I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday Post in a while, but I thought I’d jump in with a list this week, even though I’m not doing the official list. (It’s a step in the right direction, right?)
Anyway, I’ve been reading lots of verse novels lately since I’ve also been writing in verse. And I wanted a running list of verse novels releasing in 2022, but I couldn’t find one. So I created a Goodreads Listopia list of my own. Check out the full list, but I also thought I’d highlight ten books I’m especially excited about.Don't Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan
Published by Bloomsbury YA on July 19, 2022
An affecting and resonant YA novel in verse that explores family, community, the changing ocean tides, and what it means to fall in love with someone who sees the world in a different way.
It's been five years since a hurricane ravaged Eliza Marino's life and home in her quiet town on the Jersey shore. Now a senior in high school, Eliza is passionate about fighting climate change-starting with saving Clam Cove Reserve, an area of marshland that is scheduled to be turned into buildable lots. Protecting the island helps Eliza deal with her lingering trauma from the storm, but she still can't shake the fear that something will come along and wash out her life once again.
When Eliza meets Milo Harris at a party, she tries to hate him. Milo is one of the rich tourists who flock to the island every summer. But after Eliza reluctantly agrees to give Milo surfing lessons, she can't help falling for him. Still, Eliza's not sure if she's ready to risk letting an outsider into the life she's rebuilt. Especially once she discovers that Milo is keeping a devastating secret.
Told in stunning verse, Don't Call Me a Hurricane is a love story for the people and places we come from, and a journey to preserve what we love most about home.
Published by HarperCollins on February 22, 2022
Zetta Elliott, Lyn Miller-Lachmann
A coming-of-age middle grade novel in verse about seventh grader Aafiyah Qamar, a Pakistani American girl who hatches a special plan to help her family but finds that doing what's right isn't always easy.
Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, reading Weird but True facts, and hanging out with her best friend, Zaina. However, Aafiyah has a bad habit that troubles her--she's drawn to pretty things and can't help but occasionally "borrow" them.
But when her father is falsely accused of a crime he hasn't committed and gets taken in by authorities, Aafiyah knows she needs to do something to help. When she brainstorms a way to bring her father back, she turns to her Weird but True facts and devises the perfect plan.
But what if her plan means giving in to her bad habit, the one she's been trying to stop? Aafiyah wants to reunite her family but finds that maybe her plan isn't so perfect after all. . .
Published by Farrar on April 12, 2022
For fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson, this middle-grade novel-in-verse follows two boys in 1980s Brooklyn as they become friends for a season.
Punk rock-loving JJ Pankowski can't seem to fit in at his new school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as one of the only white kids. Pie Velez, a math and history geek by day and graffiti artist by night is eager to follow in his idol, Jean-Michel Basquiat's, footsteps. The boys stumble into an unlikely friendship, swapping notes on their love of music and art, which sees them through a difficult semester at school and at home. But a run-in with the cops threatens to unravel it all.
Moonwalking is a stunning exploration of class, cross-racial friendships, and two boys' search for belonging in a city as tumultuous and beautiful as their hearts.
Published by HarperTeen on June 21, 2022
Elaine Dimopoulos, Melati Wijsen
From the acclaimed author of Three Things I Know Are True comes a new novel in verse, a deeply emotional story about an adopted teenager exploring the meaning of family, friendship, and love in all its many forms.
Perfect for fans of Robin Benway, Cynthia Hand, and Jandy Nelson, Rynn’s journey shows how complicated and infuriating, yet healing, family can be.
When Rynn was born, her birth mother named her Scheherazade. It’s one of the only things Rynn has from her. Now sixteen, Rynn and her adoptive parents live on a small garlic farm in central Maine. Rynn’s father is kind and gentle but oblivious to Rynn’s mother’s temper and coldness toward their daughter.
Rynn has longed to know her birth family for years. She can’t legally open her adoption records until she turns eighteen, but that won’t stop her from searching on her own. She finds out that though her birth mother has died, she has a younger sister—who’s in foster care two towns away. But if Rynn reconnects with her biological sister, it may drive her adoptive family apart for good.
Published by Clarion Books on March 8, 2022
Irene Latham, Charles Waters
Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. Written in accessible verse, this timely story of environmental activism has extensive back matter for aspiring activists. With a foreword by Melati Wijsen, cofounder of Bye, Bye Plastic Bags.
Mimi has a plan for her seventh grade year: play piano in the Young Artists competition at Carnegie Hall with her best friend, Lee; enjoy a good old Massachusetts snow day or two; and work in her community garden plot with her dad. But all that changes when her family’s Greek restaurant falls on hard times.
The Laskarises’ relocation to Wilford Island, Florida, is a big key change for Mimi. Where does she fit in in this shell-covered paradise without Lee? Mimi is taken by the beauty of the island and alarmed by the plastic pollution she sees on the beaches. Then her science teacher, Ms. Miller, shows her class a TED Talk by Melati and Isabel Wijsen. At ages twelve and ten, they lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on their home island of Bali—and won. Their story strikes a chord for Mimi. She’s twelve. Could a kid like her make such a big change in a place that she’s not yet sure feels like home? Can she manage to keep up with piano, her schoolwork, and activism? And does confident and flawless Carmen Alvarez-Hill really want to help her with the movement?
