Commitment is hard. A fitness plan for 30 days to a 5K? Creating a sourdough starter? Three seasons of a show to binge-watch because everyone can’t stop raving about it? Even though most of us are hunkered down in our homes, there are tons of projects out there and we’ve committed to doing a lot these days! So sometimes you need just one fun, exciting, thrilling night of reading. One perfectly wrapped up story, no commitment required.
by Katrina Leno
If the thought of committing to a lengthy series is horrid this delightfully suspenseful thriller from Katrina Leno is perfect. Be warned though, this might not be one you want to read alone, at night? Or that’s just me…
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all—it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
by Erin Gough
Rebellious teens looking to create change through hilarious pranks and devious schemes? Yes! PLUS, who doesn’t love a good enemies-to-lovers romance?
Harriet Price is the perfect Rosemead student: wealthy, smart, over-achieving. Will Everhart, on the other hand, is a social-justice warrior with a chip on her shoulder. And the two girls can’t stand one another. When a worrying incident with their swimming coach is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly joins together to expose him, pulling provocative pranks and eventually creating an entirely made-up person to help right the many wrongs of their elite institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school—who is Amelia Westlake?—and between the two girls, how long can they keep their secret? And how far will they go to really make a difference?
Award-winning Australian author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is the timely story of two girls fighting back against power and privilege—and possibly falling in love while they’re at it.
by E Latimer
Covens, serial killers, the overwhelming feelings and emotions that come with being a teenager in general? All in one story, minus the cliff-hanger you get with a long series. But you can bet this will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.
Like a Hallmark movie and reality show combined, sometimes you just need to escape with a light-hearted, swoon-worthy story. Plus while you’ll totally finish this read satisfied, there’s more rom-com-style stories coming from Nandini Bajpai: SISTER OF THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE.
For fans of Brandy Colbert and Jenny Han comes a lighthearted novel about tradition, high school social hierarchy, matchmaking, and swiping right (or left!)
Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole –– matchmakers — with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”
But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service — via an app.
But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.
A word of warning: not only will you devour this powerful story of identity, family and first love, you’ll want to devour all of the food that’s so vividly and described too.
I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact in this stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong.
Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.
Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.
Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.
This stunning and poignant novel from debut author Laekan Zea Kemp explores identity, found families and the power of food, all nestled within a courageous and intensely loyal Chicanx community.