I love a good series like anybody else, but sometimes all I want is a really solid, satisfying standalone. The past few years have brought many such debuts into my life, meaning that I’ve gotten to experience some absolutely amazing sophomore novels. These sophomore standalones are not at all related to their previous debut, but can rival the best of them.

Take a look at what I consider some of the best second novels! I guarantee that there are no sophomore slumps in this article!

These Authors’ Second Novels Are Just as Good as Their Firsts

1. Night Shine by Tessa Gratton

n the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing, who can’t be seen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls. Nothing will soon discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.


2. Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

Catherine Daly has the power to wake the dead, but this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life. When she’s given the task of collecting a timepiece from a grave, what she finds instead is the body of a teenage boy, who slowly comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.


3. Bruised by Tanya Boteju

Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story, about a teen girl navigates first love, identity, and grief when she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.


4. Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

From the author of SLAY, comes a story of two brothers. One can see into the future and one can see into the past. When Alex sees the imminent death of his younger brother, he finds himself now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.


5. All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

All This Time is just a swoonworthy and heartbreaking as Five Feet Apart, which makes sense since it was written by the same authors. When Kyle finds himself in the hospital after a car accident, which leaves his girlfriend dead, he doesn’t know how to go on. But when he meet Marley, who’s dealing with her own grief, he begins to heal.


6. Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson

Perfect for fans of Courtney Summers, this seductive and intense thriller unfolds in interwoven timelines of two summers as three friends are torn apart by buried secrets and star-crossed attraction…then pulled back together by tragedy.


7. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and she’s sent to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Rumi is struggling to navigate the loss of her sister, her mother’s abandonment, and the absence of music in her life. Then boy-next-door surfer Kai and grief-filled eighty-year-old George Watanabe help her find her way back to music. Aching, powerful, and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible.


8. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa. Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm, so when bright-eyed Iris comes to stay, Milla is eager to cure her loneliness and make a friend. However, Iris has a secret she is forbidden to share: her village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random and the townspeople live in terror of who is next. Now, the demon is coming for Iris. Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.


9. Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

If you loved Lilliam Rivera’s debut, The Education of Margot Sanchez, then you really don’t want to miss this! Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest bodega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers. To make it there, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in search of a mysterious gang with the help up a reluctant guide. Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?


10. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Suspended from school for standing up to an Islamophobic teacher, Zayneb is headed to Doha to stay with family, resigned to be “nicer” and let the injustices of the world slide off her shoulders from now on. Adam is headed to Doha too, struggling with his recent MS diagnosis, and resigned to keep his illness from his friends and family. Alone, both are playing roles for others. Together, they’ll learn to live their truths… The second novel from acclaimed author S.K. Ali is perfectly marvelous.


11. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Margaret Rogerson serves up an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom. Elisabeth lives to protect the grimoires, locked away in the Great Libraries of the world, hiding their dangerous spells and enamoring personalities (yes, you read that right!) from the sorcerers who wish to use them for evil purposes. When someone begins destroying the most powerful of grimoires, attacking the Great Libraries, Elisabeth must team up with a sorcerer and his demonic servant to try to save the world. Extra feels for the swoony romantic tension.


12. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding with her brother, Ian, whom seems to be bent on making her miserable as she tries to escape heartbreak. When Addie discovers the unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, she finds herself trapped in a small car with Ian and his cute, Irish-accented best friend, Rowan, on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle. A heartwarming road trip through Ireland filled with love, adventure, and the true meaning behind the word family is the perfect summer read.


13. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him between his graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn and his mountains of credit card debt. On the other hand, pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. Her brand is unstoppable. When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.


14. She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door. But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer. Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good.


15. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid at school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the they belong together whispers from their classmates, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face. When Ali’s mom finds out about their relationship, she forces Ali to end it, leaving Ali to dig into why her mother disapproves of her relationship by uncovering secrets about her family and Chase.


16. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Be careful of the dark, dark wood… Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even. Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth as her family has always shared a special connection with the woods. It’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing. But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and Shea Ernshaw shows us why.


17. Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley

Adrienne Tooley’s second novel is just as magical and wonderful as her first!

Sofi’s father is a Musik, one of only five musicians in the country licensed to compose and perform original songs, and she has spent her entire life training to inherit her father’s title. But on the day of the auditions, she is presented with unexpected competition in the form of Lara, a girl who has never before played the lute. Yet somehow, to Sofi’s horror, Lara puts on a performance that thoroughly enchants the judges. Almost like magic. The same day Lara wins the title of Musik, Sofi’s father dies, and a grieving Sofi sets out to prove Lara is using illegal magic in her performances. As Sofi works to reclaim her rightful place as a Musik, she is forced to face the dark secrets of her past and the magic she was trained to avoid—all while trying not to fall for the girl who stole her future.


Looking for more books to read? Check out this list of books about introverts for introverts!

Most games are made to be played by more than one person so this post was brought to you by Jasmine Hodge AND Lili Feinberg.

Bookish peeps are often the most imaginative bunch out there, which means that we can keep up with the best of ‘em in imaginative board games. Fear not, for if you find more comfort navigating around your bookshelf than your game closet, we’re about to drop some helpful tips on you about where to start your board game explorations. Please note, Riveted by Simon Teen (and Lili and Jasmine, especially!) are not responsible for any falling out that may occur over any of the following board games. We also acknowledge that maybe we’re just a little competitive.

Let’s Play! Games to Pair with Your Favorite Books

Scrabble: Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

All’s fair in love and Scrabble! This heart-pounding thriller is set in the world of competitive Scrabble, where a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

Ticket to Ride: Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Okay, so this may be a road trip instead of a train trip, but bear with us! Travel is still amazing!

Hop on board this train with your ticket to ride as you explore Ireland with Addie in Love & Luck. Addie escapes to Ireland to attend her Aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding while trying to run away from her past, but her brother, Ian, won’t let her get away that easily. She embarks on a journey of a lifetime, exploring the Emerald Isle with her annoying brother and his cute friend Rowan with the trusty guidebook Ireland for the Heartbroken leading the way.


Pandemic: This Cruel Design by Emily Suvuda 

Pandemic is a literal interpretation of the science fiction events in This Cruel Design, where the Hydra epidemic refuses to be conquered and keeps coming back to wreak havoc on the world as we know it. It is up to Cat to team up with the enemy to find a vaccine that can save the world when the odds are stacked against her. Let’s hope it’s not like Pandemic where it’s near impossible to win…


Clue: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher 

This classic whodunit board game was made for true crime readers in the making and lovers of murderous mayhem, which means it pairs perfectly with Chelsea Pitcher’s This Lie Will Kill You. Five teens were somehow involved in a deathly party one year ago, and none have told the truth until now. When they’re trapped in a mansion, lured there by someone bent on revenge under the guise of a college scholarship, the truth will be told and allow only one of them to be set free. AND bonus, this book was inspired by Clue!


7 Wonders: The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell 

7 Wonders is all about traveling back in time and visiting some of the 7 Wonders of the World as we develop civilizations around them, and Lisa Maxwell’s The Devil’s Thief has some pretty kick-butt time travel to save the Maegus population who can wield magic–a dying art. Time travel and magic at lightning fast paces? Count us in for this board game and bookish combo!


Guess Who?: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett 

This hilarious and classic guessing game pairs perfectly with our new favorite sleuthing team in Serious Moonlight: Birdie Lindberg and Daniel Aoki. After an awkward first encounter, Daniel and Birdie soon realize that they are now co-workers on the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel. Lovers of mysteries themselves, the two quickly embark on a hunt for clues as they begin to unravel the identity of a world-famous reclusive author who may be meeting someone at the hotel. Can they guess who he is before he stops visiting? Only time will tell… and you can too when this amazing story hits shelves in April!


Codenames: The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone 

Codenames is a word association game that allows teams to see who can be more clever while also being be cautious. You have the get all the clues on the table before you opponent, but choose incorrectly and you might eliminate yourself before you have the chance to win. In The Perfect Candidate, Cameron Carter gets caught up in a political conspiracy while interning in Washington D.C. And Cameron must put the clues together, not only to solve the mystery of his fellow intern’s death, but to also save his own life.


