September/October Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

The American Booksellers Association has released a preview of titles included on their September/October Indie Next List. The list is based on recommendations from independent bookstores around the U.S. Here are the books that made this season’s list:


Cover for The Beatryce Prophecy

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Sophie Blackall


Cover for Bear Is a Bear

Bear Is a Bear by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Dan Santat

Cover for Bright Star

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

Cover for Einstein

Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time by Torben Kuhlmann

Cover for It Fell from the Sky

It Fell from the Sky by the Fan Brothers

Cover for It's Ok, Slow Lizard

It’s OK, Slow Lizard by Yeorim Yoon, illustrated by Jian Kim, translated by Chi-Young Kim

Cover for Little Witch Hazel

Little Witch Hazel by Phoebe Wahl

Cover for My Two Border Towns

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza

Cover for Negative Cat

Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall

Cover for Norman Didn't Do It!

Norman Didn’t Do It!: (Yes, He Did) by Ryan Higgins

Cover for The People Remember

The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Loveis Wise


Cover for Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

Cover for Beasts and Beauty

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani, illustrated by Julia Iredale

Cover for Dead Wednesday

Dead Wednesday by Jerry Spinelli

Cover for Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger 2)

Egg Marks the Spot by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Cover for Garlic and the Vampire

Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

Cover for Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick

Cover for Paradise on Fire

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Cover for Pony

Pony by R.J. Palacio

Cover for A Soft Place to Land

A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks

Cover for Treasure in the Lake

Treasure in the Lake by Jason Pamment


Cover for All These Bodies

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Cover for Beasts of Prey

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Cover for Call Me Athena

Call Me Athena by Colby Cedar Smith

Cover for Defy the Night

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

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 Like Other Girls

Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin

Cover for Once Upon a Broken Heart

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Cover for When We Make It

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

Cover for White Smoke

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Cover for Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora by Saraciea J. Fennell

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity

Cover image for The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor.

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity, illustrated by Christopher Baldwin (9781534460874)

Haley loves Gothic romances and has turned in four English papers on Wuthering Heights. So when she sees someone drowning in the river, she knows just what to do. After rescuing the drowning man, Haley awakens to find herself in Willowweep, a manor filled with characters who are Gothic novel tropes. There is the housekeeper who looms and lurks, the three brooding brothers, and even a ghost who haunts the manor. But there is more happening in Willowweep. The external features of the manor hide the fact that this is a pocket universe, created to keep two larger universes from colliding: a universe full of evil and Earth. Willowweep’s defenses are beginning to crack and crumble, allowing the evil to enter the Gothic world. It is up to Haley to figure out how to use her deep knowledge of Gothic novels to stop the evil invasion.

This uproariously funny graphic novel plays beautifully upon Gothic tropes. Haley serves as the voice of the reader, exclaiming as each new trope becomes apparent. The twist of being in a decaying pocket universe works really well with the Gothic overlay. The clockwork style of the universe’s inner workings are a delight as is the solution worked out in the ending. Add in that all beings must stay in the Gothic style, and the evil monk who arrives is perfection. It’s all a very funny yet great adventure with a well-read smart heroine at its center.

The illustrations are a delight as well, leaning into the Gothic elements like the looming housekeeper, the ghost only Haley can see, and the three brothers. The green glowing eyes of those taken in by the evil add to the marvelous joy of the book.

A delight of a graphic novel that mixes Gothic and science fiction into something new and wonderful. Appropriate for ages 12-16.

Reviewed from copy provided by McElderry Books.