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The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

September 2022 Adult List

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  1. Before We Were Trans
    by Dr. Kit Heyam Ph.D
    Seal Press
    Sep 13, 2022
    HISTORY / World
    Hardback

    Description

    A groundbreaking global history of gender nonconformity 

    Today’s narratives about trans people tend to feature individuals with stable gender identities that fit neatly into the categories of male or female. Those stories, while important, fail to account for the complex realities of many trans people’s lives.

    Before We Were Trans illuminates the stories of people across the globe, from antiquity to the present, whose experiences of gender have defied binary categories. Blending historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism, trans historian and activist Kit Heyam offers a new, radically inclusive trans history, chronicling expressions of trans experience that are often overlooked, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performance. Before We Were Trans transports us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to early America, and looks to the past to uncover new horizons for possible trans futures. 
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  2. The Marriage Portrait
    by Maggie O'Farrell
    Knopf Canada
    Sep 06, 2022
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardback

    Description

    From the author of the breakout bestseller Hamnet—winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Women’s Prize—an electrifying new novel set in Renaissance Italy, and centering on the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de Medici.

    Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.

    Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?

    As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.

    Full of the drama and verve with which she illuminated the Shakespearean canvas of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life, and offers an unforgettable portrait of a resilient young woman’s battle for her very survival.
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  3. Something in the Heir
    by Suzanne Enoch
    St. Martin's Griffin
    Sep 20, 2022
    FICTION / Romance / Historical / Regency
    Paperback / softback

    Description

    One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Romances of the Fall!

    New York Times bestseller, Suzanne Enoch takes a delightful new path in her joyful historical romantic comedy, Something in the Heir.

    Smart, capable heiress Emmeline Pershing will do anything to keep her beloved home; and all it takes is an arranged marriage and a teeny white lie to fulfill her family’s silly inheritance rules. But now her little fib means that she and her completely unsuspecting husband are going to inherit big — and very messy! —trouble.


    Emmeline and William Pershing have enjoyed a perfectly convenient marriage for eight years. Their relationship is a seamless blend of their talents and goals. They’ve settled into separate, well-ordered lives beneath the same roof, and are content to stay that way—or so Emmeline thinks. And if William has secretly longed for a bit more from the woman he adores, he’s managed to be content with her supreme skills as a hostess and planner, which has helped him advance his career.

    Then when Emmeline’s grandfather, the reclusive Duke of Welshire, summons them both for his birthday celebration and demands they bring their two little angelic children, William is stunned to discover that his very proper wife invented not one, but two heirs to fulfill the agreement for living at Winnover. But surely if Emmeline and William team up and borrow two cherubs to call their own, what could go wrong? Enter George, age 8, and Rose, 5—the two most unruly orphans in Britain.

    As the insanity unfolds, their careful, professional arrangement takes some surprisingly intimate turns as well. Perhaps it takes a bit of madness to create the perfect happily ever after.

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  4. Nadiya's Everyday Baking
    by Nadiya Hussain
    Clarkson Potter
    Sep 27, 2022
    COOKING / Methods / Baking
    Hardback

    Description

    The beloved Netflix host and New York Times bestselling author of Nadiya Bakes and Time to Eat presents more than ninety sweet and savory recipes for every meal, occasion, or mood.

    Nadiya Hussain, winner of The Great British Baking Show, knows that what we bake depends on the day of the week and what mood we’re in. In Nadiya’s Everyday Baking, Nadiya shares nearly 100 simple and achievable recipes for breakfast, dinner, dessert, and everything in between.

    Organized by situation and occasion, Nadiya’s recipes are designed to always provide for a delicious, rewarding meal no matter what kind of day you’re having:

    • Everyday Kind of Days when you’re short on time: Harissa Pita Pockets, Sweet Potato Jalapeño Gratin, Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps
    Chill Out Days when you want to move and cook slowly: Spring Onion Pancakes, Tandoori Chicken Naan Sando, Spicy Smashed Chickpeas
    Rainbow Days when you need some color in your diet: Spinach and Paneer-Stuffed Shells, Crunchy Okra Fries, Fruity Baked Ricotta Dip
    • Happy Days when you want to cook something uplifting and celebratory: Paprika Egg Phyllo Tart, Mushroom Carnitas, Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Pie
    • Baking Days with simple desserts for beginner bakers as well as elevated bakes for experienced ones: Cake in a Jar, Hot Chocolate Custard Pudding, Indian Gulab Jamun Cheesecake

    This stunning collection of recipes, alongside delightful photography and Nadiya’s warm, inspirational voice, is sure to become a new favorite for home cooks and bakers alike.
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  5. We Spread
    by Iain Reid 'Canada'
    Simon & Schuster
    Sep 27, 2022
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Hardback

    Description

    The author of the “evocative, spine-tingling, and razor-sharp” (Bustle) I’m Thinking of Ending Things that inspired the Netflix original movie and the “short, shocking psychological three-hander” (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of philosophical suspense.

    Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many “incidents.”

    Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny—with a growing sense of unrest and distrust—starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling?

    At once compassionate and uncanny, told in spare, hypnotic prose, Iain Reid’s genre-defying third novel explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
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  6. Ghosts from the Library: Lost Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (A Bodies from the Library special)
    by Tony Medawar
    Collins Crime Club
    Sep 29, 2022
    FICTION / Anthologies
    Hardback

    Description

    A brand new anthology of previously unpublished and uncollected supernatural mysteries by some of the masters of the Golden Age – thrills, spills and chills perfect for Halloween.

    It is said that books are written to bring sunshine into our dull, grey lives – to show us places we want to escape to, lives we want to live, people we want to love. But there are also stories that can only be found in the deepest, darkest corners of the library. Stories about the unexplained, of lost souls, of things that go bump before the silence. Before the screaming.

    And some stories just disappear. Stories printed in old newspapers, broadcast live on the wireless, sometimes not even published at all – these are the stories you cannot find on even the dustiest of library shelves.

    Ghosts from the Library resurrects forgotten tales of the supernatural by some of the most acclaimed mystery authors of all time. From Arthur Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr to Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier, this spine-chilling anthology brings together thirteen uncollected tales of terror, plus some additional surprises.

    Close the windows. Draw the curtains. Just don’t let the lights go out…

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  7. A Haunted History of Invisible Women
    by Leanna Renee Hieber
    Citadel
    Sep 27, 2022
    HISTORY / Women
    Paperback / softback

    Description

    From the notorious Lizzie Borden to the innumerable, haunted rooms of Sarah Winchester's mysterious mansion, this offbeat, insightful, first-ever book of its kind explores the history behind America’s female ghosts, the stereotypes, myths, and paranormal tales that swirl around them, what their stories reveal about us—and why they haunt us…

    Sorrowful widows, vengeful jezebels, innocent maidens, wronged lovers, former slaves, even the occasional axe-murderess—America’s female ghosts differ widely in background, class, and circumstance. Yet one thing unites them: their ability to instill fascination and fear, long after their deaths. Here are the full stories behind some of the best-known among them, as well as the lesser-known—though no less powerful.

    Tales whispered in darkness often divulge more about the teller than the subject. America’s most famous female ghosts, from from ‘Mrs. Spencer’ who haunted Joan Rivers’ New York apartment to Bridget Bishop, the first person executed during the Salem witchcraft trials, mirror each era’s fears and prejudices. Yet through urban legends and campfire stories, even ghosts like the nameless hard-working women lost in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire —achieve a measure of power and agency in death, in ways unavailable to them as living women.

    Riveting for skeptics and believers alike, with humor, curiosity, and expertise, A Haunted History of Invisible Women offers a unique lens on the significant role these ghostly legends play both within the spook-seeking corners of our minds and in the consciousness of a nation.

    "A Haunted History of Invisible Women looks beyond the legends of maligned female ghosts and gives us their real histories. It is both a meditation on the misogyny of a ghost-hunting culture that capitalizes on false narratives of sex and death, and a fascinating look at the flesh-and-blood women behind the ghost stories. This book is a long-overdue search for historic truth, yet it recognizes that “When it comes to ghosts, truth is as elusive as the spirits themselves.” Chris Woodyard, Author of The Victorian Book of the Dead.

    Afterword by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Linda D. Addison
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  8. A Minor Chorus
    by Billy-Ray Belcourt 'Canada'
    Hamish Hamilton
    Sep 13, 2022
    FICTION / Indigenous
    Hardback

    Description

    An urgent first novel about breaching the prisons we live inside from one of Canada’s most daring literary talents.

    An unnamed narrator abandons his unfinished thesis and returns to northern Alberta in search of what eludes him: the shape of the novel he yearns to write, an autobiography of his rural hometown, the answers to existential questions about family, love, and happiness.

    What ensues is a series of conversations, connections, and disconnections that reveals the texture of life in a town literature has left unexplored, where the friction between possibility and constraint provides an insistent background score.

