Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Publication Date: September 28, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593405680
Koffi and her mother live with and work for the Night Zoo, caring for the magical, monstrous creatures within. When her mother’s life is threatened one night, Koffi accidentally unleashes a power she didn’t know she possessed and must run for her life. Meanwhile, Ekon, second son of a famed military hero, is desperate to prove to his brother that he belongs in the ranks of the Sons of the Six after a disastrous interruption to his final rite of passage. Koffi and Ekon meet by chance and each recognizes a potential path forward if they can locate the Shetani – a magical, murderous beast that has been plaguing the area for almost 100 years. Koffi wants to find the Shetani to sell it in exchange for freedom; Ekon wants to find the Shetani to kill it to prove his mettle as a warrior. Neither is honest with the other about their true motivations, but they will have to find a way to work together if either of them is to survive.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
The City Beautiful. By Aden Polydoros. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $19.99 (9781335402509).
Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Alter Rosen, a gay, Jewish, Romanian immigrant teen, becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his murdered friend and must avenge the deaths of his friend and a growing number of other local Jewish boys.
Curses. By Lish McBride. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781984815590).
When Merit refuses to marry a prince, she is cursed to live as a beast. Tevin’s family runs cons on rich girls, but when his mom runs afoul of the beast she trades him for her freedom. This fresh, gender-bent Beauty and the Beast retelling examines what “beastly” really is.
These Feathered Flamesby Alexandra Overy Inkyard Press / Harlequin Publication Date: April 20, 2021 ISBN: 978-1335147967
Everyone knows that using magic comes with a price. Sometimes it’s a small lock of hair as payment for a simple spell, but the greater the magic, the more deadly the cost. No one knows this better than Aysa, the future Firebird. As a part of her training, she learns how to balance the world’s magic by exacting payment from those who try to use it freely. But before she can finish her training, she feels the call of the Firebird. Now she must return to Court to present herself to the new queen, her estranged twin sister Izaveta. Together the two must navigate their new roles as Queen and Firebird to solve the mystery behind their mother’s death and save their country from wayward magic.