What's Up in YA

Deadly Scrabble, Morally Gray Heroines, and More YA Book and News Talk: March 30, 2023

Hey YA Readers!

Erica here. Kelly is off this week, so you’re rocking with me. Since April is Poetry Month in the U.S., Tirzah Price and I are doing a Hey YA podcast episode on YA novels in verse. And I am racing to finish my selections before it’s time to record. I’ve been listening to audiobooks a lot lately, and decided to employ a combination of audiobooks + ebooks to get through my list, and I have to say that I’m surprised I haven’t listened to audiobooks in verse much yet. I’m struck by the economy of language they exhibit. I mean, that is high key the point of poetry, but I think I’m partially surprised because I don’t hear them being spoken about as much. They’re much shorter than novels, but still tell the same amount of story; I highly recommend them if you haven’t read any lately!

For today’s newsletter, I’ve got a couple paperback releases and some news.

Bookish Goods

Bookish Girl Book Reader Library Portrait

Bookish Girl Book Reader Library Portrait by

I love cute representations of bookish people, and these stickers are no exception. Bonus points for having different skin tone options. $3.50

New Releases

Book cover of Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Tirzah and I actually discussed this one last year in a book club discussion episode of Hey YA. It follows Najwa, a Malaysian teen who returns to Scrabble competitions after her bestie Trina died at one. And the competition she makes her return at is the very same one where her friend died. Trina was the reigning Scrabble Queen before her untimely demise, and Najwa soon sees how other competitors are determined to take the crown. But then Trina’s Instagram starts posting things, like odd messages that point towards her death being intentional. As the truth comes out, Najwa tries her best to compete while still contending with the loss of her friend. I thought all the Scrabble aspects were cute (every chapter begins with a word, its definition, and the words it’d fetch in Scrabble), and I really appreciated how well it showed what it was like to be a Malaysian teen.

Cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, featuring outline of girl in red in front of outlines of figures in gray

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

*Shady main character alert* I love when authors make the main character just a teensy bit questionable, and Vanja has to be one of the most shady protagonists I’ve come across lately. As the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, she owes a debt for their care and decides to pay it off by stealing her mistress, Princess Gisele’s, life. Mess. The actual Gisele is now irrelevant to the rest of the world, and Vanja uses her new cover to steal jewels from the nobles she comes across as a faux princess. More mess. But then she angers a god and is cursed (in a poetic way, obviously) and only has two weeks to get right before her life is forfeit. The messiest of mess.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

YA Book News

Thanks for hanging out!

I’ll be back with some more YA goodness Monday, but in the meantime, you can find me on the Hey YA podcast, the In Reading Color newsletter, and the In the Club newsletter.

Until next time!

— Erica