Curious what the NetGalley team is reading? Wish you could sneak a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the books we’re recommending this month, and share your favorite recent reads in the comments!
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower was my first Erica Ridley and it definitely won’t be my last. This Regency romance follows Tommy Wynchester, a veritable master of disguise, and Miss Philippa York, the bluestocking she can’t stop thinking about. When Philippa needs help righting a grave wrong, Tommy vows to do whatever it takes to help her and begins a scheme to take down the villain. But when she realizes that being with Philippa may mean hiding her true self, Tommy must choose between being with the woman she loves and the life she wants for herself. There was so much that I loved about this book from Philippa standing up for herself and her skills when it came to taking part in Tommy’s master plan to Tommy’s rakishness and thoughts on gender. Also a fun behind-the-scenes nugget: The couple on the cover are a couple in real life!
Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh, narrated by Justine O. Keef
Fantastic hero alert! Raj Sen has my entire heart. This month I read through Nalini Singh’s Hard Play series and, while I enjoyed them all, Rebel Hard is my favorite. This book follows Nayna Sharma, who feels as though she doesn’t know herself at all after a lifetime of trying to be perfect for her family. When they attempt to set her up with a man she recently hooked up with, she puts her foot down. Raj pulls a full Mr. Darcy—telling Nayna he’s willing to be with her despite her family’s stained reputation. Nayna does Elizabeth Bennet proud in turning Raj down, and Raj (realizing her love of the iconic novel) immediately picks up Pride and Prejudice and begins texting Nayna about it. Once he realizes that Nayna needs time to grow and discover who she is, Raj becomes committed to helping her in any way she needs—even when he fears that it may lead her path away from him. His support of her in the face of every hurdle won my heart completely. From Nayna’s journey of learning to stand up for herself and Raj’s exploration of his feelings as a child who was abandoned by his birth mother, I felt like Singh did such a lovely job here. I really enjoyed Justine O. Keef’s narration of this series and each book’s balance of a romance that builds alongside friendship, connections to family, and plenty of humor and heat.
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
As winter approaches, a small northern Anishinaabe community suddenly loses power and, as a result, their connection to the outside world. While this starts as a fairly normal occurrence for this remote town, panic starts to build after food stores dwindle and rumors of societal collapse start to spread. Apocalyptic stories might be a little hard to read right now, Moon of the Crusted Snow is a very different take on these often depressing, action-packed, rough ’em up types of books. It’s a slow burn, extremely atmospheric, and often very beautiful interpretation of what the world might look like if society slowly crumbled around us. There’s very little room for a shining golden hero in this book, which is what I loved most. Instead, it’s up to a group of flawed young friends and community members to keep their society running against all odds. It’s a story of perseverance and rebirth—while still maintaining the grittiness and thrill that dystopian readers love. I’m so glad that I found this one!
Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, artwork by Jason Griffin
Ain’t Burned All the Bright is a mash-up of journal pages, collages, and the beautiful writing that Jason Reynolds is known for. Reynolds, a beloved YA and children’s author, and artist Jason Griffin have created an unforgettable book for readers. This is a unique reading experience that chronicles the lives of members of a Black family during the pandemic. It’s a hopeful, honest, and complicated depiction of the last few years. The prose flows off the pages and the artwork will stay with you long after you finish the book. This book has a permanent place on my favorites shelf.
Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
Korean-American teen Sunny Song is a social media influencer who films, streams, and photographs basically every portion of her life. She finally takes it a little too far and her parents decide they’ve had enough—she’s getting sent to a digital detox camp for other teens who are too attached to their devices. This YA novel, mostly set at a summer camp, perfectly combines a unique hook, a funny cast of characters, and a heartfelt storyline. It’s a fun read but it still manages to reflect on identity and our complicated relationship with social media.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, narrated by Yetide Badaki
Akata Witch is a compelling story of a young albino girl in Nigeria learning that she has magical powers and finding out that there is a whole separate magical world around her that most of her peers and family will never know. As she struggles with keeping her magic a secret from her family, she must also adapt to the customs and rules of the magical culture. This was one of the best stories I’ve read about a young person learning they have special powers. I highly recommend the audiobook, narrated by Nigerian-born American Yetide Badaki.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Instructions for Dancing is a book all about love and the excitement, wonder, difficulty, and sometimes heartbreak that comes with it. After her father’s affair and her parents’ subsequent divorce, Evie Thomas no longer believes in love. She gives away all of her romance books and in exchange is given a book called “Instructions for Dancing,” which leads her to a dance studio where she meets an inspiring, adventurous boy named X. Evie also begins experiencing visions of how couples’ love stories will play out, from the sweet beginnings to the—always inevitable—sad, bitter, heartbreaking ends. This is the first Nicola Yoon book that I’ve read. Her writing is amazingly emotional (you may shed a few tears). I loved how this book has so many realistic portrayals of love. I think fans of YA contemporary will really enjoy this one!
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Beth O’Leary’s newest release is an engrossing read told from the points of view of three women—Siobhan, Miranda, and Jane—who are all stood up by the same man, on the same day. This is a story of heartbreak, healing, and growth all in one (with an amazing twist that had me doing a complete 180 on my thoughts). This many POVs may sound like a lot to juggle, but the pacing here is just right and O’Leary has crafted an incredibly well-written book!
Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
Who doesn’t want to go back to the Grishaverse?! This duology follows Kaz and his band of misfits (Inej, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias), along with a few new faces and some serious changes to the Small Science that Grisha employ. These fast-paced heist novels do not disappoint! Aside from the normal, fun heist planning and execution (with some unexpected wrenches in each plan), it’s been so great to get to know these characters. Bardugo delves into each character’s past, giving their choices and relationships amazing depth. I couldn’t put these books down!
Cassidy Blake series by V.E. Schwab
I picked up this middle grade book at the recommendation of a friend and breezed through it in just a couple of days… and then immediately read books two and three as well. Cassidy Blake has a special power. Ever since she nearly drowned (and got rescued by a ghost), she can pull back the Veil between the living and the spirits who have yet to depart. When her parents’ work brings her to one of the world’s most haunted places—Edinburgh, Scotland—she suddenly discovers there’s much more to her power than she initially thought. The humor between Cassidy and her best friend (the ghost who saved her) perfectly balances the atmospheric castles, graveyards, and the more malicious ghosts that Cass encounters. Creepy, but not too scary, this is a great read for a middle grader who’s not too put off by things that go bump in the night.