In this story of environmental activism, friendship, and self-discovery, Mimi figures out what’s truly important to her, and takes her place in the ranks of real-life youth activists like the Wijsen sisters, Greta Thunberg, and Isra Hirsi. A foreword by Melati Wijsen, author’s note, and detailed back matter about the effects of plastic pollution and how to get involved are tools for young readers who are moved to turn the tide in their own communities.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on January 4, 2022
Chronicling the story of the last Africans brought illegally to America in 1860, African Town is a powerful and stunning novel-in-verse.
In 1860, long after the United States outlawed the importation of enslaved laborers, 110 men, women and children from Benin and Nigeria were captured and brought to Mobile, Alabama aboard a ship called Clotilda. Their journey includes the savage Middle Passage and being hidden in the swamplands along the Alabama River before being secretly parceled out to various plantations, where they made desperate attempts to maintain both their culture and also fit into the place of captivity to which they'd been delivered. At the end of the Civil War, the survivors created a community for themselves they called African Town, which still exists to this day. Told in 14 distinct voices, including that of the ship that brought them to the American shores and the founder of African Town, this powerfully affecting historical novel-in-verse recreates a pivotal moment in US and world history, the impacts of which we still feel today.
Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen on May 24, 2022
From the Stonewall Award-winning author of The Black Flamingo comes a romantic coming-of-age novel in verse about the beautiful--and sometimes painful--fallout of pursuing the love we deserve. The ideal next read for fans of Kacen Callender, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Becky Albertalli.
Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic--likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father's job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can't believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.
But when Mack's father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It's awful to be so far away from Karim, and it's made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.
Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless--and his confidence could just be infectious.
Award-winning author Dean Atta crafts a beautifully nuanced and revelatory story in verse about the exquisite highs and lows of first love and self-discovery.
Published by Dial Books on October 25, 2022
Caroline Brooks DuBois
A farm working girl with big dreams meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for migrant workers' rights in this tender-hearted middle grade novel in verse, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Lula Viramontes dreams of one day becoming someone whom no one can ignore: a daring ringleader in a Mexican traveling carpa, despite her father's traditional views of what girls should be. When her family arrives for the grape harvest in Delano, California, Lula meets activist Dolores Huerta and el Teatro Campesino (the official theater company of the United Farm Workers). She discovers an even more pressing reason to raise her voice: the upcoming farm workers' strike, an event that will determine her family's future--for better or worse.
Published by Holiday House on November 8, 2022
Susan Hood, Greg Dawson
A devastating tornado tears apart more than just houses in this striking novel in verse about a girl rebuilding herself.
Before the storm, thirteen-year-old Quinn was happy flying under the radar. She was average. Unremarkable. Always looking for an escape from her house, where her bickering parents fawned over her genius big brother.
Inside our broken home / we didn't know how broken / the world outside was.
But after the storm, Quinn can't seem to go back to average. Her friends weren't affected by the tornado in the same way. To them, the storm left behind a playground of abandoned houses and distracted adults. As Quinn struggles to find stability in the tornado's aftermath, she must choose: between homes, friendships, and versions of herself.
Nothing that was mine / yesterday is mine today.
Told in rich, spectacular verse, Caroline Brooks DuBois crafts a powerful story of redemption as Quinn makes her way from Before to After. There's nothing average about the world Quinn wakes up to after the storm; maybe there's nothing average about her, either. This emotional coming-of-age journey for middle grade readers proves that it's never too late to be the person you want to be.
Published by HarperCollins on March 22, 2022
The moving true story of how young Ukrainian Jewish piano prodigies Zhanna (alias "Anna") and her sister Frina outplayed their pursuers while hiding in plain sight during the Holocaust. A middle grade nonfiction novel-in-verse by award-winning author Susan Hood with Greg Dawson (Zhanna's son).
She wouldn't be Zhanna.
She'd use an alias.
A for Anna.
A for alive.
When the Germans invade Ukraine, Zhanna, a young Jewish girl, must leave behind her friends, her freedom, and her promising musical future at the world's top conservatory. With no time to say goodbye, Zhanna, her sister Frina, and their entire family are removed from their home by the Nazis and forced on a long, cold, death march. When a guard turns a blind eye, Zhanna flees with nothing more than her musical talent, her beloved sheet music, and her father's final plea: "I don't care what you do. Just live."
This incredible true story in-verse about sisterhood, survival, and music is perfect for fans of Lifeboat 12, Inside Out and Back Again, and Alan Gratz.
Includes extensive back matter with original letters and photographs, additional information, and materials for further reading.
Do you have any particular genre or type of books that you look forward to each year? How do you track new ones coming out? I want to know!