Friday, October 24, 2014

This Week at Book Riot

Here's a roundup of my writing over at Book Riot this week . . .

  • If you're curious about the YA titles coming out between now and the end of the year, as well as a peek at 10 books coming out next spring worth getting on your radar now, then I've got the reading guide for you

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quinetero

Sometimes, you read the book you didn't know you needed to read when you read it. Enter Isabel Quintero's Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.

Mexican American Gabi is a senior this year, and the book picks up in the months leading up to her final year in high school. It jumps in immediately, as this is a diary-style novel, and we're quickly introduced to Gabi's best friend Cindy and Sebastian. Cindy just discovered she's pregnant and Sebastian, who Gabi has known to be gay for a while, just came out to his family. Those two revelations set off the string of events to follow -- Cindy's pregnancy, as Gabi is by her side through the entirety of it and Sebastian's coming out, as Gabi helps him find a stable place to live after he's kicked out of his own home.

But this isn't the story of what happens to Gabi's friends.

Gabi's own home life is imperfect, as is her love life. Her father is an addict, and he's more unreliable than he is reliable and stable. Gabi's upset and hurting by it, but because it's such a normal part of her life, she depicts it as such.

She's interested in a number of boys, but she has no idea whether they're interested, and she certainly has no idea how to kiss them, were that opportunity to arise. But as the months roll on, we see Gabi test out relationships with a number of guys throughout, and she offers her keen insight into what she did or did not like about each one . . . and whether her final choice was the right one for her. There is keen, positive depictions of sexuality and Gabi's understanding of her limits, as well as discussion of consent. Her aunt taught her the phrase "eyes open, legs closed," which is a theme that runs throughout her diary, but it's a phrase in which he can't always agree -- especially as more unravels about Cindy's pregnancy and the pregnancy of another of Gabi's classmates. Oh, and there's the surprise pregnancy her mother has, too.

Because we get Gabi unfiltered, we see the pregnancies through her eyes without any glossing over. We know what it was like to be in the delivery room with Cindy and we know what it's like when someone has to go to an abortion clinic and all of the steps and secrecy involved in that.

One of the biggest challenges Gabi faces in the story is that she's torn between going away to college and remaining at home with her family. She's stuck in that space between pursuing her own dreams as an American girl and the traditional role she has in staying home and helping with the family, as children in Mexican families often do. She applies to schools, including some big name universities, and ultimately gets accepted to her dream school. The wrestling she does about her future is complicated and thoughtfully approached, but it's made even more challenging when she does something at school that gets her in trouble. Huge trouble.

And it's here where Quintero's good debut novel becomes an outstanding novel.

Although this is a diary of Gabi's life, it's a deep exploration of sexuality and more specifically, it's also an exploration of "dude culture." That is, why do we allow "boys to be boys" but we don't offer protection to girls from boys? Or more accurately, why do we allow "boys to be boys" anyway? What does it say when boys are allowed to do what they want to and it's permitted, where a girl has to suffer the consequences not just of her own actions but of the things acted upon her? Gabi won't stand for it, and she keeps turning her mind back to that phrase "eyes open, legs closed." It becomes almost a tool of power for her when she begins working through the anger and frustration she has, even though that wasn't the intended purpose for her aunt telling it to her.

Gabi is also a fat girl. But she's not just a fat girl in a YA novel. She's a fat girl in a YA novel who loves to eat, who loves to talk about eating, and yet, she's brutally honest about what being fat means in her life. She's regularly teased and she's given a lot of grief at home about it, and she herself admits to wishing she could be thinner. Trying on clothes is a pain, among other things. But what Quintero does not do in this book is make Gabi any less of a full, exceptionally-realized, dream-seeking main character. Her fat does not hold her back. It becomes a thing she talks about in a way that is another part of who she is, even if it's something she feels like other people judge her much more harshly for than she does. Gabi's body is not the whole story. Gabi's body does not make her unable to live her life to the fullest. It does not make her unattractive to boys. It does not isolate her from her friends. It does not make her depressed or sullen or fearful of food. Her body is just that: her body. This is an amazing and affirming message to see in a book, and I think it will resonate deeply with readers.

