It’s cover reveal time!
Today, we are revealing not one, not two, but SIX covers, from debut authors to the return of beloved fantasy characters! We may have even snatched an excerpt for each of these new reads for you to get an early taste of each one. New books will be added here as they are revealed, so keep an eye out here, on our Instagram, and Twitter @penguinteen to be in the know!
Now, get ready to stack that TBR!!
First up, we’re talking about Melissa de la Cruz’s highly anticipated follow-up to The Queen’s Assassin. Are you ready for this?
Prepare your eyes for the jaw-dropping cover that is The Queen’s Secret and read an excerpt below!
The Queen’s Secret by Melissa de la Cruz – Coming March 2, 2021
In the far north of the Kingdom of Montrice, winter arrives early once more. The mellow days of autumn are over, the fruits of the harvest hastily packed into granaries and cellars, cured meat dangle from oak rafters. The fields are empty apart from golden bales of hay ready to be transported to stables and stacked high in barns. This far north, they are accustomed to snow.
So when a blizzard swirls in before the trees have shed their last leaves, no one gives it much thought at first. For three days the wind howls and snow falls in frigid ropes. In the village of Stur, snow piles so high that tunnels must be dug to allow doors to open, and every family wakes to darkness, their houses packed in snowdrifts. At last, when the blizzard passes, they climb out to find snow heaped on rooftops, clogging chimneys, and encrusting wells.
The village elders say that Stur has never seen so much snow, not in living memory. It makes them uneasy about the winter that lies ahead. But the snow has transformed the muddy streets and plowed fields into a sparkling white wonderland. After the children of Stur finish their morning’s work, they gather to play on snowy banks, creating makeshift sleds by lashing branches together. The village rings with the happy shouts of children tumbling down hillsides and jumping into drifts.
The pond is covered by thick white ice; its surface is the face of the moon. A dog skids across the ice, barking with surprise, and some of the children decide to try skating, something they’ve heard about but never experienced. They hurry to strip bark from the birch trees around the pond and strap it to their boots with ribbons of leather. The bravest go out first, soaring across the ice, laughing when they lose their balance and sprawl across its hard, slippery sheen. Soon the village children play on the frozen pond.
A crash of thunder sounds, splintering the calm of the afternoon. A dark cloud moves across the wintry blue sky so the snow no longer glints in the sun. Some of the children look up, hoping for more snow.
But no more snow falls. Not one crystal snowflake. Thunder crashes again, so loud the nearby houses shake. Lightning cracks open the sky and ink-black fingers shoot across the pond’s surface, staining the ice with veins of ebony. The same black ripples from the hillsides to the banks surrounding the pond, and outward to the snowbound streets of the village.
Along these ominous fault lines, ice begins to crack. Snow melts as suddenly as it fell. Torrents of freezing water pour down the hills, and Stur’s main street is transformed into an icy river, sweeping people and animals into its freezing surge. With a thunderous crack, the frozen pond splinters and the children sink into the frigid water, screaming and thrashing. As the hills above churn with cold water, the pond becomes a drain, drawing everything—and everyone—into its icy whirlpool.
When the dark cloud passes, all evidence of snow has disappeared. All that remains are soggy fields, bare hillsides, and streets thick with sludge. The village pond is still, its bright moon face gone. The villagers who survived the deluge rush to its banks, and there, through a thin layer of frost, delicate as a spider’s web, lie the frozen bodies of the children, their faces distorted with terror.
By the time the messenger rides out to the capital of Mont, he is reminded to report that of all the day’s strange and horrifying events, there is one detail that is so curious that it must not be overlooked.
The layer of frost across the pond was not gray, or even dirty white, the usual color. It was the color of fresh spring lilacs.
Next up, we’re revealing the cover to acclaimed Blood Water Paint–author Joy McCullough’s sophomore YA novel, We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire.
We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough – Coming February 9, 2021
Next up! If you loved Rebelwing by Andrea Tang, get ready. It’s time for Renegade Flight! Scroll down to see the cover and read an excerpt.
Renegade Flight by Andrea Tang – Coming February 16, 2021
The first tale Vi ever heard about the Academy was a monster story, told in cheerfully ominous tones over a celebratory dinner at the Park family manor.
“Don’t let those beautiful holo-brochures the GAN publishes fool you,” one of Vi’s aunties warned. The old woman waggled a pair of gleaming silver chopsticks at some cousin whose accomplishments had been chosen as the latest family excuse for five courses of feasting. “It may look all green manicured lawns and pretty castle turrets, but make no mistake: that fancy cadet school in Hong Kong eats its students alive. Best keep your wits about you, boy, lest you end up picking yourself out from between its teeth.”
