7 Apr 2022

Event Recap: Summer 2022 HarperCollins Canada Preview! #FrenzyPresent

I spent my Wednesday night learning about some fantastic books coming out from May to August from HarperCollins Canada. I'm sure you'll be just as pumped as I was to learn about them!

Plus we heard from Victoria Aveyard and Jen Ferguson & Kim Stewart about their new releases which was super fun! You can see my thread on Twitter to learn more about intial reactions and other thoughts.

Summer 2022 Preview #FrenzyPresents

Spotlight on Victoria Aveyard and Jen Ferguson & Kim Stewart

Staring with... Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard talked about how excited she is to be back in the realm (wink) of talking about books!

Feels really nice to have a world that she physically controls. The inspiration was she was coming to the end of the Red Queen series which had a lot of support and she had a lot of control over what she wanted to do next.

The first inkling of REALM BREAKER was in 2018 as she looked at what she loved in books from her childhood and the first thought was The Lord of the Rings. She didn't see herself in Middle Earth and didn't find her space, which drove her to write fanfiction, but as an adult writer, she can write it herself for her teenage self to read and imagine herself in. Something a little more modern and having a lot more women into the mix since a lot of stories she loved were very male heavy.

People tell her they didn't read fantasy until they read her books, which then got them into fantasy.

I definitely remember how terrible it feels to love something and feel excluded by it, so writing the REALM BREAKER series, she wanted to make sure that the world felt inclusive and had possibility to have the space for everyone. She wanted the world to have the space for people even if they didn't see themselves in the characters that are being followed. It was important for her to include heroes other than straight, white men because they are not the only hero archetype.

She loves to poke fun at the tropes that are typically part of fantasy, especially the ones that are used time and time again. She wanted to push the limits of what fantasy can be, especially around morality.

There's nothing that Victoria loves more than tricking an audience. Manipulation is at the core of storytelling, feeling things, imaging things, and being afraid for people who aren't real. It's great to lead readers down a path that has a cliff but there's always something at the bottom!

The ending of BLADE BREAKER has been in her head since she started writing this book because she wanted to make sure that she got the "low" point for all the characters. That way she can build them back up in the third act because people want to imagine the ways the heroes can get back into things.

There are people and names in the second book that are brand new and people we met in the first book that come back in the second book. She's very intentional about the way she introduces people and characters into the world.

Questions and Answers

We had a little Q&A with Victoria, which was great! Everyone got a chance to ask questions. 

What are your go-to writing playlists?
Victoria has different playlists for different projects and different playlists for where she is in the project. She also different playlists for different characters to get into the POV of who she is currently writing. And when she needs to get in the groove of writing, she has an INTENSE playlist that helps her along!

What is your favourite part of writing process?
Drafting, but the gratification of finishing the book is also really good. The first draft is the hardest but it has the most opportunity too. For Victoria, she write "cleaner" first drafts where she doesn't have to make too many big changes as things go along.

What is your favourite plot twist as a reader?
A Song Of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones) informed a lot of ways that she writes. She read them with a hand on the opposite page so that she wouldn't accidentally read ahead to see if the POV character would die at the end.

Taking so many tropes and turning them on their heads while still using them. The Red Wedding is the only time I've thrown a book against a wall and felt as though she was DONE with the series. Then picked them up two hours later to finish.

How difficult was it for you to create a new world after ending RED QUEEN? Did any old characters influence new ones?
I was happy with RED QUEEN and was ready to go to the next story. I also new more about publishing than I did while writing RED QUEEN but knew the mistakes she made in RED QUEEN to fix those and make new ones along the way.

Arida and Evangeline are similar in being angry, powerful girls who have been written off by the world and forced to be something else.

What are your favourite books at the moment?
She's currently reading SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN. Victoria has been going in and out of horrible book slumps throughout the pandemic but this is one of the books that makes her enjoy reading again.

Is there any 2SLGBTIAQ+ representation in REALM BREAKER?
A lot of the romance is slow burn and the closest you get is the arranged marriage in the first book. As things go forward and we get to know the characters, there is representation that is very apparent and ones that are more casual and inclusive. The world should reflect where we are and that exists in our world.

You can't have a homogenous society because it makes the fantasy aspect less believable.

Is there pressure to keep the readers happy even after being a wildly successful author?
She knows that there are things her readers expect and pressures of people saying what they wanted in the books. There is a good conversation on BookTok about "spice" in YA and NA, as well as Adult Fantasy not being marketed to women well.