This is a story that also includes positive female friendship, positive male-female friendship, laugh-out-loud moments of awkward interactions with boys, and really heart-warming scenes. There are some really tough parts to read, as Gabi's family does suffer a major blow, but those are tempered with moments that make you cheer for Gabi, too. The diary format for Gabi, A Girl in Pieces was the absolute right choice for telling the story because it allowed both immediacy and distance from events (Gabi has to reflect on what happens after the fact, when she's writing, rather than in the immediacy as it's happening) and because it is exceedingly rare to see a "year in the life" diary of a character of color. Gabi owns every bit of this story.

Gabi is an empowered teen girl from the start, but it's not something she entirely realized. It's through this year she comes to discover that about herself -- and those moments of getting it are rich for the reader.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces has garnered five starred reviews so far from the trade journals, but I have seen virtually no discussion of this book and I think that may be because this is from a smaller press. But this is a book with huge teen appeal that I hope people pick up, give a chance, and then talk about. Quintero's writing style and story telling reminded me a lot of Amy Spalding. Fans of Sara Zarr, Susan Vaught, or Siobhan Vivian's novels will do well with this book, too. Readers looking for serious books that are infused with good moments of humor and honesty, as well as depictions of awkward teen relationships, dynamic families, the challenges of pursuing your own interests while also respecting and being part of a host of cultural traditions, and great female leads will find a lot to enjoy here.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces is available now. Review copy from the publisher.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October is...

If you're a public librarian, you've probably used Chase's Calendar of Events. It's one of the few print reference resources we still hang on to in my branch, and we use it a lot for display inspiration. It's also good for a laugh, since it will tell you that January is Teen Driving Awareness Month (be very aware of those teens and you'll stand a better chance of survival) and that July is Horseradish Month. Important stuff.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to highlight a few (mostly YA) books that would be good for some of those more obscure October holidays.

American Cheese Month

Bake and Decorate Month 

Car Care Month

Crime Prevention Month 

Go Hog Wild--Eat Country Ham Month

Orthodontic Health Month

Photographer Appreciation Month

Positive Attitude Month

Roller Skating Month

Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month

Stamp Collecting Month

Workplace Politics Awareness Month

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few Cybils Reads - Part II

The public nomination period for the Cybils closed last week. I have 32 print books and 4 e-books checked out from the library currently scattered at various parts throughout my house (well, I guess the e-books aren’t really scattered), in addition to the books I already own (easily another dozen or so). You’d think that a kitchen table would be for eating things, but right now it’s pretty much just serving as a surface upon which to sort books – this stack I’ve read, this stack I haven’t, and so on.
Here are a few more brief reviews from the stack I’ve read.

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule
This book lives up to its title. It is very strange, almost too strange, for most of its existence, and then it hits you with some sweetness near the end that makes for a very satisfying resolution. Sing da Navelli is the daughter of a famous soprano, a woman who made a name for herself in opera – not only because of her voice, but also because she died in the middle of an aria. When Sing starts at Dunhammond Academy, a boarding school for musicians, she feels the weight of her father’s expectations as well as the public’s. As luck (good or ill) would have it, the school is performing Angelique this year, the opera that Sing’s mother died singing.

Parts of the story are told from Sing’s point of view as she tries to gain the lead role in the opera, make friends, date the cute boy, deal with rude teachers, and so on. Other parts are told from the point of view of the Maestro of the school in his youth, his young apprentice, and a strange being called the Felix who inhabits the woods outside the school. The Felix – which kills almost everyone it meets, but grants wishes to a select few – is itself a part of the opera, used as inspiration by the opera’s composer long ago. Its life is tied inextricably to the history of the school. At times the school story and the mythical story exist uneasily side by side. It takes a patient reader to push through all the parts and learn how they join together, but the payoff is lovely and rewarding, very fairy tale-esque with a sweet romance and interesting magic. The writing is lovely, too, giving the book a dreamlike quality. This would be a good pick for readers fascinated with the opera, the lives of classical musicians, and the magic that music can create.

Amity by Micol Ostow
Ostow has written a seriously creepy horror novel that most readers could probably finish in a single sitting. It tells two parallel stories both set in a house called Amity, but separated in time by ten years. Connor’s story is the past story; Gwen’s is the present. Each story begins with the teens’ families moving into Amity and noticing that something is a bit off with the house. In Connor’s case, he develops an affinity for Amity; the house gives him a sort of power. He feeds off of it and vice versa. In Gwen’s case, the house frightens her; it starts to do strange things to her brother, and she becomes more and more disturbed as she learns more about what happened ten years ago with Connor’s family.

