The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell First Second / Macmillan Publication Date: March 16, 2021 ISBN: 9781250217950
Middle school student Ruth Keller is an aspiring news reporter who questions authority at every turn. When she discovers a strange black substance on the banks of her favorite lake, she throws herself into an investigation. As the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Ruth thinks she has all the answers, but this story is going to put everything she thinks she knows about journalism to the test. When the spotlight finally shines on Ruth, she is forced to consider tough decisions that may impact her reputation as a reporter and even her closest relationships.
The Leak is a compelling title for younger readers with strong middle school appeal. The narrative is excellent at both showing and telling the reader how to evaluate information without sacrificing the story. While Ruth’s investigation is at the heart of the book, she is also navigating changing relationships with family, friends, and a possible romantic interest. She is dismissed and lectured to by some adults, and readers will relate to her frustrations when it seems like no one is listening to or respecting her.
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 Apothecary Diaries, v.1. By Natsu Hyuuga. Art by Nekokurage. 2020. Square Enix Manga, $10.99 (9781646090709).
Maomao is a palace servant who was sold into service to the Emperor. After saving one of the Emperor’s heirs, she is promoted to food taster, where she is able to use her skills as an apothecary.
Artie and the Wolf Moon. By Olivia Stephens. Lerner Publishing Group / Graphic Universe, $16.99 (9781728420202).
Artie discovers that her mother is a werewolf and that she has abilities of her own. While attempting to discover what happened to her missing father, she comes across other supernatural enemies.
Asadora, v.3.By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature, $14.99 (9781974720118).
When she was young, Asa survived a devastating typhoon, but on the same day saw a mysterious footprint in the town where she lived with her family. Now older, Asa becomes involved in a mission to stop the creature who made the footprint.
The Hazards of Love, v.1: Bright World by Stan Stanley Oni Press Publication: March 30, 2021 ISBN: 9781620108574
The Hazards of Love is a fantastical cautionary tale of why you should never make a deal with a magical cat. Amparo is a known delinquent and is facing suspension for pulling the fire alarm at their school. To make matters worse, they have a crush on lolanthe, a straitlaced and rule-abiding student. Enter a magical cat with a solution to their problem. Instead of fulfilling the promise of making Amparo a “good person,” the scheming cat takes over their body and then imprisons Amparo’s soul in a strange place called Bright World. Bright World is full of unusual, brutish, and dangerous human-animal crossbreeds that feed off human memories, slowly turning them into mindless zombies before finally eating their bodies. Amparo must use their quick wits to escape and return home but soon finds themselves in thrall to a black deer named El Ciervo.