As an author, she protects what is important to her in the story, whether that is a character, a romance, or a plot point.

We also got to discuss with Jen Ferguson about her new novel THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET!

Jen is Metis and Canadian and teaches fiction writing as her day job. She has lived in many places across Canada. THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET is the first contemporary YA novel that doesn't have a magic system that Jen has written.

It's a story about the secrets people, especially family, keeps from you where they think they are protecting you but it ends up hurting you. It's about figuring out who you are and your relationship to be able to desire.

We also got to learn more about Indigenous beadwork and the process behind the cover from creator Kim Stewart. Kim is Metis from Alberta. Kim has been a beadwork artist for a while and takes a lot of practice to get really good at. There was a lot of pricked fingers at the beginning as you learn to work with the needles but it is so near and dear to Indigenous families.

When you started writing your story, did you intend for beadwork to become a central part?
Yes, beadwork and ice cream. I find that Lou's mom has gone through so many traumas and so when she decides to take up beadwork, she is connecting with her culture. She is also doing something that gives her a sense of purpose.

Lou has not always been comfortable with being Metis because of what her mother has experienced and racism in Canada. She carries her earrings with her, especially her beaded earrings, which gives her a reminder of stopping, recentering, and not getting drawn into the surroundings. It's a reminder of what actually matters.

Beading is incredibly time consuming - Kim, could you give us an idea of the beading that you did for the cover and inside the book?
Well definitely in terms of using beadwork in a book is not a direction we have gone before. When we work with beads, we are connecting with places in nature, whether that is floral or food, and the symbolism that goes with that. We are working with letterforms and Kim wanted those to be expressive because she knows that written word is like a voice that speaks out.

She wanted the letters to speak and reflect the emotion you feel when you look at those letter forms through beadwork. She had to rework and choose specific beads for each of the letters. On top of that, she then had to make it a digital piece so she scanned it into her computer!

Was it important for you to include conversations about being "white passing" in the book?
Jen could answer the question around being white passing or with her responsibilities as a Metis person who goes into the world looking "white" and not being taken as a person of colour. There are conversations she feels as though she shouldn't be speaking and just listening because of her background.

There are themes and characters in the novel that get us to think about the broader picture of how systems in place in our society harm us. This is especially important for when we don't always realize that things impact us.

What inspired you to include the types of representation you did in the novel?
There are lots of communities in North America where teens are well versed in terminology for 2SLGBTIAQ+ and desire. But in Northern Alberta, this is not the case. "Gay" is still being used as a slur.

It was important for Jen to incorporate her experience based on the location she grew up in, the journey of getting to where you want to be, and accepting who you are as an individual.

The journey of accepting her body coincides with the journey of understanding who she is as a person.

There are a few different floral designs in the book. Did you have any control over where the designs would appear, Kim?
Yes, absolutely she took consideration for the types of flowers, beads, and berries. Each connects us to seasons in our natural world and in our life. They become metaphorical in a lot of different ways.

There was a list of different plants and things that appear in the area this book takes place and she chose ones that made sense for the chapter and the season of our lives.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
The plan for the book went out the window by the end of the first chapter of the first draft. Jen had just written about MMWIG and she needed something lighter that still focused on romance while exploring topics of Indigeneity.

This book is about the complicatedness of summer romance and what happens in Indigenous teen's lives. Bitterness and sweetness can exist in a harmony in your life.

The book does have a happy ending though!

Summer 2022 Releases

We then got into what the upcoming Summer 2022 releases are and there are so many fantastic books! I am going to be preordering some below and I can't wait to get my hands on them.


Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Realm Breaker #2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 28, 2022

In the sequel to Realm Breaker, a divided world must rally, an unstoppable enemy must be defeated, and the fate of the world rests on a blade’s edge.

Andry, a former squire, continues to fight for hope amid blood and chaos.

Dom, a grieving immortal, strives to fulfill a broken oath.

Sorasa, an outcast assassin, faces her past when it returns with sharpened teeth.

Valtik, an old sorceress, summons a mighty power.

And Corayne, a pirate’s daughter with an ancient magic in her blood, steps closer to becoming the hero she’s destined to be.

Together they must assemble an army to face Queen Erida and Taristan’s wicked forces. But something deadly waits in the shadows, something that might consume the world before there’s any hope for victory.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Jen Ferguson
Series: N/A
Publisher: Heartdrum
Publication Date: May 10, 2022

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person—and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth.

Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever. 
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2022

They tell me to "fix" my hair.

And by fix, they mean straighten, they mean whiten;

but how do you fix this shipwrecked

history of hair?

In her most famous spoken-word poem, author of the Pura Belpr�-winning novel-in-verse The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo embraces all the complexities of Black hair and Afro-Latinidad--the history, pain, pride, and powerful love of that inheritance.

Paired with full-color illustrations by artist Andrea Pippins in a format that will appeal to fans of Mahogany L. Browne's Black Girl Magic or Jason Reynolds's For Everyone, this poem can now be read in a vibrant package, making it the ideal gift, treasure, or inspiration for readers of any age.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Emery Lee
Series: N/A
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Sometimes bitter rivalries can brew something sweet

Theo Mori wants to escape. Leaving Vermont for college means getting away from working at his parents’ Asian American café and dealing with their archrivals’ hopeless son Gabi who’s lost the soccer team more games than Theo can count.

Gabi Moreno is miserably stuck in the closet. Forced to play soccer to hide his love for dance and iced out by Theo, the only openly gay guy at school, Gabi’s only reprieve is his parents’ Puerto Rican bakery and his plans to take over after graduation.

But the town’s new fusion café changes everything. Between the Mori’s struggling shop and the Moreno’s plan to sell their bakery in the face of the competition, both boys find their dreams in jeopardy. Then Theo has an idea—sell photo-worthy food covertly at school to offset their losses. When he sprains his wrist and Gabi gets roped in to help, they realize they need to work together to save their parents’ shops but will the new feelings rising between them be enough to send their future plans up in smoke?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Tashie Bhuiyan
Series: N/A
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Mina Rahman has a plan for her future:
• Finally win the Golden Ivy student film competition
• Get into her dream school across the country
• Leave New York City behind once and for all

Mina’s ticket to winning the competition falls into her lap when indie film star—and known heartbreaker—Emmitt Ramos enrolls in her high school under a secret identity to research his next role. When Mina sets out to persuade Emmitt to join her cause, he offers her a deal instead: he'll be in her short film…if she acts as a tour guide to help him with a photography contest.

As Mina ventures across the five boroughs with Emmitt by her side, the city she grew up in starts to look different and more like home than it ever has before. With the competition deadline looming, Mina's dreams—which once seemed impenetrable—begin to crumble, and she’s forced to ask herself: Is winning worth losing everything?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Ciannon Smart
Series: Witches Steeped in Gold #2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7, 2022

The Doyenne is dead, and the throne is empty.

Iraya, her revenge taken and magic unfettered, turns her sights on a bigger goal: freeing Aiyca for the Obeah. But first she must shed the guise of the rogue warrior and become the Lost Empress her people need.

Jazmyne has crowned herself the doyenne and is prepared to go to extreme lengths—and court ruthless danger—to prove to her people she deserves the throne.

But there is more at stake than Jazmyne or Iraya know: a new threat is awakening on the other side of the island that could destroy everything they’ve been fighting for.

Trust is scarce, and betrayal a breath away. But Iraya and Jazmine once again find themselves turning to each other—after all, better the witch you know than the nightmare you don’t.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Dean Atta
Series: N/A
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: May 24, 2022

From the Stonewall Award-winning author of The Black Flamingo comes a romantic coming-of-age novel in verse about the beautiful--and sometimes painful--fallout of pursuing the love we deserve. The ideal next read for fans of Kacen Callender, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Becky Albertalli.

Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic--likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father's job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can't believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.

But when Mack's father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It's awful to be so far away from Karim, and it's made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.

Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless--and his confidence could just be infectious.

Award-winning author Dean Atta crafts a beautifully nuanced and revelatory story in verse about the exquisite highs and lows of first love and self-discovery.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Jason June
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 31, 2022

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder--or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They've pollluted the planet so much that there's a floating island of trash that's literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest's pespective on humans begins to change, they'll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings...

This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: XiXi Tan
Series: N/A
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Two sisters. A shocking racist incident. The summer that will change both of their lives forever.

Despite having had near-identical upbringings, sisters Annalie and Margaret agree on only one thing: that they have nothing in common. Nineteen-year-old Margaret is driven, ambitious, and keenly aware of social justice issues. She couldn't wait to leave their oppressive small-town home and take flight in New York. Meanwhile sweet, popular, seventeen-year-old Annalie couldn't think of anything worse - she loves their town, and feels safe coasting along in its confines.

That is, until she arrives home one day to find a gut-punching racial slur painted on their garage door.

