This post is sponsored by Nick Bryan, author of The Little Deaths Of Watson Tower – and a host of other comics, and novels. Thanks, Nick!
Kelly Arnold and her friends are hanging around a tower block, dressed like tiny grim reapers, when everything gets too real. Like it or not, they must face the scampering nuisance of death itself.
The Little Deaths of Watson Tower is a twenty-page black and white one-off comic written by Nick Bryan (Comedy & Errors, Hobson & Choi novels) and illustrated by new talent Rosie Alexander (Carpe Noctem).
It’s the first full-length comic story by both creators, and tackles questions of mortality, coming to terms with hard times and exactly what it’s like to suddenly become a living skeleton.
A quirky, funny, unique story, the book features twenty pages of black and white artwork, full-colour front and back covers and an escalating sense of baffled dread.
UK preview here, for February releases! These monthly previews will include various books hitting shelves in the UK (so Text and Allen & Unwin are included, despite being based in Australia, as their books are distributed in the UK.) For the US version, check out this post from last week.
Allen & Unwin, out 2nd Feb.
Jackson’s Aunty Pam and annoying cousins visit for the summer, which happens every year. What doesn’t happen every year is them bringing someone with them. Tomas, a mysterious boy with a troubled past tags along, and becomes Jackson’s friend. The pair’s friendship evolves, and Jackson must confront his changing relationships, and face a dark secret.
I don’t think I’ve read any #ownvoices Aboriginal books before so I’m particularly excited for this, especially since the queer rep is getting amazing compliments from the likes of David Levithan. It sounds like the relationship between the main two leads, and the Aboriginal community, are both wonderfully well-written.
UCLan Publishing, out 4th Feb
Since his dad left, Jamie has been struggling with life. He wants to be the man of the house, looking after his Mum and sister, but struggles, eventually turning to alcohol to try and dull the pain.
Robb’s Geekhood books are fantastic, and I’m intrigued by Smashed, which sounds like a real change of direction but is getting excellent reviews.
Andersen, out 4th Feb
Maggie’s witnessed strange things, but nobody believes her. Taken to a freezing farmhouse for the winter by her parents, she and younger sister Kate start to play tricks. But not all the sounds being heard in the house are being made by the girls. Is something trying to speak to them?
This is inspired by the nineteenth-century true story of the Fox sisters, hoax spiritualists. Barter’s Troublemakers was a really good debut, so I’m excited for this second novel from her. It sounds really spooky and reviewers are praising the way she brings the time period to life.
Usborne, out 4th Feb
Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony – will she have red blood, like most of the village? When it turns out to be gold, color of impurity, she faces a terrible consequence. So she leaves her life to join a mysterious woman and an army of girls like her. Can they stop the empire’s greatest threat?
This has been one of my most anticipated books for what seems like FOREVER, with early reviews being pretty unanimously amazing! Gritty battle scenes and excellent female friendships are two of the aspects getting particular praise.
Bloomsbury, out 4th Feb
Nala falls hard for Tye, who’s MC’ing a birthday party she’s at. Finding out he’s really into activism, she pretends she is too. As the summer, and the romance, continues, her lies spiral. She finds out that love is hard, but self-love is revolutionary.
I’m never sure whether to mention books in both previews when they’re out in the UK and the US in the same month. This looks FAR too good not to, though! Renée Watson is consistently described as one of today’s best YA contemporary authors. Early reviews makes this sound truly fabulous.
Text Publishing, out 25th Feb
(Major trigger warnings for child sexual abuse and attempted suicide of a teen.)
Taken away from their mother’s ex after he does something truly awful to 12-year-old Della, Della and her sister Suki find a new home with gruff but kind Francine. Della’s used to Suki protecting her, but when Suki tries to kill herself, Della must find her own strength.
This has been out a while in the USA but (as far as I can tell) is hitting UK shelves in late Feb. I read it last year after borrowing it from my local library and it quickly became a favourite. It’s a powerful, heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting story. I love the bond between the two sisters, and Francine is a fantastic mother figure. It is VERY dark at times, but done wonderfully appropriately – readers will fill in the gaps Bradley leaves according to their own knowledge. Della has been aged up (from 10 in the US version to 12 here.) This seems to be aimed a little more at YA than the MG audience in the US. Regardless of your age, though, it’s an incredibly moving and brilliantly-written book.
Thanks once again to Nick Bryan for sponsoring today’s post!
What’s coming out this month that you’re especially excited to read?