loving the idea of scriptology already. I also can’t wait to find out more about the romance and the cast of characters.
All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Various Authors (February 27)
Synopsis: Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.
Any book that includes “Kurt Cobain” in the synopsis is bound to catch my attention. This just sounds like an amazing anthology in general and I love the idea of LGBTQ stories that take place across several time periods and cultures.
People Like Us by Dana Mele (February 27)
Synopsis: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.
I’m not super into novels about rich girl drama but I’ve heard this book be referred to as a “queer Mean Girls” several times and that along with a murder investigation really appeals to me. As a computer science major, I hope that the computer-coded scavenger hunt plays a decent role in the story.
Where I Live by Brenda Rufener (February 27)
Synopsis: Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward. But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs. Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.
This sounds like it deals with some really heavy topics and I just can’t wait to learn more about the characters and their back stories.
So those are the books I’m keeping my eye out for this month! Like I said, I probably won’t get to all of them but these are the ones I plan on reading in the future. I may also check out an adult book, Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, around Valentine’s Day. Comment and let me know what February releases you’re looking forward to 🙂