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But it’s YA that has really started February swinging. Memoir-in-verse and novel-in-verse How the Boogeyman Became a Poet by Tony Keith and Bright Red Fruit by Safia Elhillo are out today. As is the queer fantasy heist The Absinthe Underground by Jamie Pacton, the body-swapping thriller Out of Body by Nia Davenport, and Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan, illustrated by Kelly Chong, a collection of stories from the bestselling Celestial Kingdom duology.
Below, there’s a fantastical tale of Harlem love, a spicy vampire and werewolf rivalry, queer siblings trying to figure it out in New Zealand, and more.
A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams
The artistic Rick Wilde has never fit in with her family of Atlanta socialites. When one of her family’s older customers offers her the chance to rent the bottom of her Harlem brownstone, Ricki sees it as an opportunity for something new. She opens a flower shop as she’s always dreamed and experiences the magic and wonder of Harlem, which includes meeting the mysterious and enchanting Ezra, who has quite the secret. While things between Ricki and Ezra heat up, there’s another timeline of a past Harlem. One that tells of Ezra’s past.
Bride by Ali Hazelwood
Hazelwood, the author of the mega-popular STEMinist romances like The Love Hypothesis, dips her toes into monster romance with Bride. Misery Lark is bargained off by her father again, a powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, to make a historic peace-upholding marriage. But when she agrees to marry Were Alpha Lowe Moreland, it’s because she wants to find out what happened to her human friend. Even so, the wolf actually kind of likes having her around.
Infinity Alchemist by Kacen Callender
Once Ash is rejected by the Lancaster Mage’s College, it becomes illegal for him to practice alchemy, but he gets a job as the school’s groundskeeper and does it anyway. One day, he’s caught practicing by the uptight apprentice Ramsay, but instead of reporting Ash, Ramsay makes a deal with him: if he helps him find the legendary Book of Source, Ramsay will keep his secret. Thing is, finding legendary books is dicey, and the two soon come up against powerful and dangerous alchemists — one of whom is Ash’s estranged father. As the two journey through cities and untamed lands, they grow closer, and their views on power grow more complex.
How to Live Free in a Dangerous World: A Decolonial Memoir by Shayla Lawson
With a poet’s eye, Lawson tells the story of how their experiences in different locales has shaped them. Their journey starts at a Prince concert in their mother’s womb and takes them all over — to a serenading in Venice, a hula hoop competition in Jamaica, a traditional theater in Japan, and more. Each location offers Lawson new insight into their inner workings and how they relate to others.
Also out today is another look at being queerness and place — Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Queer Histories by Diarmuid Hester chronicles the connection between the creativity of artists like James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, and E.M. Forster, and queer spaces.
Dixon, Descending by Karen Outen
When Dixon’s older brother Nate says he wants the two of them to become the first Black American men to reach the top of Mount Everest, he accepts, despite past athletic failures. On the mountain, tragedy strikes, sending Dixon back home to pick up the pieces through recovery. As we move through Outen’s careful, precise prose, we slowly find out just what happened on the mountain that day.
Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly
This award-winning book is getting a hardcover release. It follows siblings Greta and Valdin as they contend with an eccentric, multiracial family, queerness, and just trying to figure it all out. Valdin is doing superficially well after having been dumped by his boyfriend a year ago — his colleagues are only occasionally weird about his Maaori heritage, and he has intermittent sad sex with a friend — when work sends him from New Zealand to Argentina, where his ex is. Meanwhile, Greta has her own bubbling sadness. She’s experiencing unrequited pining, and her family is in a state made even more perplexing by her brother’s sudden, secretive move to South America.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:
- All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!