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New Book Releases for October 2022

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)


In part because of all of the delays and adjustments in the publishing world since 2020, this fall is seeing a phenomenal amount of amazing new releases! Here are just a few of the MANY books coming out this October that I cannot wait to read.


October 4

Book cover of Malinda Lo's A Scatter of Light

Malinda Lo's A Scatter of Light (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Last Night at the Telegraph Club author Malinda Lo returns to the Bay Area with another masterful queer coming-of-age story, this time set against the backdrop of the first major Supreme Court decisions legalizing gay marriage.


"Aria Tang West was looking forward to a summer on Martha’s Vineyard with her best friends—one last round of sand and sun before college. But after a graduation party goes wrong, Aria’s parents exile her to California to stay with her grandmother, artist Joan West. Aria expects boredom, but what she finds is Steph Nichols, her grandmother’s gardener. Soon, Aria is second-guessing who she is and what she wants to be, and a summer that once seemed lost becomes unforgettable—for Aria, her family, and the working-class queer community Steph introduces her to. It’s the kind of summer that changes a life forever.


"And almost sixty years after the end of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, A Scatter of Light also offers a glimpse into Lily and Kath’s lives since 1955."


Why I want to read it: I loved Last Night at the Telegraph Club and am so interested to revisit the lives of Lily and Kath and to see Lo examine another deeply impactful historical period in the story.


Book cover of Mia P. Manansala's Blackmail and Bibingka

Mia P. Manansala's Blackmail and Bibingka (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"When her long-lost cousin comes back to town just in time for the holidays, Lila Macapagal knows that big trouble can’t be far behind in this new mystery by Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic and Adobo.


"It’s Christmastime in Shady Palms, but things are far from jolly for Lila Macapagal. Sure, her new business, the Brew-ha Cafe, is looking to turn a profit in its first year. And yes, she’s taken the first step in a new romance with her good friend Jae Park. But her cousin Ronnie is back in town after ghosting the family fifteen years ago, claiming that his recent purchase of a local winery shows that he’s back on his feet and ready to contribute to the Shady Palms community. Tita Rosie is thrilled with the return of her prodigal son, but Lila knows that wherever Ronnie goes, trouble follows.


"She’s soon proven right when Ronnie is suspected of murder, and secrets surrounding her shady cousin and those involved with the winery start piling up. Now Lila has to put away years of resentment and distrust to prove her cousin’s innocence. He may be a jerk, but he’s still family. And there’s no way her flesh and blood could actually be a murderer . . . right?"

Why I want to read it: I loved Arsenic and Adobo and have been surprised at how much I've been enjoying cozy mysteries recently. This one sounds absolutely delightful!


Book cover of Celeste Ng's Our Missing Hearts

Celeste Ng's Our Missing Hearts (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve 'American culture' in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.


"Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.


"Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact."


Why I want to read it: I am here for everything Celeste Ng writes. I cannot wait to read this one - though each book I've read by her has left quite the impact. The premise of this one feels quite timely, and there's no doubt that it will be profound and powerful.

 

October 11

Book cover of Ann Liang's If You Could See the Sun

Ann Liang's If You Could See the Sun (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"No secret is safe.


"Alice Sun has always felt invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she’s the only scholarship student in a sea of über-wealthy classmates. But she has a plan: be top of the class, attend a prestigious university, secure a killer job, and finally lift her family out of poverty.


"Then her parents drop a bomb—they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship. But that’s the least of Alice’s problems because she has started uncontrollably turning invisible. As in completely, physically invisible.


"Alice realizes there’s an upside to her strange new power—unparalleled access to the secrets of China’s most rich and influential teens. Soon, Alice has a new plan: offer her invisibility services to find out what her classmates want to know—for a price.


"But between balancing schoolwork, a growing relationship with academic-rival-turned-business-partner Henry, and stealing secrets, things start to fall through the cracks. As the tasks escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, Alice must decide if helping her family is worth losing her conscience—or even her life."


Why I want to read it: This sounds like an intriguing blend of real life pressures and fantasy tropes, and I often enjoy boarding school settings. I also love the cover!


Book cover of Aya de Leon's Undercover Latina

Aya de Leon's Undercover Latina (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"A Latina teen spy goes undercover as a white girl to stop a white supremacist terrorist plot in a fast-paced middle-grade debut from a seasoned author of contemporary crime fiction.


