4 Royal Kingdoms with their Own Secrets

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom…or kingdoms, to be precise. One of the coolest parts of the fantasy genre is the opportunity to build brand new, exciting worlds or bring twists to old fantasy tropes (or do both!). And at LBYR, I’m fortunate to have been introduced to tons of rich, intricate fantasy worlds and the characters that reside in them. Here are some of the kingdoms at LBYR…

The Kingdom of Kolonya

from Rule by Ellen Goodlett

What I loved most about Rule was definitely the detailed world-building through the complex politics of Kolonya court life. The jungle world surrounding the glittering city of Kolonya itself is a fascinating setting, but what makes reading about Kolonya unique is that we see the world not only through what the world looks like, but how the characters in court talk about it, negotiate trade deals for it, and unravel the hidden scandals through its messy military history. Kolonya comes alive because of the characters’ passion (and hatred) of it.

Come back to Kolonya next June when the sequel, Rise, hits the bookstores!

The Kingdom of Elfhame

from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Obviously I can’t get away with writing a listicle about LBYR kingdoms without talking about Elfhame! The Queen of Fae, Holly Black, is renowned for her lush, magical worlds that are equally familiar and unexpected. But I think Elfhame in The Cruel Prince is particularly special since it’s being seen from the perspective of a mortal. All the elements Holly’s known for are there (terrifyingly beautiful faeries, knights and fights for the throne, etc.), but understanding Elfhame through Jude’s eyes makes this world even more perfect and horrifying and urgent—all at the same time.   

I can’t wait for you to return to Elfhame in January when The Wicked King finally comes out!

The Kingdom of Viridia

from Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Okay, but this is one kingdom that I’m glad we don’t live in…Despite the murder, politics, and backstabbing in Elfhame and Kolonya, at least women can freaking read in those kingdoms. While Viridia has a cool Italian-inspired setting, it’s arguably the worst place to live since women have been stripped of their basic human rights. Behind the ball gowns and gondolas, women are mere objects. However even though I wanted to scream at all the men in power in Viridia, I am pretty stoked for all the rebellious women that still come out of it. 

Will women ever be able to read in Viridia? Find out next July in Queen of Ruin!

The Kingdom of Tempesia

from the Frostblood Saga by Elly Blake

Oh man, I feel so bad for Ruby—she’s a Fireblood living in a world of ruling Frostbloods (who are determined to kill all Firebloods, BTW). I’m so sick of this New York City heat I’d move to Tempesia in a heartbeat, but honestly I would die of the cold too (humans are so fragile AHH!). From Ruby’s village, to the Tempesia battlefields, to the secret rebel hideouts, the world of Frostblood is fierce, vibrant, and ultimately fun for all lovers of magic and fantasy!

And Nightblood just came out, so now the trilogy will be complete on your bookshelf!


Historical Fiction That Will Take You Back in Time

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While nonfiction history and biographies aren’t my absolute favorite genres, for some reason I adore historical fiction. Perhaps it’s because I crave more of a plot over just facts about a person or period of time. And as with all stories, I want to be sucked into a world and feel like I’m actually there, walking and talking with the characters. For me, the best historical fiction does both!

Here are some suggestions for historical fiction rich with research and accuracy that ALSO have heart-pounding plots and compelling characters:

The War Outside by Monica hesse

During WWII, German-American Margot and Japanese-American Haruko are imprisoned in an internment camp because of their parents’ birthplaces. Thrown together by chance after a dust storm, Margot and Haruko strike up an unlikely—and secret—friendship. But amidst betrayal and broken families, and a desert prison camp that only presents a pale imitation of life, can anything so real and fragile as love survive? Monica Hesse (also the author of The Girl in the Blue Coat) has once again delivered an intelligent, gripping, moving story about an underrepresented and dark period of American history.  

