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Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Dark forces are at work inside the Bellona royal court. When the crown princess assassinates her mother to take the throne by force, even seventeenth-in-line-for-the-throne Lady Everleigh is in danger.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain, the gladiators are highly trained warriors. Uncertain of her future Evie begins training with the troupe. But as the bloodthirsty queen exerts her power, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a gladiator . . . and kill the queen.


Win a Library Prize Pack!


We’re giving away a cozy, library-themed prize pack of goodies from the Book Riot store, including a hoodie, library card socks, and a librarian cart t-shirt.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image below!


Today In Books

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joins VERONICA MARS Writers’ Room: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Swoon Reads — publishing the latest and greatest in YA fiction recommended by readers like you.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joins Veronica Mars Writers’ Room

Basketball legend turned author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be writing for our favorite smart-mouthed sleuth in the upcoming Veronica Mars Hulu limited series. My excitement continues to grow. And while we wait, there are two great continuation books for the series that start after the movie ended: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line and Mr. Kiss and Tell.

House Of Cards Season 6 Teaser Trailer Is Here

And Claire Underwood did not come to play! The final season of the series, based on Michael Dobbs’s British novel, will premiere November 2nd on Netflix.

Stranger Things 1st Novel Will Be Eleven’s Mother’s Origin Story

YA author Gwenda Bond is writing the first official Stranger Things novel: Suspicious Minds. It’s a prequel to the show following Eleven’s mother when she was the MKUltra program’s test subject. And you can read the first chapter now and see the cover!


TBR Glitch Fixed

Hello, TBR subscribers!

Some of you have reported an issue accessing your recommendations in order to leave feedback for your Bibliologist in anticipation of your next round of recs. We are pleased to report that the bug has been squashed! This was simply a display error; none of your information has been lost or compromised.

Log into your TBR account to view your recommendations and leave feedback.

Any further issues? Hit us up at



Today In Books

First Look at Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Fierce Reads.

It’s A Neighborly Day In This Beauty Wood

Take a first look at Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in Marielle Heller’s forthcoming (untitled, for now) biographical drama inspired by the life of Fred Rogers. The film will focus on the real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, played by Matthew Rhys. Side part on point.

Europe’s Oldest Intact Book Found Preserved In Coffin of A Saint

If you’re planning a trip to London next month, you might decide to stop by the British Library for its exhibition, “Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War,” opening October 19th. Why, you ask? Because Europe’s oldest intact book, St. Cuthbert Gospel, will be on display. The book, dated to between 700 and 730, was found intact, preserved in the coffin of St. Cuthbert. Read more about it here.

What If It’s Us Will Be Adapted

Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli’s What If It’s Us isn’t out until October 9, but it has already been scooped up for an adaptation. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey will adapt the buzzy, queer YA collaboration between the author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Albertalli) and the author of They Both Die at the End (Silvera). I hear the squees of a thousand fans.

What's Up in YA

🔖 7 Tips For Reading With Mental Health Challenges

Hey YA readers: Time to get personal!

Sponsored by Me and Me by Alice Kuipers from KCP Loft.

Lark’s on a dream date with Alec. Blue skies, clear water, a canoe on the lake. Everything is perfect … until they hear screams. Annabelle, a little girl Lark used to babysit, is struggling in the reeds. When Lark and Alec dive to help her, Alec hits his head on a rock. Now Annabelle and Alec are both in trouble, and Lark can only save one of them. Suddenly, Lark’s world is torn in two, leaving her to cope with the consequences of two choices. She lives two lives, two selves. But which is the right life?

My YA anthology, (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start The Conversation About Mental Health releases tomorrow, October 2, from Algonquin Young Readers. I’ve written extensively about YA books that take on mental illness, and you can read some of the posts linked at the bottom of the newsletter, along with some other great resources.

Today, I wanted to offer up some of the things I do when I struggle with my depression and anxiety when it comes to reading and talking about books. It’s my hope this not only feels useful for anyone who struggles with mental illness, but also that it’s useful both for those who have rough mental health stretches (even without an illness) and those who work with teens who themselves may be dealing with them. The more tools in the pocket, the better equipped we all are.

Part of why reading can become so daunting when one’s mental health is challenging is that it requires use of executive functioning, which can shut down. Executive functioning is in charge of mental processes and skills, and it can become utterly exhausting or frustrating even thinking about picking up a book from one’s shelf. YA author Molly Backes goes into the further, in this excellent talk about the impossible task on Twitter.

