The Weight of Air

Kimberly Duffy (Bethany House)

Duffy delivers her signature blend of colorful settings and fascinating occupations in The Weight of Air. Following the stories of Isabella and Mabel, a mother and daughter separated by difficult circumstances and painful choices, the book propels readers into the world of early-20th-century traveling circuses. There are familiar tropes, like a slow-burn romance and a marriage of convenience. But The Weight of Air shines in tackling challenging themes: depression, abandonment, heart-shattering loss, and aging when one’s identity is entangled with ability and youth. In Isabella, we are given not a glittery, easy-to-love heroine but a complex woman fighting for redemption from past mistakes.

The Rise of the Vicious Princess

C. J. Redwine (Balzer + Bray)

Redwine is known for her rich, dark reimaginings of classic fairy tales, but in The Rise of the Vicious Princess she creates a world all her own. Princess Charis Willowthorn is trained to be ruthless, single-minded, and dutiful toward the kingdom she’s due to inherit. No wilting damsel, she is sharp and skilled, prepared to do anything necessary to protect her kingdom and end the war threatening her people. But Charis’s resolve—and her heart—may be tested beyond what even she can bear. This book is perfect for young-adult fantasy readers searching for stories of substance.


Natalie Lloyd (Scholastic Press)

Enchanting and utterly charming, Hummingbird is at once an age-appropriate contemporary middle-grade story about the desire for belonging and a surprisingly deep exploration of faith and hope in the context of being “othered.” Lloyd accomplishes both these feats with a heaping side of Southern charm and a sparkly sprinkle of magic on top. Like the author, 12-year-old Olive has osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disease that causes bones to break easily. All she wants is to go to public school like the other kids. Her heart-rending and heart-mending journey of self-discovery will delight readers of all ages.

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