An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason by Virginia Boecker

Shakespeare and assassins and star-crossed love? Sign me up! After Lady Katherine’s father is executed for being a practicing Catholic, she’s determined to avenge his death and kill Queen Elizabeth. Meanwhile, one of Elizabeth’s spies, Toby Ellis, sets up a trap for any potential assassins of the queen: a new play by William Shakespeare to be performed especially for Her Majesty. When Toby and Katherine are cast as the leads, they’ll soon learn that love and betrayal are far more dangerous off stage than on.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property. Determined to find out what happened, she has no idea that her investigation will lead to a brutal century-old murder and a summer of painful discoveries about the past, present, and future. One hundred years earlier, Will Tillman finds himself in the middle of a racial firestorm the night of the Tulsa race riot of 1921, sparking a journey toward self-discovery and battle with his own personal demons. Told from alternating perspectives, Dreamland Burning is a complex and intricate story of American race, privilege, and violence.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

In this piece of speculative historical fiction, the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. The year is 1956, and to commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents, with the winner gaining an audience with the reclusive Adolf Hitler. But Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering. Determined to resist, she has only one goal: enter the race and kill Hitler. Vivid and consuming, Wolf by Wolf is a thrilling and page-turning ride (AND THERE’S A SEQUEL—Blood for Blood!).

What’s your favorite time period to read about? Any suggestions for good historical fiction (or even biographies that I might like besides Hamilton because obviously that’s the only one I’ve loved LOL).


Based on the 2018 Emmy Award-Winners, Here's What You Should Read Next

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Did anyone see the Emmys this past week? Books are my first love, but like anyone else, I’m an aficionada of a juicy period drama or a witty comedy I can whiz through. And this year there were plenty of new shows and old favorites and shows I’ve been meaning to start (I’ve said I’m gonna watch Game of Thrones at least 20 times and I never have 😬).

But if you’ve already finished all of these shows, why not consider a book 😉?  Based on this year’s Emmy award winners, here’s what you should read after bingeing the shows.

If you love Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (winner for Best Comedy Series), read: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom.

Parker Grant’s not QUITE like Miriam Maisel, but her voice is just as vibrant and hilarious! In Not If I See You First, Parker (a teenage who’s blind) navigates love and life with humor and wit.

If you love Game of Thrones (winner for Best Drama Series), read: Rule by Ellen Goodlett!

A little less violence, a little less sex, but just as much complex politics, rich and compelling characters, and betrayal.

If you love Saturday Night Live (winner for Best Variety Sketch Series), read: Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci!

Sometimes you just don’t have time to sit down and watch a really long movie, or commit to a 7 season long TV series with hour long episodes 🙃. That’s why short sketches and short stories are so great! If you’re a fan of SNL, you should try Geektastic, a collection of nerdy, funny short stories!

If you love Matthew Rhys in The Americans (winner for Best Actor in a Drama), read: An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker!

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason is set much, much, MUCH earlier than The Americans, but if you’re interested in spy stories and historical fiction with a unique twist, you should give it a try!

Have you watched any TV shows or movies inspired by books lately (besides TALBILB obviously)? Let us know! (Seriously though, please tell me what to watch.)


World Suicide Prevention Day

Even though today is designated as World Suicide Prevention Day, it's a topic that should be talked about every day. It hits home for many of us and it's tough, but the importance of self-care cannot be stressed enough. Take some time each day to check-in with yourself and others to make sure that no one is suffering in silence.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan and Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul are both beautifully written novels that discuss the topics of suicide, mental illness, grief, love, family, and hope. They're both so important and so real. We want to live in a world where people can openly talk about mental illness without fear. We need more stories like these.

You are not alone and you never will be. The team behind NOVL is always here with open arms and ears. 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, + Justin Paul

Dear Evan Hansen, 

Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be? 

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

If you are thinking about suicide or just need to talk to someone, you can speak to someone by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or by texting HOME to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. And here are suicide helplines outside the US.


#ThrowbackTitles from Your Childhood that are Worth the Re-Read

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Like most book lovers, my addiction began as a child. As the back-to-school IG posts start popping up on my feed, I get a little nostalgic for the books I loved in middle school.

There’s no way to go back in time. But the books I carried in my heart (and in my gigantic middle school backpack) are still in print today. So join me as I take a trip down memory lane, and here are some of my favorite books and series that I read as a kid. 


One of my favorite bookish memories is my girl scout troop friends and I reading The Mysterious Benedict Society together. I loved all the twists and turns and trying to solve the puzzles and riddles with my friends. Just looking at the charming covers and illustrations makes me nostalgic! 


These books were so juicy and SO GOOD. Even though I never actually wanted to be a celebrity or be caught up in gossip and drama, it was always too much fun reading about it! These books make me think of all the Teen Vogue and Seventeen magazines still piled up in my teenage bedroom. 