Betrayal at House on the Hill: Light As a Feather by Zoe Aarsen 

Light As a Feather has more witches than ghosts, but there are still creepy crawlies that come out in the night that want to mess up your evening plants. Betrayal at House on the Hill is a game where it’s all the players versus the game – seems easy right? Not so much. Cards make the games harder and harder, and as you explore more rooms in the haunted house, you are more likely to get spooked (or killed). Filled with twists and turns (and a bunch of different characters and story lines), this game and this book go perfectly together.


Battleship: Sanctuary by Caryn Lix 

Even though Battleship doesn’t have any aliens in it (thought how cool would that be?) it does have strategy and a little bit of chance and, if you have the newer versions, cool sound effects of things exploding. Sanctuary is filled with action and strategy and teenagers trying to survive on a spaceship while avoiding some less than friendly creatures (ahem, aliens) that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


Candy Land: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian


Everyone knows Candy Land! Stay Sweet is the perfect pair to this game, with its colorful, sweet story all while you are still competing to make it to the Candy Castle first. Amelia and her best friend go through some rough moments and some sweet moments in the book about World War II, ice cream, and growing up. AND Candy Land actually came out only five years after Meade Creamery was established!

I don’t know about you, but I was raised to believe that we have to be very careful with food around our books. What if it spills?! What if it stains?! What if we somehow drop the book in a plate of spaghetti?! So, when I read, it’s a cup of tea, placed just barely within reach, and a nice window or warm blanket nearby dependent upon the season. Of course, my need to avoid the noms gets entirely derailed when certain books make me hungry. It’s possible that my “no food while reading” rule may occasionally be broken for some of the below titles!

9 Books That Will Make You Hungry

1. A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

It’s in the name. It’s on the cover. This books is about Pho! But that’s not the only Vietnamese food that Loan Le talks about in this book.  This adorable romance about two teen whose families own rival Pho restaurants will warm your heart and have you immediately ordering from your nearest Vietnamese restaurant.


2. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents, on the other hand. When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 am at the bodega, they bond over a shared love of snacks and, absurd as it is, they may become A Thing because of it. Full of modern classics, snack throwbacks, and an appreciation for the best bagels and tacos you can find, this book had my stomach growling from the very beginning.


3. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett


After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life. Mystery book aficionado Birdie cannot pass this opportunity up, and Daniel can never pass up a good adventure. In their pursuit to find the truth behind his identity, they often find themselves frequenting the Moonlight Diner and appreciating its myriad of delicious and unique pies. I demand a recipe book this instant!


4. Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

If looking at that cover alone doesn’t make your mouth water, let me tell you about this delicious story collection: a series of interconnected short stories from many beloved authors explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens. From the family pasteleria to magical soup dumplings and life-changing butter, this book will make you feel so, so many feels and give you a new appreciate for food. Food can take on so many meanings beyond nourishment… it can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.


5. Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been managed exclusively by local girls, and it’s Amelia’s turn to be Head Girl. However, when Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives to help, change comes along with him. A book that takes place in a beloved ice cream parlor? Sign me up! The Meade Creamery would be all over summery Instagram posts.


6. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Lina is spending a summer in Italy which quickly turns into a road trip across Tuscany to get to know her absentee father as it is her mother’s dying wish. Following in her mother footsteps from when she lived in Italy, she uncovers a world of romance, art, and charming hidden bakeries. You see, people go to Italy for love and gelato, but sometimes they discover so much more about themselves. And, of the utmost importance, one of those things is that gelato and ice cream are two separate things that are both absolutely fabulous and must never be mislabeled.


7. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Lara Jean Song’s life is about to get super complicated after all of the letters she has hidden away in a hatbox to the boys she has loved before suddenly get mailed out. While the Song sisters are known to make your stomach grumble with their relatable penchant for loving sugar, you also get introduced to their Korean heritage in this amazing romantic comedy. Plus, the Netflix film made sure that we would never looked at a bowl of popcorn the same way again.


