Just Like That: 15 Lovely New Reads for the Young and Young at Heart

It’s always a good time for a great read, and we’re thrilled to be back with more hand-picked selections for our young readers out there! We’ve got cozy read-alongs, funny read-alouds, adventure, intrigue and more. And whether it’s loving your new home, loving your favorite sport or loving yourself, there is a bit of a theme here. It is February, after all. Enjoy!

Recommended by Rae Ann

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners Cover ImageEyes That Kiss in the Corners

By Joanna Ho & Dung Ho (Illustrator)

A girl notices her eyes look different from her friends’ at school, but they do look like those of the ones she loves the most. This is a beautiful picture book about self-confidence and loving yourself.

Recommended by Becca

C Is for Country Cover ImageC Is for Country

By Lil Nas X & Theodore Taylor (Illustrator)

Join Lil Nas X and his pony, Panini, as they explore the alphabet in their signature joyful and creative style.

Recommended by Kay

Trying Cover ImageTrying

By Kobi Yamada & Elise Hurst (Illustrator)

As a frustrated young sculptor tries and tries to emulate a master, his failures unfold in a series of soft black-and-white illustrations. A tribute to perseverance that teaches us all that failure is a natural, beautiful part of learning any new skill.

Recommended by Heather

Oona Cover ImageOona

By Kelly DiPucchio & Raissa Figueroa (Illustrator)

Oona is a mermaid, and her best friend is an otter. Together they explore the challenging and murky ocean depths, so beautifully illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, to search for treasure. Even when things get tough, the pair find that by working together and continuing to try, they can find success. Take a trip to the sea with Oona.

Recommended by Shop Dog Marlee

Champ and Major: First Dogs Cover ImageChamp and Major: First Dogs

By Joy McCullough & Sheyda Abvabi Best (Illustrator)

I love books about dogs with special jobs, and Champ and Major are the best! They live in the White House with their people because their dad is the president. Champ and Major help everyone to remember to have fun and keep family first!.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Just Like That Cover ImageJust Like That

An 8th grade girl is sent to boarding school after a tragedy. A boy whose life has been nothing but tragedy gets a second chance. Their friendship teaches them to move forward and speak up in this layered, charming story.

Recommended by Kay

Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues Cover ImageBaseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

Andrea Williams artfully weaves the wider history of the Negro Leagues around the fascinating central story of Effa Manley, the only woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A must read for any baseball fan, young or old.

Watch our event with Andrea Williams here!

Recommended by Madeline

Alone Cover ImageAlone

A beautiful story written in poetry about a girl finding herself abandoned in her town. She must survive all sorts of dangers while finding the courage to face something far worse: loneliness. Perfect for readers who love Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

Recommended by Gavin, age 10

Lola Benko, Treasure Hunter Cover ImageLola Benko, Treasure Hunter

If you’re looking for an exciting adventure, pick up this book! I promise that you will LOL and won’t want to put the book down.

Recommended by Gavin, age 10

Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems Cover ImageHard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems

By Jack Prelutsky & Ruth Chan (Illustrator)

This is a poetry book that you will want to read out loud with friends! You will laugh!

Recommended by Chelsea

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre Cover ImageThe Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

Melody is so pumped when she lands the stage manager role for the spring musical that she’ll swear off romance at the urging of her castmates to ensure a perfect run. Her plans get a little more complicated when local actress Odile Rose decides to audition, especially when Odile is funny, smart and sweet.This is a delightful rom-com for anyone who loves the theater arts!

Recommended by Becca

Anna and the French Kiss Collector's Edition Cover ImageAnna and the French Kiss Collector’s Edition

This lovely gift edition of this great classic YA romance story, features a beautiful cover, patterned edges and end papers, a satin bookmark, and bonus content. Whether you’re falling in love with Anna and Etienne for the first time, or just re-discovering them in this beautiful new package, this book would make for an absolutely perfect Valentine’s Day gift to yourself.

Recommended by Chelsea

The Project: A Novel Cover ImageThe Project: A Novel

Lo Denham hasn’t seen her sister since Bea joined the Unity Project, a local religious organization that Lo swears is a cult. As Lo slowly wedges herself into the group’s ranks, she faces way more than she expected. A twisty, suspenseful read that explores the bond between siblings and the psychology behind cults, this one kept me holding my breath until the very end.

Spark Book Club: February Selection

Bump Cover ImageBump

MJ loves the luchadores of professional wrestling. A chance meeting with a new neighbor gives her the opportunity to start training in the world she’s admired from afar. A viral video catapults her into the ring’s spotlight and straight into a mystery.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“This touching story of grit and luchadores wrestles with themes of loss and chosen family.” —Kirkus Reviews

“I love kids with big dreams, and MJ is a heroine to root for. Bump introduces readers to the world of professional wrestling while also telling a story about grief, friends that become family, and finding your voice. An entertaining and heartwarming read!” —Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readers. Every month members will receive a first edition middle grade novel — plus a letter written by the author especially for club members. Makes a great gift for the independent reader! Sign ups are available for 3, 6, or 12 months.

ParnassusNext February Selection

The Electric Kingdom Cover ImageThe Electric Kingdom

In a future New England, the Fly Flu has ravaged the earth. People live in small communities for protection until fate intervenes. Three travelers begin a quest, a girl and her dog, a boy who’s lived in an abandoned cinema all his life, and The Deliverer, repeating life after life. Lives converge in an unexpected way on an unforgettable journey in this immersive read.

Join us for a virtual event with David Arnold on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6pm! He’ll be joined in conversation by Jeff Zentner.

Early praise for The Electric Kingdom:

“Well executed and resonant… this is not a simple post-apocalyptic novel but instead a quiet, philosophical exploration of humanity with a touch of science fiction around the edges. Defying strict genre categories, Arnold leaves readers wondering and unbalanced until the final page.” —Kirkus Reviews

“With a haunting, deliberately paced tale of postapocalyptic survival, Arnold creates a devastated world held together by myth and memory.” —Publishers Weekly

ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.