While (of course) Twilight was one of my favorites in middle school, I can’t forget about all my other favorite vampire books! Enter The Vampire’s Assistant and Cirque Du Freak series: binge-worthy and super creepy, I ate up every single one of these. This was ALSO one of the OG book-to-movie adaptations I was super excited about. 


I have so many memories reading this series with my mom and brother—looking back on it, this series was so quirky and cute. We loved reading from this narrator’s perspective, and ate up all the jokes about chocolate (haha, see what I did there!). 

What were your favorite books to read in elementary and middle school? Let us know in the comments! 


Books to Cool You Down in the Summer Heat

I’m an autumn girl: my heart resides in a world of eternal apple cider, trees with fiery leaves, and constant 60-degree weather. So while I love beach outings and long summer evenings, I’m usually counting the days until fall (while lying in a pool of sweat).

But sweater season is almost upon us, NOVLers, and I’ll be checking out these books to remind me that cooler days are just around the corner: hopefully they’ll cool you down as well! 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I wish I was a cold girl and that I lived in a cold town…but not the type of cold girl or cold town Holly Black talks about in her book. This book reminds me of fall: the vampires, the blood, and the mystery put me in a Halloween/horror mood. Read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for the spooky vibes (and obviously anything that Holly Black writes is gold)!



Winter Town by Stephen Emond

Another cold town I wish I resided in… is it too early to be hyped for winter when fall hasn’t even passed? I’ll probably be kicking myself in the butt for saying this when it’s negative 10 Degrees outside. Winter Town takes place over one winter when Evan’s old childhood friend, Lucy, comes back to town completely changed. If you liked Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist or are a huge graphic novel fan, give this one a try!   

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Even though this book is all about Ruby embracing her Fireblood powers… I’d probably be a Frostblood. In a battle of flame vs. ice, ice will win in my heart. Here at NOVL, we love the world-building, tension, and drama in the Frostblood universe and just how binge-worthy this series is. (P.S. the last book in the trilogy, Nightblood, JUST came out, so now you don’t even have to wait for any more books to come out!). 

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Speaking of icy hearts, how about people who don’t have any hearts...Dee sold her heart to a demon in exchange for one wish to come true. And if I could sell my heart, I would have infinite crisp, chilly weather and a never ending supply of leather boots. The Hearts We Sold is another perfect supernatural book to put you in the Halloween spirit! 

Stay cool, NOVLers. 


To All the Book Boys We've Loved Before

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Watching Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky fall in love in To All the Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix really got us thinking about all the boys that we've loved before. Kudos to Lara Jean, though, for handling the situation so well. If my high school diary entries got out, then...well, it was nice knowing you! Instead of subjecting you to secondhand embarrassment, we've written some love letters to all the book boys that we've loved before... 

Dear Edward,

It was there, sitting in the lunchroom, when Bella first laid eyes on your inhuman beauty. And in that same moment while reading, I fell unconditionally and irrevocably in love with you, too.

Edward, you really are the whole package. Wonderful family, musically gifted, and fantastic abs. Even though at times it creeps me out when you watch Bella sleep, no fictional character has come close to your perfection, and I’m almost positive no one will. The thing that truly makes my heart stop beating about you, is your aversion to Bella being anyone but herself. You showed me what an all-consuming, unconditional love looks like. Sadly, we’ll never experience that together since vampires don’t exist. 

You can quote Shakespeare to me anytime, Edward. *swoons*



Dear Levi,

I know when it started: The Emergency Kanye Dance Party.

There were many moments in Fangirl were I sensed your kindness and warmth: while you were reading Cath’s fan fiction, going bowling with her, making her your fancy Starbucks drinks. But it was The Emergency Kanye Dance Party scene that made me fall for you.  

At that point in my reading life, I was sick of porcelain doll boys that were shiny and perfect and made no mistakes. But Levi, you were goofy. In that scene, and all the others, you weren’t afraid to be a little weird, and ultimately to be yourself. Years after reading Fangirl, you still make me swoon, with your sweet nature, thinning, floppy yellow hair, and basic farmer Carhartt jacket.  

You’re not perfect Levi, because you’re better than perfect. You’re textured, and flawed, and real…except not actually real, which makes me very sad.

I’d read The Outsiders aloud to you anytime.