"In her debut for younger readers, Aya de León pits a teen spy against the ominous workings of a white nationalist. Fourteen-year-old Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín hails from a family of spies working for the Factory, an international organization dedicated to protecting people of color. For her first solo mission, Andréa straightens her hair and goes undercover as Andrea Burke, a white girl, to befriend the estranged son of a dangerous white supremacist. In addition to her Factory training, the assignment calls for a deep dive into the son’s interests—comic books and gaming—all while taking care not to speak Spanish and blow her family’s cover. But it’s hard to hide who you really are, especially when you develop a crush on your target’s Latino best friend. Can Andréa keep her head, her geek cred, and her code-switching on track to trap a terrorist? Smart, entertaining, and politically astute, this is fast-paced upper-middle-grade fare from an established author of heist and espionage novels for adults."


Why I want to read it: This one caught my attention because it looks like it blends a fun spy story with important current issues, and I'm always looking for new middle grade authors to read. I haven't read any of León's adult heist novels, but this premise has me wanting to check those out as well!


Book cover of E. M. Tran's Daughters of the New Year

E. M. Tran's Daughters of the New Year (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"What does the future hold for those born in the years of the Dragon, Tiger, and Goat?


"In present day New Orleans, Xuan Trung, former beauty queen turned refugee after the Fall of Saigon, is obsessed with divining her daughters' fates through their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But Trac, Nhi and Trieu diverge completely from their immigrant parents' expectations. Successful lawyer Trac hides her sexuality from her family; Nhi competes as the only woman of color on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show; and Trieu, a budding writer, is determined to learn more about her familial and cultural past.


"As the three sisters begin to encounter strange glimpses of long-buried secrets from the ancestors they never knew, the story of the Trung women unfurls to reveal the dramatic events that brought them to America. Moving backwards in time, E.M. Tran takes us into the high school classrooms of New Orleans, to Saigon beauty pageants, to twentieth century rubber plantations, traversing a century as the Trungs are both estranged and united by the ghosts of their tumultuous history."

Why I want to read it: I always love stories about sisters, and this one promises to be a fascinating examination of the complexities of family life and cultural complexities within a family immigrating to a new place.

 

October 18

Book cover of Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead

Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


" 'Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose.'


"Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It’s the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.


"Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind."


Why I want to read it: As Jen and I have shared on the podcast, we both love Kingsolver's work. Jen just talked about Flight Behavior in episode 237. This one sounds powerful and poignant as Kingsolver explores what rural life looks like in the modern world. (Having just read Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King, our September buddy read, this one makes me think of some parallels to that book, which I absolutely loved!)


Book cover of S. K. Ali's Love from Mecca to Medina

S. K. Ali's Love from Mecca to Medina (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart.


"Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the Hijra, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina, and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation, making her miserable.


"Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. Adam is thrilled; it’s the reboot he needs and an opportunity to pray for a hijra in real life: to migrate to Zayneb in Chicago. Zayneb balks at the trip at first, having envisioned another kind of vacation, but then decides a spiritual reset is calling her name too. And they can’t wait to see each other—surely, this is just what they both need.


"But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s former love interest in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb when she’s supposed to be 'spiritual.' As one wedge after another drives them apart while they make their way through rites in the holy city, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?"


Why I want to read it: I love a book about a pilgrimage, and exploring relationships amid that kind of journey is such an interesting premise. I haven't read Love from A to Z yet but am so interested in S. K. Ali's work! (I did absolutely love Once Upon an Eid, which she helped edit - check out my review of that one!)


Book cover of Alexis Hall's Paris Daillencourt is about to Crumble

Alexis Hall's Paris Daillencourt is about to Crumble (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Paris Daillencourt is a recipe for disaster. Despite his passion for baking, his cat, and his classics degree, constant self-doubt and second-guessing have left him a curdled, directionless mess. So when his roommate enters him in Bake Expectations, the nation’s favourite baking show, Paris is sure he’ll be the first one sent home.


