“On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!
On Ana’s Radar:
A new Hilary Mckay book “about a girl who is fighting for her independence during World War I”? YES:
Clarry Penrose finds the good in everyone. Even in her father, who isn’t fond of children, and especially girls. He doesn’t worry about her education, because he knows she won’t need it. Her grandparents, who care for her in the summers, assume that she’ll play nicely and do what she’s told. It’s the early twentieth century, after all, and the only thing girls are expected to do is behave.
But Clarry longs for a life of her own. She wants to dive off cliffs and go swimming with her brother Peter and cousin Rupert. And more than anything, she wants to get an education. She helps Peter with his homework all the time, so why can’t she manage it by herself? When war breaks out, Clarry is shocked to find that Rupert has enlisted, but she focuses on her schoolwork. Then Rupert is declared missing, and Clarry is devastated. Now she must take a momentous step into the wide world—for if she misses this chance, she may never make it.
From award-winning author Hilary McKay comes an inspirational, funny, and heartwarming story about a girl who dares to open doors that the world would rather keep closed.
A new MG novel from Yoon Ha Lee coming from Rick Riordan Presents and it looks so good:
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.
A new Anne Ursu book!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Anne Ursu, National Book Award longlist author of the beloved and acclaimed novels Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy, comes an unforgettable new contemporary fantasy about twin sisters, split apart, who have to find their way together again.
When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.
When fifth grade arrives, however, it is decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both. Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small are going missing without a trace. As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.
Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award nominee The Real Boy, returns with another staggering, heartbreaking story of the power of fantasy, the limits of love, and the struggles we face to cope with the changes inherent in growing up.
Although I won’t deny being a tiny little bit wary of this one, I am also going to give it a go:
Perfect for fans of Moxie and The Female of the Species, this contemporary YA novel is about a secret society of girls who get revenge on the guys who hurt them. Both cathartic and thrilling, this is the story we need now.
ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE, IF YOU HURT US, WE’RE COMING FOR YOU.
The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who have hurt girls and women for years.
Thea, whose cousin Natalie’s killer went free, has just received an invitation to join their Balancings—acts of revenge meant to teach a lesson. Justice for Natalie has never felt so close.
But as the Balancings escalate in brutality, Thea’s clear-cut mission begins to unravel, and she must decide just how far she is willing to go for justice.
Because when the line between justice and revenge is paper thin, it’s hard not to get cut.
This book is for every unwanted touch, comment, or gaze…for every time you wished you could fight back but couldn’t. Powerful, thrilling, and deeply resonant, readers will experience their own vicarious satisfaction each time the Black Coats get revenge.
I also really love the sound of this one:
With a welcome mix of humor, heart, and high-stakes drama, Sabina Khan provides a timely and honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favor her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart.
Her parents are devastated and decide to whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Through reading her grandmother’s old diary, Rukhsana gains some much-needed perspective and realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love without losing the connection to her family as a consequence.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on my radar this week, a new Sarah Beth Durst novel–yesssssss!
Fans of Cassandra Clare and Julie Kagawa will devour this contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.
In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.
Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.
With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.
Then, there’s this middle grade alien abduction story that sounds intriguing (great title, too):
In this delightfully creepy novel from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Ronald L. Smith, twelve-year-old Simon thinks he was abducted by aliens. But is it real, or just his over-active imagination? Perfect for fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Louis Sachar.
Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.
Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?
Even readers who don’t believe in UFOs will relate to the universal kid feeling of not being taken seriously by adults that deepens this deliciously scary tale.
And then there’s this science fiction novel set in an academy with secret identities and I’m like yes I’m here please let’s do this:
Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia C?cha is a seventeen-year-old girl.
A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.
Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?
In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.
And last but not least, I’ve been in a maudlin science fiction mood: this Black Mirror-esque sounding novel sounds just right.
“An alternately charming and horrifying exploration of what it means to be human and how far we’ll go in pursuit of personal and societal ‘perfection.’ Dayton’s newest is imagination at its best and most terrifying. I devoured this book.” –Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken
For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.
Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”
This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?