Dear James Lancer,

If you were a demon, I'd sell my heart to you in a heartbeat. I'm not sure if I'd even want it back when the time runs out.

I have to admit—I didn't like you at first. I mean, Dee did think you were homeless when she first met you, but your artistic charm and gentle humor got me. Not that many book boys draw me in as much as you did. You are the epitome of everything I look for in a YA: flirty, daring, charismatic—too bad we can never be.

You were my first love when I started at LBYR and I will forever be reminded of you every time I hear the rhythm of my heart.

Forever yours,

Dear Owen,

On the brink of autumn, on a rooftop in New York City, you and Lucy started falling in love. And then, two weeks later, you went in separate directions…quite literally.

Looking back, I keep wondering about all the boys I just met at the wrong time and what would have happened if we’d met earlier, or later. Those boys are now all thousands of miles away. And I wonder if they ever still remember me the way I remember them.

That’s what’s so compelling about you and Lucy, and The Geography of You and Me. Even when you were countries apart, you kept finding small ways to go back to her, through postcards and whispers of memories. I don’t know what love really is, but I do think that when we have an emotional connection with someone it’s undeniable. Sometimes it’s so rare that we’ll cross oceans for it, because I do think that’s where love begins.  

Well, I keep going back to you, Owen.


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Dearest King Cardan,

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Forever, but also never,


Books to Help You Survive Freshman Year of College

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If you’re one of the thousands of people entering their first year of college, we know you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions: that’s normal! 

The great unknown is ahead of you, but you’ve got this. And if you need some stories and characters to give you advice and help you along, here are some we think you should bring to survive your first year.


If you’re terrified of roommates…

Oh, the dreaded roommate assignment. Especially if you’ve had your own bedroom your whole life, the idea of living with someone else can seem horrifying. But some of the best friends you can make are those first people you share a space with in your dorm. Going into it with an open mind and an open heart could change the course of your four years, like it did for Elizabeth and Lauren in Roomies. We hope you and your freshmen roomie become just as close as them!



If your partner is hundreds of miles away…

When you and your partner are moving in separate directions for school, it’s scary to think about what will happen in the future. Clare and Aidan from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between feel you, but take their advice: every ending is also a new beginning. Wherever you find yourselves in the next year, you’re only at the beginning of your next adventure. And if you need a good laugh, a good cry, or just straight up heartfelt wisdom, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is here for you. 


 If you’re prone to existential crises…

Isn't it exciting when all your plans for the future start to change 🙃🙃🙃? Carefully drawn out plans might crumble on campus, or it might hit you that you haven’t planned enough and that everyone else is millions of miles ahead of you. It’s easy to think that you’re going to feel lost all the time, but we promise it gets better! And in the meantime, you and Danny from Love & Other Carnivorous Plants might connect. We know that both of you can get through this! 


If you need a break from the #realworld…

Sometimes you just need to unplug. If classes start to get overwhelming, don’t be afraid to take a break, unwind, and get lost in someone else's problems! Dive into old, nostalgic favorites like Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy (and the illustrated Night of Cake & Puppets companion). We can’t guarantee they will make your problems go away, but we do think they’re the perfect escape. 


Asian American Books Recommended by Crazy Publishing Asians

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With Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I've Loved Before coming out this week, we can't get enough of the Asian American representation! If you're feeling the same way after reading the books and watching the movies, us Crazy Publishing Asians at Little, Brown Young Readers and NOVL have some recommendations for you!

Girl Overboard

Alvina Ling

My pick is Justina Chen’s Girl Overboard. Before the book Crazy Rich Asians, there were the crazy rich Asians in Girl Overboard. Syrah is the daughter of billionaire Ethan Cheng, and has everything that you’d think a teenager would want—a waterfront mansion, private jet, and custom-designed snowboards. But, of course, her life isn’t perfect—she has parent problems, sibling problems, best friend problems, and boyfriend problems. This novel was Justina’s second book, and it has her signature sharp voice, lively characters, lots of drama, and this one also has snowboarding (it will cool you down this steamy hot summer!), and includes my all-time favorite trope in fiction: friendship to lovers (maybe? No spoilers!).

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Saho Fujii
Art Director

My pick is Grace Lin’s Ling & Ting series. Ling & Ting are cute, funny identical twins who want to be different. I love that the series features Asian characters which I think is unusual in early readers. I also love Grace’s fun, whimsical illustrations—especially the illustrations of Ling and Ting making dumplings. “Making Dumplings” story in book 1 always makes me hungry!

