“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:
I’ve started hearing excellent things about this ContempYA When Dimple met Rishi
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
A Middle Grade novel about a bi girl and Shakespeare. GIMME
Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare.
Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.
As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls is a new Xuya book set in the same universe as the excellent On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls was a great wonder; a perfect meld between cutting edge technology and esoteric sciences—its inhabitants capable of teleporting themselves anywhere, its weapons small and undetectable and deadly.
Thirty years ago, threatened by an invading fleet from the Dai Viet Empire, the Citadel disappeared and was never seen again.
But now the Dai Viet Empire itself is under siege, on the verge of a war against an enemy that turns their own mindships against them; and the Empress, who once gave the order to raze the Citadel, is in desperate needs of its weapons. Meanwhile, on a small isolated space station, an engineer obsessed with the past works on a machine that will send her thirty years back, to the height of the Citadel’s power.
But the Citadel’s disappearance still extends chains of grief and regrets all the way into the fraught atmosphere of the Imperial Court; and this casual summoning of the past might have world-shattering consequences…
A new book set in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe.
This Fantasy YA novel looks awesome:
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.
Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.
Malinda Lo has a new book this year and I am freaking out about how awesome it looks:
Jessica Wong is the kind of girl nobody notices. She’s also the kind of girl who sees everything. There’s no one better at overlooking Jess than her best friend Angie. Jess can live without Angie knowing her real feelings, just so long as they’re best friends. But when Angie meets Margot, Jess recognizes that things will never be the same. Worse still, Margot is one of the rare people who sees exactly how Jess feels about Angie. As Angie falls hard for Margot and gets caught up with Margot’s wealthy friends, Jess’s life begins to fall apart. If she isn’t Angie’s best friend, what is she? Then, at a party, surrounded by Margo’s friends, Jess finally breaks down and starts revealing a few of the secrets she knows. Not everyone in the party can handle what Jess reveals, and before the sun rises, someone’s dead.
Dark, disturbing, and full of twists, A Line in the Dark is cleverly crafted YA mystery that will delight readers craving a queer teenage girl anti-hero just as morally complicated as her male counterparts.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on my radar this weekend, this dragon book:
“I swear by the stars that you and the others slain tonight will be the first of many. Of that you have my word.”
With Aven Dalmarta now hiding in the shadows of Meya, Alex is desperate to save Jordan and keep the Rebel Prince from taking more lives.
Training day and night to master the enhanced immortal blood in her veins, Alex undertakes a dangerous Meyarin warrior trial that separates her from those she loves and leaves her stranded in a place where nothing is as it should be.
As friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Alex must decide who to trust as powerful new allies—and adversaries—push her towards a future of either light… or darkness.
One way or another, the world will change…
And then there’s this book from Claudia Gray, that we’ll be discussing next week:
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier in an interstellar war, fighting to defend her home planet against Earth’s robotic mech armies. When the disastrous aftermath of a space battle strands her on an abandoned enemy ship, she encounters a deadly mech determined to kill her–until a twist in his programming compels him to do her bidding, and to reveal a secret which could save her world.
Abel, Model 1A of the Mansfield Cybernetics Line, is his creator’s masterpiece: the most complex mech prototype ever made, he not only appears perfectly human, but possesses an artificial intelligence so sophisticated that he can feel human emotions. When Noemi boards the ship he has been trapped on for decades, his programming demands that he obey her as his new commander–even if she’s fighting on the other side of the war, and even though her plan to win that war will kill him.
As they embark upon an exciting and dangerous journey through the galaxy, Noemi begins to recognize the soul within the machine, and Abel’s devotion to Noemi soon becomes more than a matter of programming. It’s a journey that will teach both of them what it truly means to be human.
And then NEW STAR WARS BOOK ALERT!
In honor of the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, this collection features Star Wars stories by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from Star Wars literary history. More than forty authors have lent their unique vision to forty “scenes,” each retelling a different moment from the original Star Wars film, but with a twist: Every scene is told from the point of view of a background character. Whether it’s the X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star or the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View places the classic movie in a whole new perspective, and celebrates the influence and legacy of the unparalleled cultural phenomenon, Star Wars.
Ben Acker and Ben Blacker • Renee Ahdieh • Tom Angleberger • Meg Cabot • Rae Carson • Zoraida Cordova • Delilah S. Dawson • Paul Dini • Alexander Freed • Jason Fry • Christie Golden • Claudia Gray • E. K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein • Paul Kemp • Mur Lafferty • Ken Liu • Griffin McElroy • John Jackson Miller • Nnedi Okorafor • Daniel José Older • Mallory Ortberg • Madeleine Roux • Gary D. Schmidt • Cavan Scott • Sabaa Tahir • Glen Weldon • Chuck Wendig • Gary Whitta • And more!
This next book is from an author whose writing I trust–though the source material sounds very dark and grim (and I hope examines the nature of guilt and gun control policy), I really want to give it a try:
When Sebastian was just four years old, he picked up a gun his father left unattended, and shot and killed his infant sister. With no recollection of the tragic event, the ramifications and guilt still have a profound effect on his daily life. Neither Sebastian nor his parents have been able to fully put their lives back together, and their divorce is yet another after effect from that day, long ago.
Now fourteen, Sebastian has no hope for the future, and begins to secretly plan his suicide. That is, until he meets his new neighbor, Aneesa. As their friendship grows, so does Sebastian’s reasons for living. With new plans, new hopes, and the ability to let go of the past, Sebastian realizes that maybe he can be happy for once in his life.
Pirate princess, battles at sea? YES.
A pirate princess and a cursed assassin find their fates intertwined in this gorgeous and thrilling adventure.
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an ally pirate clan. She wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to a handsome and clueless man. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns that her fiancé’s clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when this assassin, Naji, finally finds her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse—with a life-altering result. Now, Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work to complete three impossible tasks that will cure the curse…
Finally, this book looks gorgeous–love that art–but also magical New York! Yes, please.
There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.
And that’s it from us!