Each teen tells their own story, and both teens at first seem fairly normal, but it quickly becomes apparent that Connor brought his own disease with him to Amity, a disease that Amity recognizes and exploits. Gwen suffers from a disease, too, but of a different kind. Eventually, Connor’s and Gwen’s stories combine. The switches in perspective are frequent, chapters are short, and there’s a lot of white space. These stylistic choices create an urgency to the story, which is perfectly paced (if perhaps just a touch too short). I know next to nothing about the actual Amityville events, so I can’t tell you how much of the book pulls from them and how much springs completely from Ostow’s imagination. What I can tell you is that Ostow excels at creating a haunting mood, one that isn’t driven by gore or things that jump out at you. It’s a slow burn, and by the end, most readers should be deliciously scared. Keep the lights on.

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart
The voice is what makes this book stand out from other is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-ghost stories. Ellie is fourteen, depressed, and on her way to a new town with her parents to make a fresh start. On the way there, her family’s car is involved in a crash which kills one of her parents and her cat. Ellie herself is seriously injured, but she pulls through. In her new home, she meets Madeline, a beautiful, perfect girl who quickly becomes her best friend. But then Madeline is gone, and Ellie finds herself adrift without her, struggling once again to put together the broken pieces of her life – and mostly failing.

Ellie’s story is difficult to read sometimes – she’s in such pain, and her voice is so achingly fourteen. It would take a hard heart not to be transported back to one’s own adolescence while reading this. Though I didn’t experience the same exact problems as Ellie, Stewart’s writing made me acutely aware of just how everything felt at that time in my life. Fourteen year olds experience things differently than adults. Sometimes it hurts to remember that. This is a first person story, told through Ellie’s journals (though it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly like an epistolary novel) and we are close, so very close, to Ellie as narrator. It’s possible she’s unreliable. What’s more likely, at least to me, is that Ellie just doesn’t know what’s going on. She can’t trust her own experiences, so we as readers can’t either. This is a short, intense read that should resonate with a lot of teens, many of whom will see themselves in Ellie.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Steps to Protect Your Privacy As A Blogger (Or As A Person On The Internet, Period)

If you've been on the internet in the last few days, certainly you've read the story about Kathleen Hale stalking down a blogger. I'm not interested in reading a single thing more about it in terms of how some authors would never do that, that bloggers have a right to write what they want, and so forth. Those are all too touchy-feely. 

What I'm interested in is why bloggers aren't speaking up louder -- and I think Liz Burns hits the nail on the head about the fact this story has caused many of us who are bloggers to get worried about what speaking up and out might do. While we might be able to write Hale off as unstable and a rarity, the number of people who supported her piece, regardless of how fabricated it is or is not (she did not offer privacy to the blogger, despite offering it to her friends), is cause for alarm. Go read Liz's post about why she's afraid of blogging after this

So we can either sit with our fear, give up blogging all together, or we can act in ways that offer us more privacy than we have right now. I thought it would be worthwhile to list a few steps I've taken and a few I plan on taking to ensure the most privacy and safety for myself as a woman on the internet with an opinion that I can in hopes it might help other people do the same. We've seen that this is necessary time and time again. 

1. Get a post office box

I have given my home mailing address for everything. It never occurred to me to get a PO box for anything blog-related. Today I went down to the local post office and opened one for myself, and I plan on transitioning as much book-related mail as possible there, rather than keep it at home. It will certainly be the address I use when sending out mail, too.

The cost was $29 for 6 months, plus a $6 key deposit fee. To open a box, you need to be 18 (or with a parent/guardian) and you need both a photo ID and a non-photo proof of address. I used my vehicle registration, but you can use your mortgage or your rental agreement. 

The pros of this are the anonymity provided. The cons of this are the need to go to the post office, which can be a challenge, and it doesn't change the fact that UPS or FedEx won't ship there. 

2. Use a blogging email

I'm too loose on using my personal email for blogging-related stuff. I'm okay with it sometimes, but I need to be better about public sharing of my email and use the generic email for it. 

I don't share other people's email addresses when I'm asked for them, so why am I loose with my own? Personal email is that; business email is another beast. 

For those who get overwhelmed by the idea of multiple inboxes, you can set up a forwarding service or filters to make it easier. Or, like with a PO box, you can create a new routine to check your business email every day at x-time or three times a week or whatever works for you. 

3. Have a review AND a privacy policy on your blog

Did you know we've always had a privacy policy on Stacked? Go to our review policy (which is woefully out of date), and it's there at the bottom. We don't share any information at all. 

