Books Coming Out This Year That I Know Are Awesome (Because I Have Read Them)

One of the perks of being about-to-be published that I didn’t know about, but feel should be more widely publicised, is that sometimes people give you books. Sometimes, people give you books that have not even been published yet and then you make small yipping sounds because you want to tell EVERYONE IN THE WORLD to buy these books, but everyone in the world can’t have them yet! And you struggle endlessly with the conundrum thus presented, viz: would it be so wrong to torment your blog readers with thoughts of books they cannot yet read?

I have decided it would not.

Very minor spoilers for A Love Story: Starring my Dead Best Friend, The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant.

So there is a smart, funny, sad contemporary YA book by Emily Horner called A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend, and I imagine a bunch of you just went, “It’s called WHAT? I’m buying it.” That is because you have taste! But in case you need more convincing, I have prepared the following dialogue between myself and the world.

WORLD: Karen, what do you like?
KAREN: I like amateur theatre! And teenagers. And wit. Also, coming out stories and identity struggles and coping with grief and the feeling of being left out of your group of friends because they have things in common that you don’t. Also, cute love stories!
WORLD: Oh, well, this book has all of that. And a cross-country road trip. On a bike. With a tupperware container of human ashes.
KAREN: Does it?
WORLD: And the heroine’s a Quaker.
KAREN: Sold!

There you go. More about this fabulous book here.

There is another book called The Demon’s Covenant, which is actually a sequel to a book already out, called The Demon’s Lexicon, by Sarah Rees Brennan.

I was suspicious about The Demon’s Lexicon because I had heard it was told from the PoV of a romantically brutal Byronic dude who DID NOT CARE, SO HARD, and I find those guys boring enough when they are merely there to dazzle the heroine. I couldn’t comprehend being more entertained by his side of the story.

I was somewhat misled.

KAREN: So you are a tall dark and handsome broody bad boy. Next you’ll be telling me that you stoically resist having emotional connections!
NICK: I don’t have to stoically resist that.
KAREN: *pfft*
NICK: Because I don’t have them. People are baffling and stupid. I don’t even like Mum.
KAREN: Huh. Well, your mum appears to be a creepy crazy ex-murderer who is continually hunted by magicians trying to kill you all.
NICK: *shrug*
KAREN: … interesting. And this brother of yours? You’re saying that you wouldn’t care if anything happened to him?
NICK: Are you threatening Alan?
KAREN: No! No! Put that sword away!
ALAN: I will calm down this situation while manipulating it to my hidden goals!
JAMIE: I will make brilliant jokes out of nervousness at the strong probability that I will die!
MAE: I will be practical and brave and QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE in the quest to save my little brother!
KAREN: I will put this book in my column on my favourite YA SFF books of the decade.

So that’s The Demon’s Lexicon, which is out now, go read it AT ONCE. You can read the first chapter at Sarah’s site.

Now, The Demon’s Covenant is told from the point of view of MAE, QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE, as she struggles with difficult sort-of boyfriends, the dangers of demons, her perfectly polished and SEKRITLY BADASS mother, and her adorable little brother, who seems determined to find the biggest midden pile and hurl himself into it headfirst in every possible situation. It is so great.

I especially admire so so much what Sarah does with PoV stuff here, because, for example, Nick from Mae’s PoV is very different from Nick from his own PoV. And yet he is still recognisable as the Nick we already know, *and* recognisable as a character undergoing development, which is a very neat trick for a character with Nick’s unique approach to interpersonal relationships.

So that’s why you should read Lexicon and get Covenant in May! And nary a major spoiler. I am awesome.

There is one more book I am going to talk about, by – TEASER – Stephanie Burgis – but this post is already umpty-gazillion words long, and I have to finish this chapter I am writing with hot fairy almost-kissing, which Stephanie herself is jonesing for.

Oh, that is another bonus of publishing! Sometimes those people who give you books before they are out? They read yours too.

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  • Joanna Calvin


    I find your method of reviewing delightful, and I intend to acquire these books. My question is this: do you have a centralized location where you collect the titles, authors, and possibly publishing information for the books you want us to read?
    I am not necessarily implying that you should do so retroactively, but it might be neat if you could (especially if you can make it easy for yourself) get these data accruing in some single place, perhaps called ‘Books Karen Thinks You Should Read’?

    Much love,
    one of your many fans.

  • Karen

    What an excellent idea! From now on all my recommendations can be found by clicking the recommendations tag just under the banner heading. Once there are a sufficiency, I’ll make a page that will link to each entry.