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Book Haul — 2024

Buried in the Slushpile

Last week I attended TLA.

It was a wonderful time to see fellow authors, visit with librarians, and to basically network my heart out.

But one of the other great joys of trade shows like TLA and ALA is the opportunity to catch up on what the industry is currently doing.

Enter the book haul.

This year, I tried to be quite discerning, so I only came home with around 40 ARCs. (Advanced Reader Copies – the pre-publication versions of books publishers put out before the actual book goes on sale.) I brought home everything from picture book to adult, but I focused primarily on Middle Grade and YA from a wide range of publishers.

And of all those books, here are the 8 I’m most excited to read:

Starting off strong with the middle grades:

  • Farrah Noorzad and the Ring of Fate (Random House): a fantasy inspired by Persian mythology and Islamic folklore. The Random House rep made it sound amazing!
  • Tidemagic, The Many Faces of Ista Flit (Random House):  a fantasy mystery. The Random House rep, also made it sound amazing.
  • The Magic Paintbrush (Random House): a fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore. The Random House rep made this one sound amazing too. (What can I say? The Random rep was really good at pitching middle grade fantasies!!)
  • The Spindle of Fate (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan): fantasy based on Chinese folklore – but very different from the The Magic Paintbrush above.

And then moving onto YA/Adult books:

  • Beastly Beauty (Scholastic): a re-telling of primarily the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, but also with elements of the Cupid/Psyche myth. I’ve already read this one, and I also think it’s an excellent book on discussing emotions, how they can dominate your life, and also how to start dealing with them in a healthy manner.
  • The Monstrous Kind (Delacorte/Random House): a gothic fantasy with horror elements. Thriller and horror were trending heavily in the YA spaces this year. This was one with more fantasy elements to it than a contemporary thriller or horror novel. I’ve already read this one too, and it’s an interesting take that’s a bit Game of Thrones meets Walking Dead set in a Regency Romance world.
  • Immortal Dark (Hachette): vampire fantasy. They’re pitching this as Cruel Prince meets Ninth House, but the jacket copy gives more of a Vampire Academy/Bloodlines vibe to me. I haven’t read it yet, though this is what I’m starting tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. I don’t love reading about vampires at night…
  • The Bright Sword (Viking): adult King Arthur retelling. I know I should be focusing on kids books right now, but I am always a sucker for a good Arthurian tale. I am intimidated by how long it is though.

And while my top 8 reads are all fantasies, there were plenty of other genres of books this year too. Like I mentioned, thriller and horror were huge in YA, but there were also still plenty of romances, especially ones featuring queer characters. Middle grade had a nice range of books with plenty of fantasy and mysteries for me, but also good contemporary things, especially ones around familial relationships. Chapter books seemed very school-centric this year. Picture books were also a nice mix this year with no one type of picture book seeming to dominate the space.

Of course, when it comes to our own writing, publishing trends aren’t really relevant. As always, write the story you want – even need – to tell. Worrying about the market will only stifle your creativity. Still, it can be a fun to see what publishers are doing. It never hurts to know where their tastes have been trending.

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