13 New August Books for Teens to Wake Your Brain Cells

Here are 13 YA books coming out this month that have gotten starred reviews and praise.

Cover for Bad Witch Burning

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

Cover for Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now by Peyton Thomas

Cover for Call and Response

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Veronica Chambers

Cover for Cheer Up

Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, illustrated by Val Wise

Cover for The Dead and the Dark

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Cover for How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Cover for In the Wild Light

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

Cover for A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Cover for Like Other Girls

Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin

Cover for Me (Moth)

Me (Moth) by Amber McBride

Cover for Rainbow in the Dark

Rainbow in the Dark by Sean McGinty

Cover for Run

Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury and Nate Powell

Cover for Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things

Vampires, Hearts, & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston

Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne

Cover image for Josephine Against the Sea.

Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne (9781338642087)

After her mother’s death, Josephine knows that she wants to keep her Daddy’s attention on her. So she manages to chase off any woman looking to be his new girlfriend, using pranks and fish guts. Her father used to love watching cricket matches with her on the weekends, and she is desperate to get him back to doing that again. When one of her pranks goes wrong though, she is forced to use the money she’d been saving to take him to a real match in person to pay for the damages. Josephine also loves to play cricket herself, but at her school only boys play. After being disappointed about the team, Josephine also finds that her father has a new girlfriend. But Mariss isn’t like the other women and doesn’t scare off easily. As strange things start to happen around Mariss, Josephine realizes that she be very different from everyone else and may not even be human!

Full of Caribbean magic, this novel starts out as a story about the loss of a mother and steadily turns into a fantasy about a sea monster who is both kind and vengeful. The author’s own Bajan heritage is reflected throughout the book in the lilt of the dialogue. She also shares Caribbean folktales about a variety of beings and creatures.

Josephine is a grand protagonist. She is hot headed and determined to get what she wants, something that causes both problems and also creates opportunities. She is also willing to reconsider and learn from others, including members of her community and her best friend. Mariss is a complicated villain and monster, which is great to see in a children’s book. She is a mix of kindness and control, a being who wants humans to belong to her and who will destroy them if they don’t obey.

A book of Black girl magic and monsters. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Scholastic.