Nisha Panchal
Associate Director of Creative Services

My pick is the “Bharat Babies Presents” titles–an adorable range of books that cover India’s heritage and culture in board book, picture book and early reader formats.

When shopping for baby shower or birthday gifts for family or friends, I’ve noticed that Indian characters are not well represented in illustrated books. And then a good friend of mine, began posting samples of art from some books he was creating for Bharat Babies–and that was it, I became a big fan. The art is cute and appealing and the stories are informative and fun.  Check them out–my favorites are Padmini is Powerful and Let’s Celebrate Diwali.  

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Russell Busse
Associate Editor

I’m going to go with Halmoni and the Picnic, a picture book by Sook Nyul Choi that was a favorite of me and my sister’s when we were kids. My grandma would babysit us all the time, and similar to the halmoni in the story, she was a relatively new immigrant. The book deals a lot with worrying about the “otherness” of being Asian American among other kids, but at the time a lot of that went over our heads and mostly we were just so excited that there was a grandma in a book that made kimbop and had a hambok. 

Joanne Lee

I recommend Journey To Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation by Yoshiko Uchida, illustrated by Donald Carrick. I was assigned to read this for mandatory reading in grade school, but it's such a good book. The book may have been published in 1979, but I still think it is relevant to today's current events and political climate. This book closely follows the author's own experiences being imprisoned in internment camps for 3 years. It has been decades since I had picked this book up; however, I remember it being sad and beautifully written. Not only that, but Yoshiko Uchida and Amy Tan were the only two Asian-American authors I knew growing up and I'm glad there's more now. I also like A Big Mooncake for Little Star, a forthcoming picture book by Grace Lin. It's so freaking cute and a beautifully illustrated rendition of a mother and daughter relationship.

Valerie Wong
Digital Marketing Associate

I'd like to recommend The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh. It was one of the first books I ever read at LBYR and I wish that it existed when I was in middle school. Bea starts seventh grade friendless and is expecting big changes at home: she's about to become an big sister. She finds solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hides them in a secret spot, but one day, someone responds. She finds herself making new connections and discovering herself along the way. It spoke out to my middle school self because I was once a shy seventh grader that found it hard to make connections and found an outlet writing angsty Xanga entries. I love that it has an Asian American protagonist and written by an Asian American author—it feels really good to be represented in not only books but in media as well! P.S. Constance Wu has a rabbit and so do I so my rabbit feels represented, too...

(Read also: Warcross by Marie Lu, Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami)

Natali Cavanagh
Marketing Assistant

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan is one of the books I wish I had in high school, not only because it’s such a gorgeous, lush, lyrical read, but because of how candid the main character is when grappling with being a biracial Asian American. It feels so unlike the traditional Asian American narrative that I saw as a kid, so Leigh’s perspective was so refreshing and engaging. I’m also OBSESSED with travel stories of any kind, magical realism elements, and the whole 'falling in love with your best friend' thread! 



7 Summer Paperback Books to Throw In Your Beach Bag

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Summer is the perfect time to grab a paperback because who wants to lug around a heavy hardcover when you're sweating buckets already? Okay, is that just us? Well, paperbacks are super portable and light so they're easy to toss into your bag! Grab some sunscreen (this is very important) and one of these 7 paperbacks for your beach read. Or anywhere, really. 

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Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

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Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin 

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their combined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission?

Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray 

She’s a soldier — Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine — Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

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Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert 

When Suzette returns to Los Angeles from the boarding school where she was forced to spend the past semester, she's uncertain of whether she wants to return to Massachusetts or stay in California. CA is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil); and her step-brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

When Suzette and Lionel begin to fall in love with the same girl, however, Lionel's disorder takes a turn for the worse and spirals out of control, forcing Suzette to confront her own demons. Having betrayed a secret girlfriend in her boarding school, allowing her to take the brunt of homophobic bullying, Suzette must face her own past mistakes, come to terms with her bisexuality, and find a way to help her brother, before he hurts himself--or worse.

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Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer 

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television show Wiz Kids. Everyone wishes they could be him…or at the very least, get close enough for a selfie.