In hindsight, it probably said something weird about Vi’s whole personality that she’d turned a monster story into her fondest childhood dream.
None of that prepared her for what greeted Vi the first time she stepped through those famous wrought iron gates. She’d seen them a million times, in holo-images and 3D view screen reels, but none of that replicated the cold metal beneath her hands, or the glittering lights of the ivy-covered Academy towers swirling skyward in the shadow of Tai Mo mountain. It felt like a world insulated from the rest of the island, as if someone wanted to lock it away behind a museum wall. The city of Hong Kong proper, to Vi’s jet-lagged eye, had been a blur of bright lights and skyscrapers, 3D entertainment displays and ostentatious mech landing pads. Not unfamiliar, really, to a girl who knew Seoul almost as well as she knew New Columbia. The Academy grounds – secluded by design, and tucked away in the shade of the distant, towering Tai Mo mountain – were almost eerily quiet at this hour.
They were also surprisingly well-forested. Vi wasn’t sure what else she’d expected of a school built into the crook of Hong Kong’s highest peak, but as she followed her app deeper and deeper into the grove, the angular gothic buildings almost vanished from view entirely, obscured by endlessly twisting branches. Vi pulled a face, trying to quell the bubble of cold in the pit of her belly, a sharp contrast to the clinging summer heat. Why the hell did a school built to train mech pilots, of all things, need to cultivate such a tremendously creepy amount of vegetation? When Vi’s aunties had talked of a school that ate its students alive, she’d really assumed it was metaphorical, and overdramatized for the sake of scaring her cousins. She was going to be extremely displeased if some eldritch forest monster came rampaging out of nowhere to prove her wrong. She didn’t even have a war mech or plasma rifle at hand to even the odds.
What greeted her wasn’t an eldritch forest monster. It was, to her immense surprise, a girl about her own age. She wore the plain olive regulation flight suit that marked her as one of the GAN’s students, but something about the way this girl stood – hip jutted out, crimson-nailed, perfectly manicured white hand planted on her waist – made the flight suit look intentional, a designer’s piece in a specially chosen ensemble, rather than something that was supposed to mark the wearer as an anonymous one of many. Eyeing Viola up and down, she cocked her head. Thick red hair tumbled over her shoulder. “Viola Park.” Her accent was English, what would have been called received pronunciation once upon a time, clipped and precise as a British newscaster’s.
Vi blinked to attention at the sharpness of the sound. “Yes?”
That single word had apparently been the wrong thing to say. Red’s pale green eyes slitted. It was the same minute shift in expression Vi had seen a million times from an opponent right before a mech sparring round. Red was ready for a fight. “You’re a probie now, aren’t you?”
Next up, We Were Liars meets Speak in this haunting, mesmerizing psychological thriller–a gender-flipped YA Great Gatsby–that will linger long after the final line. Scroll down to see the cover and read an excerpt of Tell Me My Name by Amy Reed!
Tell Me My Name by Amy Reed – Coming March 9, 2021
Ferns are older than dinosaurs. They’ve survived by growing under things, made hearty by their place in the shadows. Sucking up mud.
Barely even a plant. Ferns don’t make seeds, don’t flower. They propagate with spores knocked off their fronds by passing creatures or strong winds.
They sit there, forest deep, waiting to be touched.
Papa said Daddy could have any house he wanted, so he picked an old abandoned church at the end of a gravel road in the middle of the forest on an island.
Papa says it’s a money pit. Daddy says it’s a work in progress.
Papa says it was Daddy’s revenge for making them move for his career.
Papa says Daddy likes to make things hard for no reason.
Daddy says it builds character.
Papa says I probably have brain damage from all the sawdust and paint fumes I inhaled as a baby. Daddy sometimes calls the house his other child.
Their bickering soothes me. That they argue about such little things reminds me we have nothing big to worry about. We’re the opposite of dysfunctional. We’re real live unicorns.
Commodore Island is nine miles long and five miles wide. In the summer, it’s overrun with tourists. Day-trippers from Seattle with their itineraries of the famous bakery and fish restaurant, the little boutiques and artisan cheese shop, all the old buildings preserved like a retro, small-town time capsule of family-owned businesses. You can barely see the tiny A-Corp logo on their signs.
Sometimes the tourists rent kayaks. Sometimes they go for hikes in the nature preserve at the center of the island. They walk around the muddy lake and take home photos and mosquito bites as souvenirs. They drive Olympic Road in its lumpy oval circuit, the mansions and luxury condos rising over them from the shore and stacking up the hill, each with its own view of the Sound, before the island’s middle gives way to forest.