8. American Panda by Gloria Chao

A laugh-out-loud debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate. At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but she is well on her parents’ master plan of attending college at MIT early, becoming a doctor, marrying a fellow Taiwanese-American, and producing a litter of babies. The only problem is she doesn’t want to be a doctor, she likes a Japanese classmate, and babies are nowhere in her near future. While Mei learns to discover who she really is, one thing will remain the same: her love of dumplings that will very quickly become your love of dumplings, too.


9. The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all. As the girls travel from city to city across the world, they eat so many great dishes from many cultures.

Looking for more? Check out these books that will make you laugh!

I was watching Good Omens recently, and I must admit that I am total trash for any good vs. evil tropes that, ya know, cross boundaries and show that good and evil aren’t as black and white as we are initially led to believe. I think the best example of this beloved trope is angels vs. demons—good vs. evil, light vs. dark. You get the drill. Are all angels really good? Are all demons really bad? Is there a little bit of the other in each? Read the below books to judge for yourself!

Books to Read if You Love The Angels vs. Demons Trope


1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he even a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors born with angel blood, dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It certainly won’t be her last.


2. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She wishes to protect their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic show-stealing servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy.





3. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. Patch has made countless mistakes and has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora. After getting paired together in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from Patch, but he always seems to be two steps ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And when her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns that she’s found forbidden love with her fallen angel. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may be only one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?


4. Slayer by Kiersten White

Into every generation a Slayer is born… Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic. Until the day Nina’s life changes forever. Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.


5. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is. Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life. When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane. Their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them. Can promise that Audra is a little more up-front with her heroics than Aziraphale in Good Omens.


6. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe. Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next. Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris.


7. Angel Thieves by Kathi Appelt

An ocelot. A slave. An angel thief. Kathi Appelt weaves together stories across time, connected by the bayou, an angel, and the universal desire to be free. Cade Curtis is an angel thief. After his mother’s family rejected him for being born out of wedlock, he and his dad moved to the apartment above a local antique shop. The only payment the owner Mrs. Walker requests: marble angels, stolen from graveyardsBut there’s one angel that would be the last they’d ever need to steal; an angel, carved by a slave, with one hand open and one hand closed. If only Cade could find it… Zorra, a young ocelot, watches the bayou rush past her yearningly.  Before Zorra, Achsah, a slave, watched the very same bayou with her two young daughters. After the death of her master, Achsah is free, but she’ll be damned if her daughters aren’t freed with her. All they need to do is find the church with an angel with one hand open and one hand closed…


8. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke. Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand before the cult can cause any more damage.


So, who would you pick? Angels or demons?



Shantay you stay, and read some books while you’re here! The queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race give us never-ending drama, shade, and gags. We’ve matched some of our favorite reads with the best contestants Mama Ru’s runway has to offer. Whether they are serving looks, spilling tea, or having a kiki, these characters and stories are sure to slay. Here are 7 reads that are just as fierce, iconic, and sickening as your favorite queens:

7 Books to Read if You Like RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul – Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good and important debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag. Mama Ru is known for her catchphrase, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love anybody else?” Can we get an amen up in here!?

Sharon Needles – The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Sharon Needles is the spookiest queen around, which made it easy for us to pair her on a journey with Theodora in LADY ROGUE. Theodora wants to follow in her legendary treasure-hunting father’s footsteps, but soon she realizes that she has to save him when he goes missing while hunting for a ring rumored to have once been owned by Vlad the Impaler, more widely known as Dracula. Now Theodora must journey through Romania’s captivating Gothic villages and dark castles to find the ring before anyone else. Sharon Needles would fight anyone for this ring, let us tell you!

Bianca Del Rio – To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han


Bianca is arguably the sassiest queen to ever win RuPaul’s Drag Race. We know! That’s a brave statement on our parts! Her clear bookish counterpart is none other than Kitty, the youngest Song sister who throws shade and keeps it real with her sisters at all costs. Both of these queens provide amazingly high levels of entertainment and use their powers of sass for the good of their sisters (and widespread entertainment).