Outraged, Margaret flies home, expecting to find her family up in arms. Instead, she's amazed to hear they want to forget about it. Their mom is worried about what it might stir up, and Annalie just wants to have a 'normal' summer - which Margaret is determined to ruin, apparently.

Back under each other's skins, things between Margaret and Annalie get steadily worse - and not even the distraction of first love (for Annalie), or lost love (for Margaret) can bring them together.

Until finally, a crushing secret threatens to tear them apart forever.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Louisa Onomé
Series: N/A
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: July 26, 2022

A Young Adult novel by Louisa Onomé, Twice As Perfect follows a Nigerian Canadian girl dealing with an estranged older brother, helping her cousin plan a huge Nigerian wedding, and pressure from her parents about her future.

The only things worth doing are those that will lead to success.

For seventeen-year-old Adanna Nkwachi, life is all about duty: to school and the debate team, to her Nigerian parents, and even to her cousin Genny as Ada helps prepare Genny’s wedding to Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy (“Skeleboy me, Skeleboy this money, everything na Skeleboy…that Skeleboy!”). Because ever since her older brother, Sam, had a fight with their parents a few years ago and disappeared, somebody has to fill the void he left behind. Ada may never know what caused Sam to leave home, but the one thing she’s certain of is that it’s on her to make sure her parents’ sacrifices aren’t in vain.

One day, chance brings the siblings back together. Although she fears how their parents will react if they find out she and Sam are back in touch, Ada’s determined to get answers about the night Sam left—Sam, who was supposed to be an engineer but is now, what, a poet? The more she learns about Sam’s poetry, the more Ada begins to wonder if maybe her own happiness is just as important as doing what’s expected of her. Amid parental pressure, anxiety over the debate competition, a complicated love life, and the Nigerian wedding-to-end-all-weddings, can Ada learn, just this once, to put herself first?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Joanna Ho
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 14, 2022

Maybelline Chen isn't the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can't come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May's beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much "pressure" on him. May's father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It's up to May to take back the narrative.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Robin Benway
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 21, 2022

National Book Award–winning author Robin Benway returns with an ambitious I’ll Give You the Sun meets Every Day story of love, loss, and sisterhood told in a reverse chronological narrative that will claim a permanent home in your heart.

It’s been a year—a year of missing Nina. A year of milestones—holidays, birthdays, everything without her.

Leo feels like she should remember what happened that night. But all she knows is that she left the party and got into a car with Nina and Nina’s boyfriend, East.

East, who once promised Nina he’d watch out for her younger sister. East, who has been trying to keep that promise every day since. But East won’t give Leo the one thing she wants—the one thing she needs. He won’t tell her anything about the accident. He won’t talk about that night at all.

As the days tumble one into the next, Leo’s story comes together while her world falls apart. The only constant is the one person who can help her bear the enormous weight of her love for Nina—and East might be carrying too heavy a load of his own.

Robin Benway’s signature exploration of love, family, and finding yourself is on display in her most ambitious story yet.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD


Author: Shveta Thakrar
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 28, 2022

A lush tapestry of dreams, myth, and magic--perfect for fans of Holly Black, Roshani Chokshi, and Margaret Rogerson.

Seven years ago, Tanvi was spirited away to the subterranean realm of Nagalok, where she joined the ranks of the dream runners: human children freed of all memory and emotion, who collect mortal dreams for the entertainment of the serpentine, immortal naga court.

But when one of Tanvi's dream harvests goes awry, she begins to remember her life on earth. Panicked and confused, she turns to the one mortal in Nagalok who might be able to help: Venkat, the dreamsmith responsible for collecting the dream runners' wares and shaping them into the kingdom's most tantalizing commodity. And as they search for answers, a terrifying truth begins to take shape--one that could turn the nagas' realm of dreams into a land of waking nightmare.

From the author of the Indie Next selection and Andre Norton Award finalist Star Daughter, this stand-alone contemporary fantasy, inspired by the nagas and garudas of Hindu mythology, is full of slow-burning romance, haunting intrigue, and shimmering magic.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

Other Upcoming Releases!

Coming soon for Kids!


What's in it for Adults?

And a quick peek at some of the Fall releases...

Which of these are you most excited for? Are you going to preorder any?

1 comment:

  1. There are new characters and names in the second book, as well as characters we encountered in the first book that return in the second. You take great care in how you introduces individuals and characters to the universe. I run an online service that helps people, particularly students, with their academic tasks.


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