The tourists slow at the gates of our more famous residents, stopping traffic to take pictures of the rare wild deer crossing the road. They get their little taste of quaint, of our tiny, unscathed bubble where you can almost believe the rest of the world isn’t falling apart, then they return to their gated communities in the city. There have been no deer in Seattle for a long time.
People can afford beauty here. The rich always get to keep a little of what they destroy.
Papa had a dream of becoming a fashion designer a long time ago, but he somehow ended up at A-Corp like everyone else on the island. Except he’s not some big fancy executive like most of the parents here. Papa’s the Artistic Director of the Children’s Division of Consumer Protective Apparel.
Instead of high fashion and runway shows, he’s in charge of making bulletproof vests for kids. It’s not glamorous, but somebody’s got to do it.
The tourists always end up at my work at some point on their trip: Island Home & Garden. They buy our signature T-shirts with the otters holding hands. Everyone loves otters holding hands. Even though otters haven’t been spotted here in a couple decades, not since the big oil spill off the coast of Vancouver Island.
My fathers are some of the few parents on the island who believe that a work ethic must be built; it is not something that can be inherited like wealth. I am the only person I know with a part-time summer job. I’m also the only person who works on this island who actually lives on this island. Everyone who lives here either works for A-Corp headquarters in Seattle, or doesn’t work. Everyone who works here lives in the giant subsidized housing complexes across the bridge to the west, on the peninsula, those miles of identical high-rise boxes strategically built on the other side of a hill so they won’t cheapen the view of anyone on the island. Buses full of workers arrive around the clock for shifts at the shops and restaurants, the grocery store and the couple of car-charging stations, to work on gardens and remodels of houses. In and out, back and forth, like the tide.
I work while everyone else my age plays. I work while they travel, or while their parents travel and they stay home to party and be tended to by housekeepers and nannies who have their own families across the country waiting for checks to arrive, in the states that have no jobs because of the floods and the fires and the poisoned earth. I work while my best friend, Lily, is in Taiwan visiting family all summer. I sell orchids and fake antique watering cans to tourists and housewives, waiting for my real life to start.
There’s a rumor of a new arrival.
Moving trucks at the bottom of my hill. The gate across Olympic Road opens.
Not the usual executive rich. Not the CEOs and CFOs and COOs and CTOs of the various departments of A-Corp.
My sleepy town has woken up.
Ready to be spooked? Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance. Scroll down to see the cover of Our Last Echoes and read an excerpt!
Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall – Coming March 16, 2021
Something clicked softly against the window.
My head whipped up. For a moment all I could see was my startled reflection. Outside there was only the sound of waves and wind, of rock tumbled against rock, scrape and hush, and of the terns calling, crying.
Or was it more? The scrape of rocks became a footstep; the tern’s scream became the wail of someone crying. Then back again. I crept from the bed and turned off the light. When I turned back to the window, my twinned self in the reflection had vanished. In its place was the mist.
And in the mist, a shadow. Someone was outside.
I bolted to the window, but the shadow had receded into the gloom.
Everyone I’d met so far had told me this place was dangerous. Mr. Nguyen, refusing to set foot on the shore. Mikhail, with his parting warning. Mrs. Popova, locking the doors against an empty island. But I would not find out anything by staying safely indoors. And it wasn’t like I had anything to lose, except my life. And it wasn’t a life worth fretting over.
I grabbed my phone for its flashlight and hurried for the back door, doing my best to move quietly. The house was old and creaked with every step, but no one stirred. I twisted the deadbolt on the back door and yanked it open. Frigid air blasted me immediately, but at least there was only fog. The storm had stayed out east after all.
Mrs. Popova’s house backed up to the water. I walked slowly toward it—between the darkness of the cloud cover and the mist, I could barely see my own feet. It would be easy to fall, crack my skull on the rocks, and be carried away by the hungry tide. Just another one of the vanished.
I’d reached the edge of the water. The surf slapped at the pebbles just ahead of me, foamy, flecked with grit and bits of seaweed. It sloshed, shushed—dripped. But no, that last sound was behind me, and with it the scrape of rocks. A footstep.
Fear jolted through me, rooting me in place. I should turn, but the terror held me still. Another footstep came, and with it a soft exhalation of breath.
Angrily, I shoved my fear into the emptiness of the void. For an instant, it vanished—and then it rushed back, like a wave retreating only to crash against the shore once more. I sucked in a startled breath, and bit down against a low moan of animal panic.
“Who’s there?” I whispered. My voice was too weak to overcome the ocean.
Fingertips brushed the back of my neck. I held myself perfectly still as they trailed lightly down my back to a point between my shoulder blades, then fell away. The person behind me sighed, and their footsteps fell back. I forced myself to turn slowly, my heart hammering.