"But not only does he win week one’s challenge—he meets fellow contestant Tariq Hassan. Sure, he’s the competition, but he’s also cute and kind, with more confidence than Paris could ever hope to have. Still, neither his growing romance with Tariq nor his own impressive bakes can keep Paris’s fear of failure from spoiling his happiness. And when the show’s vicious fanbase confirms his worst anxieties, Paris’s confidence is torn apart quicker than tear-and-share bread.


"But if Paris can find the strength to face his past, his future, and the chorus of hecklers that live in his brain, he’ll realize it’s the sweet things in life that he really deserves."

Why I want to read it: I absolutely love everything I've read by Alexis Hall, whose work I find both moving and fun, and I can't wait to check this one out soon!


Book cover of Randi Pink's We Are the Scribes

Randi Pink's We Are the Scribes (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"A young adult novel by Randi Pink about a teenage activist who is visited by the ghost of Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved woman.


"Ruth Fitz is surrounded by activism. Her mother is a senator who frequently appears on CNN as a powerful Black voice fighting for legislative social change within the Black community. Her father, a professor of African American history, is a walking encyclopedia, spouting off random dates and events. And her beloved older sister, Virginia, is a natural activist, steadily gaining notoriety within the community and on social media. Ruth, on the other hand, would rather sit quietly reading or writing in her journal.


"When her family is rocked by tragedy, Ruth stops writing. As life goes on, Ruth’s mother is presented with a political opportunity she can’t refuse. Just as Senator Fitz is more absent, Ruth begins receiving parchment letters with a seal reading WE ARE THE SCRIBES, sent by Harriet Jacobs, the author of the autobiography and 1861 American classic, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.


"Is Ruth dreaming? How has she been chosen as a 'scribe' when she can barely put a sentence together? In a narrative that blends present with past, Randi Pink explores two extraordinary characters who channel their hopelessness and find their voices to make history."


Why I want to read it: I absolutely loved Randi Pink's Angel of Greenwood and appreciated the way she explored historical fiction for a young adult audience. (Check out my review of that one.) I can't wait to read more of her work! The connection here between modern times and Harriet Tubman promises to be powerful and fascinating.

 

October 25

Book cover of Yaffa S. Santos's A Touch of Moonlight

Yaffa S. Santos's A Touch of Moonlight (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Larimar Cintrón works hard at three things: her job as brand manager for Beacon Café, a New York based corporate bakery chain; taking care of her parents and her abuela; and hiding that she’s a ciguapa—a mythical creature of Dominican folklore with long, straight hair and backwards-facing feet. Larimar may only be a ciguapa on full moons, but she feels like an outsider in her family the rest of the month too. Her love of ’90s punk rock music and style further sets her apart. But when her best friend introduces her to Ray, a bakery owner and fellow punk rock lover, Larimar thinks she may have finally found someone with whom she can be her true self.


"As Beacon’s brand manager, Larimar oversees all new location openings, including its newest store in New Jersey, which could be the project that finally lands her a coveted promotion. But when she discovers the location is right across from Ray’s bakery, Borrachitos, Larimar is torn between impressing her boss and saving Ray’s business.


"As Larimar continues to grow closer to Ray and the new store’s opening looms, she struggles to hide the truth about herself and her job. But embracing her magical nature may be the only way Larimar can have everything she wants. Witty and poignant, A Touch of Moonlight is a celebration of heritage, culture, and identity—of embracing yourself and finding your place in the world."

Why I want to read it: This one, blending fantasy, romance, and culture, sounds absolutely fantastic! I've heard great things about A Taste of Sage but haven't read it yet. Larimar's reality as a ciguapa sounds so interesting. I definitely want to check this one out soon.


Book cover of Cormac McCarthy's The Passenger

Cormac McCarthy's The Passenger (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"1980, PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI: It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wet suit and plunges from the Coast Guard tender into darkness. His dive light illuminates the sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats, hair floating, eyes devoid of speculation. Missing from the crash site are the pilot’s flight bag, the plane’s black box, and the tenth passenger. But how? A collateral witness to machinations that can only bring him harm, Western is shadowed in body and spirit—by men with badges; by the ghost of his father, inventor of the bomb that melted glass and flesh in Hiroshima; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.


"Traversing the American South, from the garrulous barrooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness."


Why I want to read it: I love Cormac McCarthy's work and am always eager to read more by him. His books always leave me with so much to consider about the human condition, and I'm sure this one will be no different.


 

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