October 2019 isn’t quite the flood of new releases that last month was, but there are still quite a lot of highly anticipated titles rushing for release in the fall.

Let’s go!

October 1

What I’ve Read

Scars Like Wings was moving and introspective. Through the eyes of a teenage burn survivor, Erin Stewart asks what it takes to truly choose life. Here’s my five-star review of this story of moving past immense loss when healing is its own trauma.

I also enjoyed a very different story of healing and survival, The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake.

As an original contemporary, The Last True Poets of the Sea is spectacular. Full of high stakes, mystery, and adventure, the story feels huge in scope, even though we’re just following a single girl through a single summer. I loved the humor, the honesty, and the deep character growth. This is a story of survival: painful, messy, but always worth it. Readers looking for f/f YA that still has everything they love about mainstream m/f reads will love this one. 

As a Twelfth Night retelling, though, the book leaves much to be desired.Poets isn’t interested in exploring ambiguity in gender, and it just doesn’t make sense to invoke Twelfth Night if you’re not going to use gender as a thematic center. When you take out the disguise plotline, the crossdressing, the musing on the fluidity of gender, and the comedic subplots, all you’re left with is the seaside shipwreck setting (which works beautifully) and the love triangle (which doesn’t). My full review goes into more detail about why I loved Violet’s journey but was left a little cold by the romance.


Book Cover: The Fountains of Silence
and that cover. SWOON.

I’ve seen some great early reviews of The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. I’ve been trying to read more YA historical fiction, so this goes on my to-read list.

I’m also interested in The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis, The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, Shadow Frost, the first in a new trilogy by Coco Ma, and fantasy Crier’s War from debut Nina Varela.

Of course, I have my eye on Stephen Chbosky’s triumphant return to fiction, Imaginary Friend.

And I absolutely have to pick up Julie Murphy’s first Middle Grade, Dear Sweet Pea. (If you need a Julie Murphy fearless fatness fix right now, find a copy of The (Other) F Word anthology. I adored her ode to Ursula.

Other Releases On My Radar

October 8

What I’ve Read

I loved reading Kim Liggett’s newest, The Grace Year, which serves up everything great about classic YA dystopia. I gobbled the entire thing down in one evening–it’s been a while since a book lit up the part of my brain that needs to read on to see the character through her current peril. Apart from anything else, this was just a great horror-infused adventure–suspenseful, exciting, and frightening. The dash of romance doesn’t hurt either.

I loved what the book had to say about the paradoxes of female empowerment in a sexist society. I have some reservations, though. Given the premise, the absence of any mention of trans or nonbinary people is hard to ignore. Add to that the fact that all the characters are presumed white, and there’s a real problem. I’m working on a full post that will discuss what those ommissions can tell us about the way dystopian worlds are imagined.

I would definitely steer readers away from Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebel-Henry. In my full review I try to tease out the purpose of this book, but I just don’t think the author achieves anything by spending most of the book describing the verbal abuse and physical torture of LGBT characters. If a book is going to dwell on queer pain in graphic detail, it needs to have a point, and I just don’t see one here. 

The shortcomings of Orpheus Girl are perfectly understandable from a debut, especially one that’s still a teenager and is trying to make the jump from a different form (poetry). But that doesn’t make the book any less horrifying. If a 19-year-old friend dropped this manuscript on my desk, I’d be so excited for them. It would show me raw talent, bravery, and a keen eye for metaphor. I’d tell them, honestly, that I thought they had tremendous talent and should keep writing, because their next book is going to be something special. But I would never tell them to try to get that manuscript published as-is. It just isn’t ready.


I’m looking forward to The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey, which seems perfect for me. I’m also hoping to read Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful.

My most anticipated release of this month (one of my most anticipated of the year!) is Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo’s first adult novel. I can. Not. Wait.

Other Releases On My Radar

October 15


I have an ARC of Tochi Onyebuchi’s War Girls waiting that I’m fully expecting to love. The cover is just spectacular, and I’m so ready for some magical sci-fi. “Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria.” Amazing.

Book Cover: Dear Girls

I can’t wait for Ali Wong’s book. It seems to be the typical celebrity blend of memoir, advice, and self-promotion–but I don’t really mind. I love that genre when it’s from interesting, accomplished, funny people. (My faves include Tina Fey’s and Mindy Kaling’s books.) Dear Girls looks glorious.

I also have on my list Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor (queer Lunar Chronicles? yes please).

I’m so excited about Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is a nonstop machine churning out OwnVoices stories in the Percy Jackson tradition inspired by legends and lore from different cultures. I loved the first Aru Shah installment from Roshani Chokshi, and I’ve heard great things about the others. I’m expecting the adventures of Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong in African-American folktales and African mythology to be no exception.

Other Releases On My Radar

October 29


I’m looking forward to reading my NetGalley ARC of Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. I’ve never read any YA about an HIV-positive teen (I’m sure very little exists, but it’s out there) and I’m interested to see how Garrett explores the issue.

I’ve also placed library holds for two YA fantasies, A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy and Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon. The covers are amazing.

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