Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles including a YA thriller, a novel for the #MeToo movement, a cinematic rom-com, a picture book biography of an influential artist, and many more.
What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-7282-1627-0. Angelini’s (Trial by Fire) sometimes gruesome mystery turned thriller teems with heart-pounding action and suspense.
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett. HarperTeen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-294310-1. Fantasy author Bartlett (The Winter Duke) takes on society’s toxic attitudes toward teenage girls in this dark and twisty #MeToo thriller.
It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-358-17206-2. In this YA novel, a teen starts to fall for a fellow cinephile despite herself.
Art Is Life: The Life of Artist Keith Haring by Tami Lewis Brown, illus. by Keith Negley. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99; ISBN 978-0-374-30424-9. This picture book offers a warm introduction to an accessible talent. Author and illustrator notes include more about Haring’s life, including his early death from AIDS.
Admission by Julie Buxbaum. Delacorte, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-9848-9362-8. Based on the 2019 college admissions scandal, Buxbaum’s ripped-from-the-headlines YA novel gives readers a fictionalized peek into the families who saw no harm in helping their already advantaged children through bribery, cheating, and fraud.
Flying Free by Karyn Parsons, illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Little, Brown, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-316-45719-4. Stemming from Parsons’s Sweet Blackberry series of animated films featuring Black heroes, this picture book biography introduces Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license.
Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz. Roaring Brook, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-250-31121-4. Filomena Jefferson-Cho, 12, is a huge fan of epic fairy tale mash-up series Never After, and she’s anticipating the release of the 13th and final volume—when she discovers that everything described in the books is true.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein. Random House, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-525-64778-2. After seventh grader Jake McQuade, a dedicated slacker, gobbles a jar full of jellybeans, he discovers that they were an experiment to convey “Ingestible Knowledge.” Thanks to an unprecedented combination of ingredients, he’s now crammed full of amazing new facts, figures, and trivia.
The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. Candlewick, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-1701-8. Gearing this volume toward white people “who want to be better,” Joseph offers anecdotes about his experiences with racism and white supremacy. The book earned a starred review from PW.
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley. HarperTeen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-240926-3. Theater people are often superstitious, especially the kids at Beaconville High School, whose drama program’s wing is built on the site of a ruined theater and almost certainly cursed.
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Delacorte, $19.99; ISBN 978-0-525-70800-1. McManus (One of Us Is Lying) once again crafts a taut, multilayered YA mystery, this time focusing on the fallout of family estrangement on the next generation.
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey. Graphix, $12.99; ISBN 978-1-338-71276-6. In this first book in a spinoff series from Pilkey, Dog Man sidekick Li’l Petey and tadpole Molly are running a weeklong comics workshop for 21 quarrelsome froggies while the frogs’ father, bionic fish Flippy, tries to enforce decorum. The book earned a starred review from PW.
A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton, illus. by Pauliina Hannuniemi. Knopf, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-12165-8. Drawing on the Russian folklore of her heritage, Sutton conjures up a charming middle grade debut filled with magic and friendship.
The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West. Holiday House, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-82344-547-9. In this YA novel, West (the Nissera Chronicles) packs the thrills of the Vampire Diaries series and Buffy into a smart, wry supernatural novel set in East Texas.
For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of December, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.