On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in October

by vkovenmatasy

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new October releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


wild beauty cover

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Summary: For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, hiding a terrible legacy, until mysterious Fel arrives and Estrella helps him explore his dangerous past.

Why We’re Excited: Anna-Marie McLemore’s last book, When the Moon Was Ours, received a slew of honors including a Stonewall Honor and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and with Wild Beauty she looks to continue her streak of excellently written, casually-queer magical realism infused with her Latinx heritage. It’s tough to follow up on a successful novel, but McLemore has it down to a science (her first novel, The Weight of Feathers, was a finalist for both the Morris Award and the International Latino Book Award), so we can look forward to watching her books keep on improving!


among the red stars cover

Among the Red Stars by Gwen Katz

Summary: World War II has erupted in Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She’s a pilot–and a good one–so she eagerly joins an all-female bomber regiment. Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German targets is something else entirely. The raids are dangerous, but as Valka watches her fellow pilots putting everything on the line in the face of treachery, she learns the true meaning of bravery. As the war intensifies, though, and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Why We’re Excited: Guys guys guys. The Night Witches were so cool. They were an all-woman volunteer squad that flew missions against Nazis in the dark, with no parachutes, in outdated planes that would go down in flames as soon as they were hit. How do we have six Spider-Man movies and no feature films about the Nachthexen? They were real-life superheroes.


the 57 bus cover

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Summary: One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter. One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Why We’re Excited: Excited is the wrong word, but I’m certainly interested. I remember reading about this incident when it happened, and most of the responses were sorely lacking Slater’s nuance. She also wrote an article for the NYTimes back in 2015, if you want to refresh your memory on the facts of the case before deciding whether to pick up the book.


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Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Summary: Taj is a talented aki, or sin-eater, who consumes the guilt of others whose transgressions are exorcised from them by powerful but corrupt Mages. After he eats the sin of a royal, Taj is drawn into a plot to destroy the city, and he must fight to save the princess he loves and his own life.

Why We’re Excited: I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this debut, and the cover is SO COOL. Plus, Tochi Onyebuchi seems like a really awesome guy? I don’t know of a whole lot of Columbia Law grads writing fantasy novels.


all the crooked saints cover

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle. Here is a thing everyone fears: What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars. At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo. They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Why We’re Excited: Maggie Stiefvater’s first book since wrapping up the cult favorite Raven Cycle is a step in a new and interesting direction — more magical realism than the contemporary fantasy that has been her calling card, and a standalone rather than the beginning of a new series, although the lyrical writing style that attracted many of her fans is still there. (I read an ARC, which is why I’m predicting this so confidently.) I find it heartening that Stiefvater has been open about employing multiple sensitivity readers to ensure that her portrayal of Latinx characters is, well, sensitive: it’s a practice that should be industry standard for any book that isn’t Own Voices, and I hope more authors and publishers will begin adopting it as a matter of course.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.