    Whether he’s meeting with an auntie distraught over the imprisonment of her grandson, engaging in rez gossip with his cousin at a pow wow, or lingering in bed with a married man after a hotel room hookup, the narrator makes space for those in his orbit to divulge their private joys and miseries, testing the theory that storytelling can make us feel less lonely.

    Populated by characters as alive and vast as the boreal forest, and culminating in a breathtaking crescendo, A Minor Chorus is a novel about how deeply entangled the sayable and unsayable can become—and about how ordinary life, when pressed, can produce hauntingly beautiful music.
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  9. The Golden Enclaves
    by Naomi Novik
    Del Rey
    Sep 27, 2022
    FICTION / Fantasy / Epic
    Hardback

    Description

    Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.

    The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about: the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.

    And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out—and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me and Orion and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: We saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves everywhere.

    Ha, only joking! Actually, it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously gotten out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.
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  10. People Person
    by Candice Carty-Williams
    Gallery/Scout Press
    Sep 13, 2022
    FICTION / Friendship
    Hardback

    Description

    The author of the “brazenly hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is first novel” (Oprah Daily) Queenie returns with another witty and insightful novel about the power of family—even when they seem like strangers.

    If you could choose your family...you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.

    Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about.

    She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.

    From an author with “a flair for storytelling that appears effortlessly authentic” (Time), People Person is a vibrant and charming celebration of discovering family as an adult.
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July & August 2022 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. The Stone Child
    by David A. Robertson 'Canada'
    Puffin Canada
    Aug 02, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic
    Lexile measure 770L
    Hardcover

    Description

    It's a race against time to save Eli, in this third book in the award-winning, Narnia-inspired Indigenous middle-grade fantasy series.

    After discovering a near-lifeless Eli at the base of the Great Tree, Morgan knows she doesn't have much time to save him. And it will mean asking for help — from friends old and new. Racing against the clock, and with Arik and Emily at her side, Morgan sets off to follow the trail away from the Great Tree to find Eli's soul before it's too late. As they journey deep into the northern woods, a place they've been warned never to enter, they face new challenges and life-threatening attacks from strange and horrifying creatures. But a surprise ally comes to their aid, and Morgan finds the strength to focus on what's most important: saving her brother's life.
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  2. Thirst
    by Varsha Bajaj
    Nancy Paulsen Books
    Jul 19, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Asia
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient W
    Hardcover

    Description

    A New York Times Bestseller

    The riveting story of a heroic girl who fights for her belief that water should be for everyone.


    Minni lives in the poorest part of Mumbai, where access to water is limited to a few hours a day and the communal taps have long lines. Lately, though, even that access is threatened by severe water shortages and thieves who are stealing this precious commodity—an act that Minni accidentally witnesses one night. Meanwhile, in the high-rise building where she just started to work, she discovers that water streams out of every faucet and there’s even a rooftop swimming pool. What Minni also discovers there is one of the water mafia bosses. Now she must decide whether to expose him and risk her job and maybe her life. How did something as simple as access to water get so complicated?
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  3. Iguana Be a Dragon
    by Maddie Frost
    Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Jul 12, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Reptiles & Amphibians
    Hardcover

    Description

    A humorous and heartfelt picture book about an iguana who thinks he needs to be someone else to stand out – but realizes that what's most special are the qualities that already make him unique.

    When Iguana is invited to new neighbor Cheetah's pool party, he's worried that it will be filled with all kinds of interesting animals. And he's not interesting at all! But what if he became something amazing, like . . . a fire-breathing dragon?? Iguana has a big plan -- could it work, or will it all go up in flames?

    Maddie Frost introduces a silly and relatable character who learns that his own unique qualities are actually pretty neat, and the coolest friends will celebrate him for who he is.

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  4. Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos
    by Jonathan Stutzman
    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
    Jul 12, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
    Hardcover

    Description

    In Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos, the latest installment of Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox's hilarious Llama series, our favorite doomsday-prone hero has yet another shot at saving the world (and more delicious desserts)…from himself.

    Llama just ate a doughnut—the most scrumptious, most sprinkled doughnut in existence—and he needs to eat it again.

    The problem? He can’t . . . He has already eaten it!

    The solution? A pair of time-travel pants, of course!

    But when Llama goes way farther back than he intended, the dessert he winds up taking has an owner who’s more than willing to travel through time to retrieve it.


    "
    Both the colorful illustrations and the deadpan wit make this an adventure kids will want to relieve again and again." —Entertainment Weekly

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  5. Sharon, Lois and Bram's One Elephant Went Out to Play
    by Sharon Hampson 'Canada'
    Tundra Books
    Aug 09, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient G, Lexile measure AD490L
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the creators of Skinnamarink comes another picture book based on the classic counting song made famous by this beloved trio of children's entertainers.

