Up, Up, & Away: 17 New Reads for the Young and Young at Heart

This month’s staff picks for the young and young at heart will take you on a journey from a small town in Kentucky, to a fantastical town with an ogress and a dragon slayer, and even to the moon and back! Where else will these wonderful books take you? Read on to find out…

Recommended by Chelsea

Knight Owl Cover ImageKnight Owl

Owl has always wanted to be a knight. When he is assigned to the Knight Night Watch, he encounters more than the bargained for! This richly illustrated story reads like an instant classic with a perfect balance of whimsy and bravery.

Recommended by Madeline

I Am Golden Cover ImageI Am Golden

By Eva ChenSophie Diao (Illustrator)

An encouraging read meant to help readers embrace their culture, living with one part steeped in Chinese heritage and the other in America (美国). You are beautiful. You are loved. You are Golden. Great for those who love Eyes that Kiss in the Corners.

Recommended by Aly

Perfectly Pegasus Cover ImagePerfectly Pegasus

Jessie Sima makes the most magical books. This one stars Nimbus, a lonely pegasus searching for a fallen star, who happens to make some familiar friends along the way.

Recommended by Madeline

Star Fishing Cover ImageStar Fishing

When you can’t sleep and your mind is whirring with adventure and imagination, what do you do? You go star fishing! This gorgeously illustrated story leads you into the stars and gently back to sleep.

Recommended by Ann

Cress Watercress Cover ImageCress Watercress

By Gregory MaguireDavid Litchfield (Illustrator)

A family of rabbits learn some tough lessons about life when the father doesn’t come home one night. They move into a tree full of other animals and put themselves back together. A beautiful, engaging book with gorgeous illustrations.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Air: A Novel Cover ImageAir: A Novel

Emmie is raising money for a new wheelchair she can use in the wheelchair motocross games. When her principal takes over, she and her friends set out to show her community what they can accomplish in this fun story about sports and friendship.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Ogress and the Orphans Cover ImageThe Ogress and the Orphans

A delightful story about a town and its people and what happens when they all look out for each other. This fantastical tale stars the orphans, a kindly ogress, and a famous dragon slayer. It’s the new book by the author of The Girl Who Drank The Moon.

Recommended by Gavin, 5th grade

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1) Cover ImageThe Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1)

I have just finished book eleven, but if you’ve never heard of this series, you’ll start here. Wings of Fire is about a squad of dragonets who are destined for greatness; however, they don’t necessarily want their destiny as it places almost an entire continent of dragons in danger if things go awry.

Recommended by RJ

Lakelore Cover ImageLakelore

In a deeply cathartic story, two neurodivergent, Mexican-American, non-binary teens discover a surreal world under their town’s lake. As they explore their connection to the lake, and to one another, they are forced to confront parts of themselves they’ve fought hard to keep hidden. A beautiful breakdown of the ways people think and feel, and a call to treat your own brain with the kindness it deserves.

Recommended by Chelsea

A Thousand Steps Into Night Cover ImageA Thousand Steps Into Night

Life is quiet and dull for Miuko until she encounters a demon and everything changes. Miuko must go on a journey that will cause her to question everything she knows, including gender norms, society, and the very relationships she holds dear. Chee’s writing brings every character, major or minor, to life and transports readers to a fantastical land.

Recommended by Sarah

We Were Kings Cover ImageWe Were Kings

Frankie Quick is set to be executed for the 20-year-old murder of Cora King. When Nyla Wagner discovers she’s even closer to the case than she ever could have predicted, she sets out to uncover the truth of what really happened to Cora. The twists and turns in this mystery will have you on the edge of your seat! Fans of We Were Liars will love it.

Recommended by Jennifer

Being Mary Bennet Cover ImageBeing Mary Bennet

Jane Austen’s Mary Bennet gets her time to shine in this modern YA rom-com. Local bookworm Marnie is content to blend into the background of her sisters. That is until a project involving the library and shelter dogs inspires her to be the protagonist of her own story.

Recommended by RJ

Right Where I Left You Cover ImageRight Where I Left You

Right Where I Left You is a gloriously nerdy, brilliantly swoony queer romcom you don’t want to miss. Guaranteed to have you smiling by the end, this is a powerful story about family, friendship, and one last life-changing summer before college. Julian Winters is always a joy to read, and this book does not disappoint.

Recommended by Ashby

Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mysteries #2) Cover ImageSense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mysteries #2)

Jane Austen + mystery = a fun read! In the first book, Lizzie solves a murder while falling for Darcy. This is the second in the series. This time, the Dashwood sisters have to solve their father’s murder and avoid the estate being entailed away…

Sprout Book Club: April Selection

I'd Like to Be the Window for a Wise Old Dog Cover ImageI’d Like to Be the Window for a Wise Old Dog

The April 2022 selection for the Sprout Book Club is I’d Like to Be the Window for a Wise Old Dog by Philip Stead. In this beautiful book, a wise old dog contemplates the world through a window from the comfort of home. As an independent bookstore with amazing shop dogs, this seemed like the perfect book to kick off our new picture book club.

Sprout Book Club is the book subscription box for picture book lovers. Every month members will receive a first edition picture book. Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite picture book lover for 3, 6, or 12 months. 

Spark Book Club: April Selection

A Duet For Home Cover ImageA Duet For Home

The April 2022 Spark Book Club selection is A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser.

A Duet for Home is a story about home, music, and family. June arrives at Huey House, a family shelter in New York City, with her family and her viola. Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years. This is the story of their cautious friendship and a journey to take a stand at City Hall when the shelter is threatened. The author of The Vanderbeekers series brings readers a magnificent novel of homeless, healing, and found family.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“This is a hopeful and inspiring story about the lives of children who are rarely represented in middle-grade fiction. The young people engage in activism that is both thought-provoking and profound. A powerful, heartwarming, and thoughtful tale of kids cultivating chosen families during challenging circumstances.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Yan Glaser’s bighearted standalone moves quickly through its complex plot without forsaking strong characterizations of Huey House’s many staff and residents, concluding with a potent message about the power of direct action.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readersEvery 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: April Selection

The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin Cover ImageThe Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin

The April 2022 ParnassusNext selection is The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson.

On the eve of WWII, an orphan finds her way off the streets of Berlin with her voice as she becomes a singer in a cabaret, Café Lila. Soon the lives of her found family and LGBTQ community are at risk as turmoil is unleashed in their city. This is an amazing novel in verse by award-winning author Kip Wilson.

Early praise for the novel:

“Book clubs will find a lot to discuss in Hilde’s story, and educators won’t need to work hard to generate conversations about equality, authoritarianism, and the role of minorities in democracy. The free-form verse is inviting and masterfully captures the mood and times in sparse poetry, making this work equally appealing for pleasure reading.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wilson crafts a beautiful coming-of-age story that captures the joy of young independence against a backdrop of fear and foreboding on the precipice of the Third Reich. The story, as well as the author’s note and extensive resource list, highlights the positive, liberated experience of queer people in Weimar-era Berlin before its abrupt and devastating end…An essential purchase for YA collections; recommend to fans of Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo.” –School Library Journal (starred review)

View our virtual event with Kip Wilson and Nita Tyndall on the Parnassus YouTube channel.

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.