Silky Nutmeg Ganache – Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

Hungry Hearts is a series of interconnected short stories written by some of our favorite authors like Sandhya Menon, Anne-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco. It explores the intersection of family, food, and culture in the lives of thirteen teens. Silky Nutmeg Ganache often celebrates food and the comfort it brings. Not only did she name herself after a delicious treat, but she’s pulling for her own cooking show! We’d follow you to the Food Network, Silky!

Kim Chi – American Panda by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Mei is a college freshman that can’t  bring herself to tell her parents the truth after they sacrificed so much to make her cushy life a reality—(1) she hates germs, so she can’t become a doctor, (2) she falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) she has a crush on her classmate, Darren, who is definitely not Taiwanese. Kim Chi openly spoke about her struggles as a Drag Queen because her parents didn’t know about her life’s passion and she was seeking the confidence to tell them the truth. Both of these queens are hilarious and full of heart!

BenDeLaCreme – The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

BenDeLa is our favorite Miss Congeniality. Not only is she amazingly kind and talented, but she can serve looks like nobody’s business. She has stated that she often finds inspiration for her silhouettes, style, and designs throughout history, which means she is one time-traveling queen! She’d fit right in with Esta, the time-traveling thief from The Last Magician, as they take a trip to 1902 New York. Instead of stealing a magical book though, BenDeLa will be all about those looks!

Blair St. Clair – Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Blair St. Clair is the sweetest queen to ever grace the stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not here for the tea, not here for the shade, she just wants to do her and let her personality shine through with her sweet style. If we had to pick any of these queens to take a trip down to the Meade Creamery with, it would be her! Stay sweet, Blair!

I’ve recently come to the realization that one reading genre lends itself to unparalleled levels of unputdownable-ness, and that is a really amazing mystery. Suspense! Thrills! Plot twists galore! The occasional murder to keep it interesting! You simply must blast through these books at lightning fast speeds because you won’t be able to sleep until you solve these mysteries once and for all.

If you want to take a dive into this layered genre, take a peek below to find a mystery for every kind of reader: psychological thrillers, suspenseful science fiction, murder mysteries, a fluffy amateur sleuth novel, and more!

 YA Mysteries You Won’t Want to Put Down

1. Nancy Drew Files Vol. 1 by Carolyn Keene

Nancy is back! And she’s in high school! Keep up with Nancy Drew in this thrilling collection of mysteries full of intrigue, boys, and murder.


2. Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Moira has always been fascinated by the sirens that live in the sea that surrounds her island home. So when a young boy is found dead on the coast and everyone blames the sirens, Moira is not so sure. Teaming up with her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper, Moira sets out to uncover the truth and find the real killer. Or was it the sirens all along?


3. This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. Tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills expecting to compete for a cash prize, but they soon discover they were lured there by a person bent on revenge. Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free or will their lies destroy them all?


4. I’ll Never Tell by Abigail Haas

Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the very edges of your imagination. It’s spring break for senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and several other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile accusations as they hunt for Elise’s killer.


5. Angel Thieves by Kathi Appelt

Now I know what you’re thinking: How does this book fit in as a mystery? And while you are correct, this isn’t a classic mystery like the rest of the books on this list, there is definitely a puzzle that will be solved by the end of the book.Multiple perspectives spanning across time are united through themes of freedom, hope, and faith in a most unusual and epic novel where every character is connected by one single angel.


6. Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better, obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. When Mena and her friends begin to understand the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.


7. All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick

Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secret. Amanda Kelly is the daughter of small town social climbers, dating real estate heir Carter Shaw. Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend against her Christian fundamentalist parents by carrying on a fake relationship with Carter on the side. Now, Amanda and Rosalie are roped into a bid to take Carter down and unmask their stalker, known as Private, before Private uproots their lives.


8. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life. Birdie, a self-proclaimed mystery-book aficionado, cannot let the puzzle of this author’s real identity go unsolved, even if that means coming out of her shell and working alongside Daniel—an elusive riddle all on his own.


9. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Catarina Agatta is a gene-hacking genius, following in her legendary geneticist father’s footsteps—believed to be the last hope for defeating a plague that is bringing humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, he is kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive for two years on her own. Then a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, but he managed to create and conceal in a message a vaccine that could save humanity. Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, can she even trust herself?


10. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Remy was happy once. She had her boyfriend Jack and her best friend Elise who understood her better than anyone else in the world. But now that happiness is gone. Jack is dead, shot through the chest, and it was Elise who pulled the trigger. As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her. Told in alternating timelines, this twisted psychologically thriller explores the dark side of obsessive friendship. This novel will absolutely blow your mind when it releases in July!

Looking for more binge-worthy books? Check out this list of standalone books you can read in one sitting!

I should preface this by saying I haven’t finished The Umbrella Academy yet, but boy, am I loving it! Heroes with complicated backstories, questionable villains, robotic mothers, time travel, family drama, space, intriguing dystopian plot points, crazy family dynamics, and the end of the world as we know it. If you love any of these things, you should absolutely watch The Umbrella Academy and meet the complicated Hargreeves family, and then read some of the books below!

 6 Books to Read if You Love The Umbrella Academy

1. Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

This is the story of four girls with the power to control the elements having to come together to save the world from a terrible evil. Plus, it has some really complicated villains. Superheroes! Not knowing who is with you and who is against you! Secrets abound! I’m seeing some similarities…


2. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Talented thief, Esta travels back in time to find a mysterious book to save her future in this fantastical story. In The Umbrella Academy, Number Five can jump through space and finds himself stuck in the future when he decides to jump through time for the first time. When he eventually gets back to modern day he must utilize the knowledge he procured while stuck in time to save the world before an apocalypse will dawn mere days later.


3. Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Kenzie is a prison-guard in training, taken hostage by super-powered criminal teens housed on the Sanctuary space station that she must now work together with as the space station is attacked by mysterious creatures. When we first meet Luther Hargreeves, conveniently referred to as Spaceboy and also Number One, he is isolated on the moon for a four year mission in a prison of his own making.


4. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. After all, he can see into people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets were kept from him—most important of which is that he has the power to not only see into the past, but to also change it. Sounds a lot like Number Five’s habit of manipulating timelines if you ask me.


5. Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith

Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith

Cager Messer is stranded on his father’s lunar-cruise utopia with insane robots as Earth burns beneath them in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars. The fate of Cager’s Earth is similar to the fate that the Hargreeves family is desperately working to stop from happening with Number Five at the helm. Plus, his insane robot caretakers seem to remind me a lot of Mom in The Umbrella Academy.


6. Cape by Kate Hannigan

Alright, so maybe the release of this book is still several months away and it’s a Middle Grade book, but hear me out and get hyped! Set during WWII, this follows Josie, a brilliant puzzle solver who soon finds herself as part of the next generation of girl superheroes working to change the world for the better. Kids with newly emerging abilities being trained to be the world’s best superheroes? Let’s hope they turn out better than the Hargreeves family.


Update: I have now finished Umbrella Academy and LOVED it.

If you love superheroes, then you should read these books next!

February sneaks up on us and before we know it, it’s done. That’s the beauty of having such a short month help kick off the calendar and get us through the snowy seasons. However, it’s deceptively easy to feel like you’re falling behind on your Goodreads goals in a month that flies by so fast. So, in an effort to stay ahead, I want to share with you a list of short and satisfying reads (320 pages or below!) for the shortest month of the year!

8 Short and Satisfying Reads for the Shortest Month of the Year

1. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

The second I read the phrase “inspired by the myth of Medusa,” I knew I was hooked and going to love this one. A story of a terrible curse that rules a town full of dark secrets as a girl fights to save her friend in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption. Yay empowering mythological retellings!


2. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

A moving story perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars, two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives because they both have cystic fibrosis. Read this one before you see it on the big screen in March, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson!


3. For Every One by Jason Reynolds

This one is for the poetry lovers and for readers looking for something a little different! Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.