    One elephant went out to play upon a spider's web one day.
    She had such enormous fun, that she called for her baby elephant to come.

    Sharon, Lois and Bram invite readers to join them in a musical story about a magical spider web. Jungle animals and kids in costume join in the fun on the web, including a glamorous giraffe, a cranky crocodile, a silly, smiley snake and five monkeys. After the 10th animal is invited onto the web, EVERYONE is invited to the party — but is the web strong enough?

    Through Qin Leng's wonderfully whimsical illustrations, this delightful picture book tells the story of a diverse group of children coming together in play and song.
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  6. The Witchery
    by S. Isabelle
    Scholastic Press
    Jul 26, 2022
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / Wizards & Witches
    Lexile measure HL680L
    Hardcover

    Description

    The Witchery is a dark, delicious delight. S. Isabelle is a debut to watch.” --Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation

    The Haunting Season is here and the Wolves are awake.

    Haelsford, Florida, is a hellmouth. Or at least, that’s what Logan, a new witch struggling to control her powers, thinks when she arrives at Mesmortes Coven Academy. She is immediately taken under the wing of the infamous Red Three: Iris, a deathwitch, who wants nothing more than to break the town’s curse; Thalia, the talented greenwitch, on the run from her religious family and a past that still haunts her; and Jailah, one of the most extraordinary witches at the academy whose thirst for power may lead her down a dark path.

    With the Haunting Season approaching, Wolves will soon rise from the swamp to kill, and the humans and witches must work together to survive the yearly onslaught. However, the history between humans and witches is long and bloodied, with the current truce hard-won and hanging in the balance. And this year, the stakes couldn’t be higher as two boys from Hammersmitt School prepare to make their first sacrifices to the witches in exchange for protection. But when students start turning up dead, Iris, Thalia, Jailah, and Logan realize they’ll have to harness their powers and stop the Wolves themselves. Yet old dangers lie in wait, and the cost to break the curse may be greater than any witch or human could ever know...

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  7. Berry Song
    by Michaela Goade
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Jul 19, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables / Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
    Hardcover

    Description

    An Indie Bestseller!

    Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade's first self-authored picture book is a gorgeous celebration of the land she knows well and the powerful wisdom of elders.


    On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

    Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

    Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

    Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade's luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

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  8. The Witchling's Wish
    by Lu Fraser
    Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Jul 05, 2022
    JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Halloween
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the illustrator of The Girl and The Dinosaur comes a heartwarming, magical picture book about what it means to be a friend.

    Little Witchling lives alone on her mountain top, and more than anything else, she wishes for a friend. When her spell book tells her that the secret ingredient to conjuring a friend is the fur from a little girl's favorite teddy bear, she knows what she must do.

    But the bear belongs to Lily, who can't bear to part with him. Will the Little Witchling give up her dream of a real friend? Or maybe there's a way for her and Lily to make the wish come true together . . .

    With heartwarming rhyming text from Lu Fraser, and beautiful illustrations from Sarah Massini, this magical friendship story is perfect for little witches everywhere!

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  9. Action!
    by Meghan McCarthy
    Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
    Aug 23, 2022
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Performing Arts / Film
    Hardcover

    Description

    Award-winning nonfiction picture book creator Meghan McCarthy tells the story of how motion pictures came to be invented and the story of the many people who helped create them.

    Movies take us on adventures, introduce us to new worlds, and make us feel, but how did they start?

    In her trademark easy-to-follow narrative voice, this fact-filled picture book tells the story of the evolution of movies and the people who worked hard to create them—both on-screen and behind the scenes. In fascinating detail, she shows how early photography capturing motion became silent films, which led to the first color films and how those building blocks allowed for the inspiring movies of today.
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  10. Blackwater
    by Jeannette Arroyo
    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
    Jul 19, 2022
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / LGBTQ+
    Hardcover

    Description

    Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery.

    "For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf." —School Library Journal

    Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for his dad’s attention and approval. Eli Hirsch is a quiet boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that has ravaged his health and social life. What happens when these two become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more . . .) in the spooky town of Blackwater, Maine? Werewolf curses, unsavory interactions with the quarterback of the football team, a ghostly fisherman haunting the harbor, and tons of high school drama.

    Co-illustrated by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham, who alternate drawing chapters in their own unique and dynamic styles, Blackwater combines the spookiness of Anya's Ghost with the irreverent humor of Nimona.

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