So I already made two different anticipated 2017 release posts (YA, MG), but I wanted to make a post dedicated to the sequels being released this year that I’m looking forward to since I’m definitely a big series reader. In addition, I wanted to gush about which book releases whose cover reveals I’m looking forward to seeing, whether because the previous books in the series are gorgeous and have set the bar high or because the premise creates possibilities for breathtaking visuals.
Note: As usual, I’ve linked my reviews for prequels I’ve read and the rest are links to Goodreads.
So The Girl from Everywhere captivated me with its diverse cast, headstrong protagonist, and lush portrayal of 19th century Hawaii. Apparently, some
trollspeople felt the diversity was unrealistic, to which I say, you have a magical pirate ship that can literally travel to any time and any place, including fictional ones, and you’re expecting everyone to be cis, straight, white, abled, etc.? That speaks more to the limits of people’s imaginations than anything else. I, for one, am eager to see where Nix and the Temptation’s diverse crew’s adventures take them next in this sequel. I already pre-ordered the book, so I’m just sitting here waiting for it to drop into my mailbox. Also, for U.S. and Canada folks, there’s a pre-order giveaway for a pin shaped like the Temptation, a map of New York City, and a TSBT bookmark, so hop on that if you like bookish goodies. I have mine already. 😀
A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi (out Mar. 28th) – YA, fantasy
So, I actually have the eARC for this book, so I’ll probably read it before it’s even released. I read the first book prior to starting my blog, so it’s still sitting on my immensely long backlog of books to review. If you had told me that one of my favorite characters would be a talking, carnivorous horse before I went into The Star-Touched Queen, I would’ve looked at you funny, but that’s what happened. The Star-Touched Queen is a beautifully written and romantic tale steeped in Hindu lore that explores the nature of destiny and whether there is room for agency when the threads of fate command your life. It was full of surprising twists, and the ending really got me, in a good way. A Crown of Wishes focuses on a different but related set of characters from TSTQ, specifically Maya’s sister Gauri and her dealings with Vikram, who is mentioned in TSTQ, as they set aside their enmity as rival monarchs and attempt to win a dangerous, high-stakes contest where the prize is the granting of a wish (and you know what they say, be careful what you wish for).
I also really love the covers for this series. They really capture the feeling of the books perfectly, in my opinion.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han (out May 2nd) – YA, contemporary
I got To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before signed/personalized by Jenny Han at the Texas Teen Book Festival in 2015, which is also the year that I read TATBILB and P.S. I Still Love You. The main character, Lara Jean Song (technically her last name is Covey, but because of the Song sisters thing, I like using Song) drew me in for a number of reasons, among them her position as a middle child between two sisters and an Asian American. Some people have criticized her character as being too innocent and naive, but those aspects of her are in fact what make her relatable to me. My parents never really gave me The Talk; I read about what sex was in an encyclopedia, and then my high school friends had to bring me up to speed with various Teenage Things. I was very innocent at Lara Jean’s age, and being the second child meant that I didn’t have the same sense of responsibility and independence as my older sister, as was the case with Lara Jean and Margot.
Anyway, once I found out that there was going to be a third book about Lara Jean, I was so thrilled because I’d been hoping for more. I’m really excited to see how her character further matures as she prepares to go off to college, and I’m wondering how her relationships with the people around her change.
Also, another thing I love about this series is the cover photos. They were custom-shot for the the series, and they feature someone of the correct race/ethnicity (biracial white/Korean American), and it’s the same model throughout. After suffering through so many terrible, lazy, or straight-up whitewashed covers for books with Asian protagonists, the covers for this series were a Gift. Seriously. Also, for those who are curious, the model is Helen Chin. You can find her on Instagram here.
Dove Alight (The Dove Chronicles #3) by Karen Bao (out May 23rd) – YA, science fiction
This third book in the Dove Chronicles brings the series to a close. I just read and reviewed the first book, Dove Arising, recently, and I’m ready to dive into the second book once I’m done with all eight of the books I’m partway through. The Dove Chronicles are a diverse science fiction series with a Chinese [American] protagonist living in a colony on the Moon whose personal mission to better her family’s circumstances becomes political when she’s exposed to the dark side of the government. If you’re looking for diverse YA scifi, try this one out.
Heroine Worship (Heroine Complex #2) by Sarah Kuhn (out July 4th) – NA, SFF
I still need to review Heroine Complex, but it was one of my favorite books of 2016. In this series, we get not one, but THREE Asian American heroines. Book 1 was about Evie Tanaka, biracial Japanese American with quarter-life crisis, discovering her powers and stepping into the spotlight, out of the shadow of her best friend, the local superheroine and media darling Aveda Jupiter. In this second book, Aveda Jupiter, real name Annie Chang (Chinese American), is the protagonist. I’m curious to see how my perspective on her character will change now that she’s the viewpoint character because she came off as a huge drama queen in the first book from Evie’s point of view. She was competent at the ass-kicking business but a bit much to deal with on a interpersonal level.
The Speaker (The Sea of Ink and Gold #2) by Traci Chee (out Sep. 12th) – YA, science fiction
Despite being from the Big 5, I feel like The Reader was underhyped compared to other YA fantasy series. Apparently, people who read The Reader were polarized into loved-it or hated-it camps, and obviously I’m in the Loved It! camp. I thought the premise and the plotting was extremely original, and the characters won me over, especially Sefia and Archer and their cute but deep bond. The Big Reveal at the end was mind-blowing, and now I’m curious as to how Sefia and Archer are doing in the aftermath of everything that has happened (Narrator voice: there was A Lot that Happened).