Having a review policy is good for setting out what you're doing and how you do it. No one is shocked we write critical reviews. No one should be shocked that we don't respond to all email queries (it's laid out we don't, and we don't). This protects you and what you're trying to do.

In regards to our privacy policy, we delete all contest information when they're done. All Google Docs go into a private spreadsheet, which is then deleted when the winner has responded. We don't collect mailing info via the sheets; we take email, then contact winners that way. It's two-step protection. 

Also, sites like Amazon or B&N can save contest winner mailing addresses as shipping addresses. Delete them. When doing a giveaway from a publisher or other source, I always tell that to the winner, so they know their info is being passed on. This helps them know I'm sharing AND it can be a chance for them to decide which address they're being reached at. 

If you don't have these policies, get them. You can take our privacy policy verbatim, if it makes it easier. 

But don't just take it. FOLLOW it, too.

4. Clean dead social media accounts

I deleted profiles at all of the social media services I don't use. It's one thing less for people to "find" me through. 

Know what your rights are on social media before you sign up for new services. When Ello hit the internet, I didn't run to join. They had no way to block users. Guess what? That's not safe. I'm not going to join a site until I know my ability to be private or block abusive users is guaranteed.

5. Block and report abuse

In conjunction with cleaning dead social media, where you ARE active, make sure you know how to report abuse and utilize your blocking services. They're not always perfect -- on Twitter, even if you block someone, if they sign out of their account, they can still see your profile, if it's public -- but they're a layer of privacy.

Yes, I have a list of people blocked on Twitter. I can handle criticism; when it turns abusive or scary, I'm out. 

The beauty of social media is being able to tweak it to fit your needs. Don't let the nasty be what you see, if you can best avoid it. I know it's not always possible, but it shouldn't be a tool you're afraid to use because it might hurt someone else's feelings.

6. Assess your sharing

I have personal boundaries on every social media account I'm on. In other words, I use different tools for different reasons and have different audiences in mind. My Facebook, for example, is only for people I actually know. Strangers or people from the internet I've not met in real life or spent significant time talking with are people I don't friend. I know sometimes it can feel rude to do that, but those same people have all access to me on Twitter or Tumblr or here or via email or any other entry point. Facebook is personal and for me and me alone.

I talked at KidLit Con about how my sharing on Twitter has changed in the last year. It has. I am much more conscious of personal sharing. I don't tend to talk about trips I'm taking or about places I'm going or where I'm at. I don't talk about personal stuff much at all -- perhaps a bad day or a good day, but I'm conscious of not even tweeting my cats' names. It's almost too much information, when I'm already using my full, real name. 

Another habit I changed? Goodreads. I won't get rid of it, but I use it far less frequently and I post far shorter reviews. I don't bother with starred ratings anymore because I just got tired of defending things like a 3-starred review for a book I liked (3 means I liked it!). When you get tired of doing something, change what you're doing. 

You get to decide how you interact online. Set up boundaries and feel free to stick with them or change them as you want to. If you want to use your real name on one site and not another, go for it. If you want to share details of your employer, feel free. But also know those choices come with consequences -- I know more than one person who had their employment information easily findable and have had people from the internet contact their bosses about something. I've had situations where someone has been looking for someone with the same name as me, has found my place of employment, and tried running a collection agency through that work place's HR to get my address. HR warned me they weren't looking for me, but told me to be safe and run credit reports anyway (yes, this has happened multiple times). 

You don't owe anything to anyone on the internet

You don't have to use a real picture. You don't have to use a real name. You can be inconsistent with your handles. You are the only one who has to have a handle on it, and you can choose those levels of privacy for yourself. 

7. Change your passwords

Right now, change all your passwords. 

Yes, it's a pain in the ass, but it's a step of protection for you. 

I would highly recommend investing in a password management tool like 1Password and creating a vault. That makes changing your passwords easier and you can't forget them since they're saved. 

All of the advice out there suggesting that bloggers or those who are outspoken on the internet need to "grow a thicker skin" is well-meaning, but it's not the be-all, end-all. You can have thin skin (I do!) and still be opinionated. You know how to properly manage it in healthy outlets. 

The problem in situations like this isn't about "thick skinned"ness. It's about another person taking advantage of your privacy and security. No one should feel unsafe writing their thoughts, ideas, dreams, or opinions and sharing them. 

I write critical reviews, but I don't deserve to feel unsafe for them. No one does.