As always with mental health, your mileage may vary. These are things that have worked for me.

  1. Read something entire out of the norm.

    Changing up formats can be a big game-changer when it comes to reading. The same can be said about changing up genres or age categories. Since I lean toward YA reading, sometimes while dealing with severe anxiety or depression, all I want to do is read a bunch of magazines or peruse graphic novels for the art. I let myself do this. I’ve found that reading romance has been a big winner for me lately on this front; the fact I know going in that the book will end in a Happily Ever After is predictable and satisfying.

  2. Revisit an old favorite book.

    One of the biggest challenges I face with reading when I’m not feeling my best is that I don’t want to be surprised by something that could trigger strong emotional response. Picking up a book I’ve read and loved before solves this: I know going in what’ll happen and I can more passively enjoy the ride. It might sound odd, but my rereading tends toward horror/creepy. I find them to be comforting, since those worlds are so different from the one I’m in.

  3. Schedule reading time like a date (and/or make it a date).

    Dealing with mental health sometimes means wandering through a day without a plan. It’s not that I don’t want to accomplish things or that I don’t need to meet deadlines. I do. But, depression wants me to stay in bed or worry about it later or not at all because it doesn’t really matter and no one really cares (and anxiety then throws in the fun of “you need to get the thing due in a month done today or else you’re a failure”). This can mean that things like reading — which is both pleasure for me, as well as related to the work I do — can fall to the wayside. By scheduling time to read in my day and following through, I’m able to ensure I get some words in my mind that aren’t my own. I’ve made this a routine when I’m functioning well and managing my illnesses, and I’m able to continue those routines when I’m not doing so hot. I make listening to audiobooks a part of my getting ready in the morning routine, and I’ve found that, even when I’m struggling to get anything done, the silence while brushing my hair and teeth encourages me to hit play on my audiobook and get those words in.

  4. Clean the shelves and/or library holds and checkouts.

    Nothing feels better than a clean slate, especially when everything else is hard. I might have been excited about all of those library books I checked out, but there’s also something satisfying in returning them all, clearing my fines, and having a fresh start. Another tool I use is cleaning my personal collection: sometimes it means donating books I know I’ll never read and other times, it’s a matter of reorganizing the shelves that have gotten out of hand. Each of these tasks has a satisfying visual outcome. There’s a completion and a freshness and newness.

  5. Listen.

    Audiobooks are a lifesaver when I’m having bad mental health spells. I mentioned above the power of routine, but even more than that, audiobooks can be consumed while I am doing literally nothing. I can lay in bed and listen. I can listen while going for a walk. I can listen while working (or attempting to work). When I’m unable to concentrate on a story, though, I also find myself turning to podcasts. Book podcasts abound, and sometimes listening to other people talk books is everything I need and didn’t realize.

  6. Focus on helping other people find a good book by writing about recent favorites or talking with others about books that remind you of them.

    Whether or not you’re a librarian, a teacher, or a blogger who regularly writes book lists, this trick can be valuable. There are a couple of benefits: first, it’s satisfying to make something like a book list and be able to share it and second, it’s an opportunity to reach out to people in a way that’s not threatening and allows you to pass along your passion to them when everything feels impossible. If focusing on other people doesn’t sound appealing, there is value in writing personal book lists, too. Top five books from childhood or ten books with great book covers or seven books you read but absolutely loathed can make for valuable (and low-stakes) self-reflection. You may not do anything with these lists, and that’s okay. It might even be part of the point.

  7. Allow myself to simply not read.

    Sometimes, it’s okay to just be. There is no shame in not reading, especially when it ends up impinging upon your mental wellness.


Some further reading on mental health/illness in the world of YA:


Thanks for hanging out. If you’re up for it, consider picking up a copy of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy. And in any case, we’ll be back in your inbox on Thursday with a roundup of recent YA book news and more!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram.


Win a Copy of UNSTOPPABLE MOSES by Tyler James Smith!


We have 10 copies of Unstoppable Moses by Tyler James Smith to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Perfect for John Green fans, 17-year-old Moses has one week in the aftermath of a disastrous prank to prove to the authorities, and to himself, that he’s not a worthless jerk who belongs in jail.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

True Story

Fall Nonfiction Previews

This week, I got to hear two nonfiction authors speak in person, something that feels rather unprecedented because nonfiction authors don’t seem to come to the Twin Cities that often, and because I do not usually leave my house on weeknights. #introvertlife

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman cover imageSponsored by The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman, published by Ecco

Very few readers of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner. Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

On Tuesday, I had the chance to hear Peggy Orenstein, author of a recent collection of essays, Don’t Call Me Princess, and several books on motherhood, feminism, girls, and sexuality. Her previous book, Girls and Sex, is an amazing read for parents of all kids and, she shared last night, that she’s working on a follow up about boys and sex… probably called “Boys and Sex,” if her publisher has anything to say about it.