The Reader is another example of a cover illustration that I love. The colors, the gold lines, the book motif, the Asian girl front and center, just stunning. I’m really hoping they use the same cover artist for The Speaker and Book 3, and I can’t wait to see how those cover illustrations turn out. *fingers crossed* The illustrator for The Reader is Yohey Horishita, a Japanese artist based in NYC. There’s a peek at the original artwork here. (Also, it warms my heart when they have Asian artists do the cover art for books with Asian MCs by Asian authors.)
Shadowhouse Fall (Shadowshaper #2) by Daniel José Older (out Sep. 12th) – YA, fantasy
Another sequel to a book I’ve read but not yet reviewed, oops. I talked a bit about Shadowshaper in my Favorite Books of 2016 post, but long story short, it’s urban fantasy that’s by, about, and for black and brown POC that blends the supernatural with the realistic. It uses art (visual art, music, etc.) as the basis of magic and also spares none in its critiques of cultural appropriation, colorism, and so on. The author has explicitly stated that Shadowhouse Fall is a protest novel, and it’s going to be more magical and more political than its predecessor, which has me begging for the release date to come sooner.
Also, the cover for Book 1 was breathtaking, so I’m expecting Book 2’s cover to be more of the same.
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (out Sep. 26th) – YA, fantasy
I actually won a pre-order of this book through a giveaway, and up until then I hadn’t known about its existence, but I’m glad I found it. It’s a fantasy story based on Nigerian culture, set in a world where guilty emotions manifest a physical form, known as sin-beasts, and special people, the aki, are trained to eat the sin-beasts in order to get rid of them. Talk about creepy but amazing, right? There aren’t nearly enough Black boy protagonists in YA or in fantasy, so this is a welcome addition.
Needless to say, if they don’t put a Black boy on the cover, I’m going to be extremely disappointed because as many have pointed out, there are so few stories about Black boys that don’t involve heavy real-life issues of systemic violence like police brutality and racial profiling. They deserve to see themselves in stories that are magical.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie Dao (out Oct. 10th) – YA, fantasy
Now, here is the first debut book on this list. If you’re following me on Twitter you probably already know how pumped I am for this book. It’s a retelling of the story of the Evil Queen from Snow White that’s based on Chinese folklore. I mean just read the blurb. If that’s any indication, it’s going to be a Tale of Epic Proportions. If you’re still not over The Young Elites coming to an end and want a new diverse villain story, check this out.
I’m really hoping that the cover features a Chinese girl front and center looking magical and badass. I hope it’s colorful and poster-worthy. I hope it knocks the socks off the other fantasy books coming out this year that feature more of the usual white girl fare. (Not even sorry.)
Timekeeper was one of my favorite reads of 2016, and now we finally have a title for the sequel! As I mentioned in my post on Supporting Characters Who Need Their Own Book(s), this second installment will take place in India, which means the author will get to flex some of her #ownvoices muscles. While I love Danny and Colton, I’m really, really hoping to see stuff from Daphne’s point of view as a biracial Indian girl visiting and experiencing her family’s homeland. I think that would mean a lot to multiracial and/or diaspora readers who feel estranged from their heritage.
Based on the cover of the first book, it seems like they’ve opted for object-focused illustrations, so I’m expecting something in a similar vein for the cover of Book 2, hopefully as bold, textured, and atmospheric as the first.
Circle Unbroken (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova (out in November) – YA, fantasy
There has been so much buzz about Labyrinth Lost and its bi Latina protagonist in my circles that I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read it yet. However, I have made steps toward remedying that, and I now own a copy of the book. It is on my TBR, and hopefully I will get to it in March, after I get through my Black History Month TBR. Labyrinth Lost tells the story of Alex, whose attempt to rid herself of the magic that runs in her family of brujas (witches) backfires.
The cover for Labyrinth Lost is quite eye-catching and memorable, so I have high hopes for the sequel to deliver on that front.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee (out fall/winter 2017) – YA, fantasy
Another debut novel! The description for this book is very 0 to 100: a Chinese American teen girl is worried about the usual high school problems like standardized tests and college apps when suddenly she discovers she can break the Gates of Heaven with her fists. Damn. I need this book yesterday.
If they don’t feature a Chinese American girl for the cover illustration being badass (and breaking things?) I am going to flip a few tables.
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword (Peasprout Chen #1) by Henry Lien (out fall 2017) – MG, fantasy
This one is a middle grade debut. The author has previously released various short stories, and this is his first full-length novel. It’s the first book in a fantasy series featuring a girl who competes in a [fictional] sport called Wu Liu, combining the “wu” from 武術/wushu (martial arts) and the “liu” from 溜冰/liubing (ice skating) to give you martial arts on ice! Honestly, given the success of Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi in the 90s all the way up to today’s Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, and several other Asian American top figure skaters, an Asian American ice skating story is long overdue.
(The author is Taiwanese and Chen is the most common Taiwanese last name, so I’m high-key hoping the MC is Taiwanese.)
Also the cover photo potential! You can get a taste of the aesthetic it entails from the bibliography page of the author’s website.
Bells from Not Your Sidekick would have been on my Supporting Characters Who Need Their Own Book(s) list, except I don’t even need to ask for it because he is already getting his own book! Bells is a trans boy, and he’s a Black Creole of Color. In Not Your Villain, he takes center stage in trying to fighting corruption among the superhero league while surviving high school and working up the courage to tell his best friend Emma that he’s in love with her.
The cover for Not Your Sidekick had a distinct style and texture, and the book included interior chapter header illustrations by the same artist. I’m hoping that pattern continues since the first book had featured Jess looking at once mundane in her dress but also heroic in her posture and expression, striking a balance between down-to-earth and larger-than-life. If we have a Bells version of that same aesthetic, my bookish heart will be happy.
And after skimming through this list, it is very apparent that I’m biased toward fantasy. Or maybe there are just more fantasy series?