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Put a Moon on It: The Moon on YA Book Covers

Every year, we try to write about horror or scary books throughout October. While there are more posts planned, I thought I'd take the Halloween/October spirit of things into a little bit of a different direction. 

Let's talk about the moon. More specifically, let's talk about the moon as it appears on YA book covers. It's interesting that the moon is a trend-y sort of image in cover design. I didn't think it was until I started to look through YA books published by year. We're in a moon upswing, after a handful of years where we didn't see it on covers as much as we currently -- and soon will -- see it. When we did see it as a cover trend a few years back, it was a pretty solid indicator of a werewolf story. Now? Not so much. 

All of the books on this list feature a moon on the cover, even though not all of these books fall into the horror/scary/thriller categories. I think this could make for a fun display because the visual of it is great. I've noted places where the book is part of a series. 

Descriptions come from Goodreads, unless otherwise noted. If you can think of other YA books with moons on the cover, feel free to let me know in the comments. I stuck to covers where it was obvious the image was a moon, rather than something that could be the moon. 

Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt: Jonah and Brighton are about to have the most awkwardly awful night of their lives. For Jonah, every aspect of his new life reminds him of what he has had to give up. All he wants is to be left alone. Brighton is popular, pretty, and always there to help anyone, but has no idea of what she wants for herself.

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe (October 28, first in a series): Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save. (Description via Goodreads). 

The Dead & The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (series, with ALL covers featuring a big old moon on them): After a meteor hits the moon and sets off a series of horrific climate changes, seventeen-year-old Alex Morales must take care of his sisters alone in the chaos of New York City.

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp (March 2015): Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out. Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart? (Description via Goodreads).

Starbreak by Phoebe North (second in series): After five hundred years, the Earth ship seventeen-year-old Terra and her companions were born and raised on arrives at Zehava, a dangerous, populated world where Terra must take the lead in establishing a new colony.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (first in series): In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a New Escientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn: Marni, a young flower seller who has been living in exile, must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and a life with the father she has never known--a wild dragon.

Bright Coin Moon by Kirsten Lopresti (November 18): Lindsey Allen, seventeen, aspires to be an astronomer but her eccentric mother decides they must move to Los Angeles to become psychics to the stars, and soon Lindsey must either betray her mother or her new mentor.

Dove Arising by Karen Bao (February 24, 2015): On a lunar colony, fifteen-year-old Phaet Theta does the unthinkable and joins the Militia when her mother is imprisoned by the Moon's oppressive government. 

Defy The Dark edited by Saundra Mitchell: Seventeen original stories that take place in the absence of light.

Girl On A Wire by Gwenda Bond: A ballerina, twirling on a wire high above the crowd. Horses, prancing like salsa dancers. Trapeze artists, flying like somersaulting falcons. And magic crackling through the air. Welcome to the Cirque American! Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies. Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist in the Cirque. As more mysterious talismans believed to possess unlucky magic appear, Jules and Remy unite to find the culprit. And if they don’t figure out what’s going on soon, Jules may be the first Maroni to do the unthinkable: fall. (Description via Goodreads)

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion-- and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Fateful by Claudia Gray: When seventeen-year-old Tess Davies, a ladies' maid, meets handsome Alec Marlow aboard the RMS Titanic, she quickly becomes entangled in the dark secrets of his past, but her growing love puts her in mortal peril even before fate steps in.

Nocturne by Christine Johnson (second in series): After the tragic events of the summer, Claire wants to worry about nothing but finding the perfect dress for the Autumn Ball, but her worst nightmares come true when someone learns that she is a werewolf, placing everyone she knows at risk.

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (second in series): Alpha wolf Calla Tor forges an alliance with her masters' enemies and tries to rescue her pack from imprisonment in Vail.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill--an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell (August 4, 2015): Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday—and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse—Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There’s a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike. (Description via Goodreads). 

Liar's Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce (second in series): In a quest to prove her friend, Lord Durrel Decath, innocent of the murder of his wife, pickpocket Digger stumbles into a conspiracy with far-reaching consequences for the civil war raging in Lllyvraneth, while also finding herself falling in love.

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby: At age seven, Anna watched her mother walk into the surf and drown, but nine years later, when she moves with her father to the beach where her parents fell in love, she joins the cross-country team, makes new friends, and faces her guilt.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (March 24, 2015): Naila's vacation to visit relatives in Pakistan turns into a nightmare when she discovers her parents want to force her to marry a man she's never met. 

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