On Wednesday, I got to hear from Eli Saslow, a Washington Post journalist who just published a book about the reformation of a young white nationalist, Rising Out of Hatred. I’m nervous about the subject, and still not entirely convinced that white nationalist thought needs any more publicity (even in a book about a man realizing that the ideology is evil). But Saslow is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, his talk on the book was really smart, and he’s the author of a favorite backlist title, Ten Letters, so I’m willing to give it a shot. More on this one in a future newsletter.

Books and Lists!

The New York Times wrote about three books on the sexism women face in Hollywood, specifically women in television Just the Funny Parts by Nell Scovell, Stealing the Show by Joy Press, and Bossypants by Tina Fey. I’ve only read Bossypants, but the other two are high on my reading list.

LibHub did a series of fall nonfiction preview lists covering pop culture, memoir, politics and social science, history and biography, and science and technology. These lists include the books that staff and editors at LitHub are most excited about. There are a lot of heavy hitters on these lists, and I feel like they’re a good mix of books that have been buzzy and some that are more under the radar. Check them out!

New Books!

Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope – I’m very into the current trend of business true crime books, so Billion Dollar Whale is right up my alley. This book, by two Wall Street Journal reporters, is the story of a Wharton graduate named Jho Low who managed to swindle more than $7 billion dollars “under the nose of the global financial industry.” His fraud eventually led to the downfall of the prime minister of Malaysia, and has left Low a global fugitive.

Additional Reading: This long excerpt/adaptation in the Wall Street Journal is a good overview of the story.

These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore These Truths is a truly ambitious project, a one-volume history of the United States that explores the three fundamental ideas at the center of American democracy: political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. It’s a political history, rather than a complete history, focusing on areas like law, religion, journalism, and technology. This book is a huge swing, but I’m intrigued by it. I read the first few chapters while traveling and was interested, but I’m kind of a wimp and can’t quite commit to the full 960 pages just yet.

Additional Reading: Jill Lepore was interviewed about the book in Newsweek, where she gives a nice overview of her inspiration and approach for the book.

How to Be an American by Silvia Hidalgo – This book might be the other end of the political reading spectrum from These Truths. As Silvia Hidalgo was studying for her U.S. Citizenship Test, she started her own set of illustrated notes covering facts and historical essentials. These notes are collected and refined in this book. In the introduction, Hidalgo mentions it’s use for people studying for their citizenship test, but it’s really a lovely primer for anyone.

And that’s all for this week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot with questions and comments!

Riot Rundown TestRiotRundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Mulholland Books.

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. Trying to get to the bottom of the story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

What's Up in YA

📖 All The YA Book Talk You Need

Hey YA fans: Let’s catch up with book talk!

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Vesuvian Books.

Beau Devereaux is the only child of a powerful family. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch. He is also a psychopath. A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s twin sister, Leslie. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize. As the victim toll mounts, it becomes clear someone must stop Beau Devereaux. And that someone will pay with their life.

Grab your favorite beverage and settle in for some great reading about reading. You’ll want your TBR handy, too, since chances are, you’ll be adding to it.

Blast From The Past

It’s weird to be writing a newsletter a week in advance of being out of the office for a week, so it felt appropriate to round up some older YA posts from Book Riot (…right?). Here’s what we’ve been talking about in Septembers past.


Cheap Reads

These prices are current as of Wednesday, September 26. 🤞🏻

American Street by Ibi Zoboi, a wonderful read about immigrants, is $2.

Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark is $2.

Grab Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere for $2.

If you’d like to pick up a Benjamin Alire Saenz title, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is $3.

Anna Godbersen’s deliciously juicy The Luxe is $1.

Want a f/f romance read? Sara Farizan’s Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel is $2.

Sports fans, pick up Carl Deuker’s Gutless for $3.

Have you read The Book Thief? If you haven’t and want to, grab it for $3.

Want a historical mystery to fall into? You’ll want to try William Ritter’s Jackaby, which you can snag for $2.

Tiffany Schmidt’s A Date With Darcy — an adorable, nerdtastic read — is $3.


Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you again Monday!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Twitter and Instagram