When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked when he actually accepts their invitation. Getting a taste of the spotlight, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of narrow escapes from photographers, not-so-glamorous mishaps, and surprise turns. But along the way they discover that the star they love isn’t the picture-perfect person they’ve seen on TV.

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her–and from the icy young man she has come to love.

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The Revolution Handbook by Alice Skinner 

Seen the news? Hate it? Don't know what to do next? Start a revolution with artist and activist Alice Skinner's smash-the-patriarchy guided journal—perfect for anyone who dreams of a better world, and wants to help make it a reality. 

With dozens of prompts that are both snarky and practical, the Revolution Handbook will get you to stop yelling helplessly at your news feed and start planning your resistance. Fill the interior pages to track the movements you admire and want to join. Plan your arguments on paper BEFORE you get tongue-tied at the dinner table. Log your scripts for calling representatives, make time for self-care, catalog the heroes you want to remember, and even sew Trump's mouth shut. 

So what are you waiting for? It's time to grab a pen and start your revolution. Get all your thoughts and emotions out-and get ready to change the world!


Pick a Bookish Superpower, Get a Book Rec!

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Some people dream about having the power to fly. Others would rather be invisible or telekinetic. But what about bookish superpowers? If you ask us, those are the skills any self-respecting NOVLer should really consider. Take a look at our recommendations for what you should read based on the bookish superpower you’d want the most!


The power to always remember where you left off in a book.

You're forever losing bookmarks, dog-earing pages, and finishing a chapter only to realize you've already reached that cliffhanger!

If you'd pick this power, you should read:



When smart and studious Sammie McCoy is diagnosed with a genetic disorder that will slowly steal her memories, she starts keeping a journal for her future self. But a look back at her past inspires her to reexamine what exactly she wants to do with her life and who she wants to share it with.

The power to read 100 pages a minute.

Your mantra is "so many books, so little time"! You're a fast-paced plot addict who loves a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

If you'd pick this power, you should read:

court of fives by kate elliot

In a fantasy world reminiscent of the Roman Empire, Jessamy is an upper-class lady who longs for freedom. When she gets the chance to compete in the Fives, an intricate athletic competition, it sets of a chain of events that could topple her city's carefully balanced class system.



The power to always have your OTPs end up together.

You're a hopeless romantic with about twelve ride-or-die literary couples (yes, even though OTP is technically "one true pairing").

If you'd pick this power, you should read:


cloudwish by fiona wood

When popular boy Billy starts paying attention to Van Uoc, a quiet Vietnamese Australian teen, she becomes convinced that one of her secret wishes has actually started to come true. But is it the magic of first love or the magic of a well-timed hope that will inevitably come to an end?


The power to restore any book to brand-new condition.

You love that new book smell and an unbroken spine more than anything, and your shelves looks more pristine than Barnes & Noble's. 

If you'd pick this power, you should read:


heaven looks a lot like the mall by wendy mass

When Tessa is hit with a dodgeball and falls into a mystical coma, she finds herself at the mall--or at least, a version of "heaven" that looks like the mall. With each store she passes, she relives a bit of her life--frequently an incident where she wishes she'd done something different. Tessa must figure out how she can reset the past and awaken to a brighter future.



The power to re-read your favorite books like it’s the first time.

You love reminiscing about the stories you loved when you were a little kid and all your favorites are so well-worn, they're practically loosely bound pages at this point.

If you'd pick this power, you should read:


hello, goodbye, and everything in between by jennifer e. smith

The night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have one thing left to figure out: whether they should stay together or break up. A love story in reverse, this bittersweet novel about the power of revisiting cherished memories will stick with you long after you finish.

The power to watch everything you read unfold in front of you like a movie.

You love cinematic books that feel like big budget films, are always fan casting characters, and hate it when a movie adaptation leaves out crucial scenes.

If you'd pick this power, you should read:


defy the stars by claudia gray

Noemi Vidal, a soldier for the planet Genesis, and Abel, an advanced AI abandoned in space, should never have crossed paths. But when they do, these unlikely allies must embark on a daring journey across the stars.



Galentine's Day Books for Your BFF

Happy Galentine’s Day, NOVLers! Today we’re celebrating friendship in all its forms, from unexpected connections to complicated high school cliques to closer-than-siblings bonds and more. In case you need a little themed reading material or a last minute Galentine’s Day gift for your BFF, we’ve compiled a list of our six favorite friendship reads: