From fiction to graphic novel to new and continuing series, here’s a look at some great books coming out in the first half of 2019 to help round-out your TBR pile! Which new release are you most excited for?
1. The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
When the worst class in school gets paired with the worst teacher on staff, the result is one hilarious, unforgettable year in this new novel by Gordon Korman (Release Date: January 8, 2019).
The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.
Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.
The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.
2. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
A teenage fox spirit runs away to solve the mystery of what happened to her older brother, but her quests ends up taking her on an unexpected journey (Release Date: January 15, 2019).
To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
3. New Kid by Jerry Craft
This honest graphic novel from award-winning author/illustrator Jerry Craft, is about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real (Release Date: February 5, 2019).
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
4. Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu
Elodee and her family move to a new town where everything seems perfect. But soon, she learns that there’s a price to pay for perfection—and for pretending (Release Date: February 12, 2019).
The world tilted for Elodee this year, and now it’s impossible for her to be the same as she was before. Not when her feelings have such a strong grip on her heart. Not when she and her twin sister, Naomi, seem to be drifting apart. So when Elodee’s mom gets a new job in Eventown, moving seems like it might just fix everything.
Indeed, life in Eventown is comforting and exciting all at once. Their kitchen comes with a box of recipes for Elodee to try. Everyone takes the scenic way to school or work—past rows of rosebushes and unexpected waterfalls. On blueberry-picking field trips, every berry is perfectly ripe.
Sure, there are a few odd rules, and the houses all look exactly alike, but it’s easy enough to explain—until Elodee realizes that there are only three ice cream flavors in Eventown. Ever. And they play only one song in music class.
Everything may be “even” in Eventown, but is there a price to pay for perfection—and pretending?
5. Good Enough by Jen Petro-Roy
A young girl with an eating disorder must find the strength to recover in this moving and real novel (Release Date: February 29, 2019).
Before she had an eating disorder, twelve-year-old Riley was many things: an aspiring artist, a runner, a sister, and a friend.
But now, from inside the inpatient treatment center where she’s receiving treatment for anorexia, it’s easy to forget all of that. Especially since under the influence of her eating disorder, Riley alienated her friends, abandoned her art, turned running into something harmful, and destroyed her family’s trust.
If Riley wants her life back, she has to recover.
Part of her wants to get better. As she goes to therapy, makes friends in the hospital, and starts to draw again, things begin to look up.
But when her roommate starts to break the rules, triggering Riley’s old behaviors and blackmailing her into silence, Riley realizes that recovery will be even harder than she thought. She starts to think that even if she does “recover,” there’s no way she’ll stay recovered once she leaves the hospital and is faced with her dieting mom, the school bully, and her gymnastics-star sister.
Written by an eating disorder survivor, this is a realistic depiction of inpatient eating disorder treatment, and a moving story about a girl who has to fight herself to survive.
6. Game of Stars by Sayantani DasGupta
In the sequel to The Serpent’s Secret, Kiranmala must return to the alternate dimension where she was born to battle her evil Serpent King father and save the friends she left behind (Release Date: February 26, 2019).
When the Demon Queen shows up in her bedroom, smelling of acid and surrounded by evil-looking bees, twelve-year-old Kiranmala is uninterested. After all, it’s been four months since she last heard from her friends in the Kingdom Beyond, the alternate dimension where she was born as an Indian princess. But after a call to action over an interdimensional television station and a visit with some all-seeing birds, Kiran decides that she has to once again return to her homeland, where society is fraying, a reality show is taking over, and her friends are in danger.
However, things are a lot less clear than the last time she was in the Kingdom Beyond. Kiran must once again battle witches, solve riddles, and avoid her evil Serpent King father – all while figuring out who are her true friends, and what it really means to be a demon.
7. The School for Good and Evil #5: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani
Time is a trap as the past comes back to haunt the present in this fifth installment in Soman Chainani’s bestselling School for Good and Evil series (Release Date: March 5, 2019).
A false king has seized Camelot’s throne, sentencing Tedros, the true king, to death. While Agatha, narrowly escapes the same fate, Sophie is caught in King Rhian’s trap. With her wedding to Rhian approaching, she’s forced to play a dangerous game as her friends’ lives hang in the balance.
All the while, King Rhian’s dark plans for Camelot are taking shape. Now the students of the School for Good and Evil must find a way to restore Tedros to the throne before their stories—and the future of the Endless Woods—are rewritten . . . forever.
8. Tangled in Time: The Portal by Kathryn Lasky
A girl discovers she can time-travel between present day and the court of two of the most memorable English princesses in history in this first book in a new series (Release Date: March 19, 2019).
For fans of the Royal Diaries series and Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Honor-winning author Kathryn Lasky delivers the first enchanting adventure in a compelling new middle grade series about a newly orphaned girl who finds herself time-travelling between the present day and the court of the two most memorable English princesses in history.
Life used to be great for Rose: full of friends, a loving mom, and a growing fashion blog.
But when her mother dies in a car crash, Rose is sent away to live with a strange grandmother she hardly knows and forced to attend a new school where mean girls ridicule her at every turn.
The only place Rose finds refuge is in her grandmother’s greenhouse. But one night she sees a strange light glowing from within it. She goes to investigate…and finds herself transported back five hundred years to Hatfield Palace, where she becomes servant and confidant of the banished princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII.
Rose soon discovers something else amazing—a locket with two mysterious images inside it, both clues to her own past. Could the greenhouse portal offer answers to the mysteries of her family…and their secrets?
9. Elementals: Scorch Dragons by Amie Kaufman
In the second book in Amie Kaufman’s epic fantasy series, siblings and shapeshifters Anders and Rayna must go on an epic quest to find an artifact that will save the entire race of the dragons (Release Date: March 26, 2019).
After the fateful battle between the ice wolves and the scorch dragons, Anders and his twin sister, Rayna, have been reunited. But there’s no time to celebrate.
The temperature all over Vallen is starting to drop. And Anders quickly learns that the wolves have stolen a weather-altering artifact called the Snowstone, and every dragon, including Rayna, is now in danger. Desperate to broker peace, Anders enlists the help of a few new flame-breathing friends to stop the wolves’ next plan of attack.
Together, these former rivals must go on a dangerous quest to find the scattered pieces of the Sun Scepter, the only artifact that can counteract the Snowstone. Because if either device goes unchecked, all hope for a truce will be lost.
10. Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Seeing is deceiving in this first book in this thrilling new series by Margaret Peterson Haddix about three siblings who must discover who they are when three kids with their exact names, ages, and birthdays go missing (Release Date: April 2, 2019).
The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.
But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children reach the Greystone kids, and they’re shocked by the startling similarities between themselves and these complete strangers. The other kids share their same first and middle names. They’re the same ages. They even have identical birthdays. Who, exactly, are these strangers?
Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a sudden work trip and leaves them in the care of Ms. Morales and her daughter, Natalie. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.
11. Wild Rescuers #2: Escape to the Mesa by StacyPlays
In this second book by YouTube Gamer, StacyPlays, Stacy and her wolf pack must leave their home in the Taiga and try to make it in a place where no Arctic wolf has ever gone before: the desert (Release Date: April 9, 2019).
Stacy would do anything to protect the Taiga where she lives with the pack of intelligent wolves who raised her. But when humans start to encroach on their forest, their only choice is escape to a place no Arctic wolf has gone before: the desert.
The Mesa, with its canyons, snakes, and coyotes, will be like nothing the pack has ever seen. Even in this unfamiliar territory, Stacy is determined to rescue animals in need.
But as she and her wolves face new dangers and old secrets, Stacy can’t help but wonder—where does she truly belong?
12. Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
In the sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time, the Otherworld is in full panic mode when the god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and it’s up to Aru and her friends to discovery who the thief is and stop them before it’s too late (Release Date: April 16, 2019).
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.
But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.
Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
13. Endling #2: The First by Katherine Applegate
Byx and her friends continue their quest to uncover the truth behind the legend of a hidden dairne colony in this second book in the Endling series by bestselling author Katherine Applegate (Release Date: May 7, 2019).
To learn if she truly is the last dairne in the world—the endling—Byx and her friends must travel into the snow-covered mountains of the country of Dreyland, where they hope to uncover the truth behind the legend of a hidden dairne colony. But the threat of war across the lands continues to grow with each passing day.
As the group confronts untold dangers at every turn, they will ultimately uncover a treacherous plot that involves the other powerful governing species. With both her dreams and all the creatures of Nedarra on the brink of extinction, Byx and her friends are determined to never give up hope.
Soon they find themselves the unlikely leaders in a simmering rebellion that risks everything they hold dear. Byx may be the last of her kind, but will she also be the first to lead the revolution?
14. Just Jaime by Terri Libenson
Friends. Frenemies. Middle School. In this third hybrid-graphic novel by Invisible Emmie author Terri Libenson, Jaime struggles to discover who her real friends are when her friend group starts excluding her (Release Date: May 7, 2019).
Friends. Frenemies. Middle school…
The last day of seventh grade has Jaime and Maya wondering who their real friends are.
Jaime knows something is off with her friend group. They’ve started to exclude her and make fun of the way she dresses and the things she likes. At least she can count on her BFF, Maya, to have her back . . . right?
Maya feels more and more annoyed with Jaime, who seems babyish compared to the other girls in their popular group. It’s like she has nothing in common with Jai anymore. Are their days as BFFs numbered . . . ?
15. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Told entirely in verse, this timely novel is about a Syrian girl who comes to live with her pregnant mother in the United States, leaving her beloved brother and father behind (Release Date: May 28, 2019).
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.
But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
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