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Blood Debts

Terry J. Benton-Walker (Tor Teen)

This scintillating debut follows the Trudeau twins, members of a once-powerful magical New Orleans family, as they endeavor to uncover the truth behind an ancestor’s tragic past. Steeped in spiritual lore that takes cues from the rich cultural history of the Black diaspora, Walker parallels contemporary politics with an alternate magical history to create a layered world that is more than the sum of its mercurial characters and its many moving parts.


Imogen, Obviously

Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray)

While visiting her college-age best friend Lili, high school senior Imogen Scott—the self-described “token straight, world’s best ally”—learns that Lili claimed she and Imogen used to date. The admittance prompts confusing feelings in Imogen, especially when she starts falling for another girl. Employing wryly funny and endearingly insightful prose, Albertalli crafts a striking portrait of one teenager’s experience navigating the fluidity of sexuality and the sometimes overwhelming fear of reinventing oneself.


The Last Girls Standing

Jennifer Dugan (Putnam)

Sloan and Cherry have been inseparable ever since they became the sole survivors of a summer camp massacre perpetrated by masked, machete-wielding assailants—until new evidence emerges, prompting Sloan to question their entire relationship. Ominous motives, misremembered events, and emotional manipulation abound as Sloan works to uncover the truth. This enthralling departure from Dugan is a solid addition to the camp horror genre, boasting urgent mystery and queer romance alongside its psychological thriller foundation.


One of Us Is Back

Karen M. McManus (Delacorte)

Someone from the Bayview Crew’s past has resurfaced to finish what they started in this electrifying mystery, the third installment in McManus’s One of Us Is Lying series. The group is back together for the summer when they see a mysterious billboard that reads, “Time for a new game, Bayview.” History seems destined to repeat itself in this highly anticipated, harrowing thrill ride for fans and newcomers alike.


The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Deya Muniz (Little, Brown Ink)

When a dying lord’s fiercely independent daughter refuses to marry, he persuades her to live life disguised as a man to avoid social upheaval. Now known as Count Camembert, she chafes at her newly restrictive life until meeting and falling head-over-heels for Crown Princess Brie. In this delightfully illustrated graphic novel by Muniz, impeccable rom-com instincts, carefully balanced high stakes, and poppy full-color art combine to spin a sweet romance that interrogates duty, identity, and love.


Rana Joon and the One and Only Now

Shideh Etaat (Atheneum)

In 1996 San Fernando Valley, Rana Joon enters a rap contest to honor a deceased friend while contending with familial conflict and her growing feelings for a girl in Etaat’s vivacious, lyrical debut. Abundant era-specific cultural and musical references recall a bombastic summer block party, imbuing the narrative with a nostalgic vibe that expertly complements the heady seasonal setting, making for a lively and thought-provoking exploration of being one’s most authentic self.


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