4. The Truth App by Jack Heath

In this pulse-pounding techno-thriller, Jack Heath creates a world where everyone knows when you lie—and telling the truth doesn’t always set you free. This fast-paced book will be impossible to put down until you’ve read the final page.


5. American Panda by Gloria Chao

A laugh-out-loud contemporary debut and journey of self-discovery about a Taiwanese-American teen named Mei who finds herself in her freshman year of college at MIT at the age of 17. Her parents want her to be a doctor and to marry a fellow Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, but that’s a bit hard when she has a squeamishness with germs and a crush on a Japanese classmate.


6. Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Alanna by Tamora Pierce

The award-winning first book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, this pick is an oldie but goodie that cannot be ignored and will leave you flipping through Pierce’s world at lightning fast speed. In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the real of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Naturally, shenanigans ensue as she learns to master weaponry, combat, and magic alongside her temper, pension for behaving impolitely, and even her own heart.


7. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. It’s a simple fact—everything good and magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters serve no purpose but to countdown to the greatest time of the year when she is with her best friend Susannah, and her brother figures, crushes, and everything in-between, Jeremiah and Conrad. Then everything changes in one wonderful and terrible summer.


8. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Melati Ahmad, a music loving teen with OCD, does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

Still looking for books to read this month? Check out what’s available to read for free right now!

There is one solid truth when it comes to bookworms that nobody can deny: we’re all amazing and have amazing taste in books. With that said, everyone’s taste is different. We may find ourselves naturally gravitating towards one genre and avoiding others because they’re out of our comfort zone. Well, sometimes we all have to explore something a little different. Fear not! For I am coming to save the day, riding in on my white horse, waving my wand above my head affectionately named “A Beginner’s Guide to Reading A New Genre.”

The Beginner’s Guide to Reading A New Genre 

Urban Fantasy: Start with City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Urban fantasy is fantasy that takes place in an urban setting. It can be completely made up or grounded in reality, futuristic or even historical, but the point is that our story takes place in a sprawling metropolis that has a sense of grounding it in reality despite its fantastical elements.


High Fantasy: Try Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

High Fantasy – A fantasy novel taking place entirely in an imagined world. These authors are the heroes of world-building!


Paranormal: Like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Paranormal – This is a book whose storyline evolves around the paranormal or supernatural, and often combines elements of the major players in speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, horror, and even some suspense for good measure.


Science Fiction: Try The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid 

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Science Fiction – An entirely fictionalized piece of literature that incorporates imagined futuristic scientific technological advances into its plot. Oftentimes it portrays time travel or space exploration. Naturally, chaos ensues.


Dystopian: Read The Uglies series by Scott

Dystopian – Often found within science fiction novels, dystopian literature focuses on a setting that is the direct opposite of society’s standards, often in a future setting where something has gone horribly wrong. It often serves as a vehicle of societal commentary about something that has taken a turn and is intended to make you think.


Horror: Check out Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Horror – This is used to describe a story that has a central goal of inducing feelings of horror or terror in its readers. This genre often lends itself to being mixed with thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.


Thriller: Start with The Program Series by Suzanne Young

The Program by Suzanne Young

Thriller – A thriller, quite honestly, is a piece of fiction that elicits thrills in the reader. Characterized by the mood it is intended to cause you to feel, it is often fast paced, mysterious, and features a twisting plot line that can lend itself to mixing with nearly any other genre.


Contemporary Fiction: (of course you must) Try To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Contemporary Fiction – A piece of fiction that is grounded in contemporary times. Entirely made up and could potentially happen, but it is not, at its root, completely realistic with societal commentary.


Realistic Fiction: Start with Long way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Realistic Fiction – Very close to contemporary fiction and at times used interchangeably, this is a kind of story that portrays something, well, realistic. It is an event or occurrence that can believably happen to someone or something.


Romance: Try When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Romance – Oftentimes this falls under the contemporary umbrella, though it could be of a historical or paranormal nature as well. This is a tale where romance is the main plot, not a subplot for an overarching story.


Historical Fiction: Read Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Historical Fiction – A book that is rooted in history. Although characters may be fictional and there can be an introduction of fantastical or paranormal elements, the setting is entirely historical.

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