The mist was thick. Thicker than any fog I’d ever seen. The figure in front of me stood no more than four feet away, but all I could see was a dark gray shadow through the mist. A person, but featureless, nearly formless. Silent, except for the persistent drip of water. A damp, earthy smell seemed to emanate from them.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Who are you?” the figure repeated. Voice a croak like a raven’s.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“What do you want?” Less of a croak now. Almost human.
The figure faded. It took me a moment to realize they had stepped back—and back again, the mist swallowing them until all that was before me was a featureless expanse of gray.
I was alone.
Finally, it’s time to reveal the cover of The Wide Starlight (warning: you may want to immediately make it your new wallpaper!) The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After in this dreamy, atmospheric novel that follows sixteen-year-old Eli as she tries to remember what truly happened the night her mother disappeared off a frozen fjord in Norway under the Northern Lights.
The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance – Coming February 16, 2021
I find the letter one slushy February afternoon, stuck in the holly bush beside my front door. Setting my bag of library books on the steps, I crouch and fish the envelope out of the jagged branches. Judging from the dark splotches and water lines on the paper, it’s been there a long time. Someone has printed my name in pencil, crooked and hasty, with none of the i’s dotted and the faintest hints of crosses on the t’s.
There’s an official post office sticker across the bottom. return to sender, it says. not deliverable as addressed. But somehow it made it here anyway. The postmark is smudged; I can only just make out the word Norge. Norway. Oblivious to the icy rain pattering into my hair, I tear the envelope open. Somehow, the paper inside isn’t wet.
Moren din er nær, it says. Jeg hører henne, men hun kan ikke høre meg. Du må prøve. Kall på henne.
I never learned to read Norwegian, and it’s been years since I spoke the language. Whenever I try, the words feel like rocks in my mouth. Squinting at the paper, I whisper them out loud.
My scalp begins to tingle. It’s been ten years since I last saw my mother, ten years I’ve been waiting for her to come back, even though my dad and I live on another continent now and she’d have no idea how to find us. I mutter the rest of the words, hating how awkward and foreign I sound. It says something about hearing but not hearing, something about calling.
I glance across the street: Iris’s truck isn’t in her driveway. On Saturdays she meets up with other incredibly intelligent people from all over Cape Cod and they solve complicated math problems for fun. She should be home any minute now.
Moren din. Your mother.
A bead of ice slips inside my collar, sending a wash of goose bumps across my skin. With trembling fingers, I unlock the door and step inside, where I’m enveloped by the smoky scent of chipotle layered over rich, salty beef. My dad left the house while I was out, but he must have put dinner in the Crock-Pot first. Pulling out my phone, I sit on our ancient couch and type the note’s words into an online translator.
Your mother is close. I hear her, but she cannot hear me. You must try. Call her.
Every inch of me goes shivery. I used to get lots of letters after my mother disappeared and we were all over the news, but those letters tapered off years ago. The last one came when I was twelve, and I burnt it like all the others. But this one is different. This one hums with an almost imperceptible energy.
I send Iris a text:
Found a weird note in my bushes. Where are you?
The response is instantaneous:
[Auto-Reply] I’m driving right now—I’ll get back to you later.
I hope that means she’s on her way home. Aimless and unsettled, I wander into the kitchen. On the counter, the Crock-Pot bubbles and simmers. Beside it is a note from my dad, written on the back of a receipt.
Out with Helen for the rest of the day. Help yourself. It might need more cumin.
I haven’t met Helen. My dad stopped bringing his girlfriends home years ago because I kept trying to wrap myself up in them, even though they never quite fit. The last one I met was named Clara. She was from Germany, tall and lean and red-haired, and she taught me how to knit, and it still hurts my chest to think about her.
The chili does need cumin, so I add a bit more, then head for my room, which is crammed full of bookshelves and bins of fabric and yarn. Gertrude, my headless dressmaker’s dummy, stands beside my bed, piled high with half-sewn clothing. Setting the note on my desk, I press the creases to lay it flat, and I write the English words underneath their Norwegian originals.
Your mother is close. I hear her, but she cannot hear me. You must try. Call her.
As if it were that simple. As if I haven’t tried. Even in my dreams I’m calling her. Screaming her name, whispering it, sobbing it. Finding phones and dialing over and over, always getting one number wrong and having to start again. Sometimes in my dreams, I call and scream and plead and she actually, finally comes and I see her face again, those dark eyes and sweeping cheekbones, and her soft body folds around me and I’m home. Nothing is dangerous; nothing is bad. It’s the way I wish I could remember her always. Those are the most heartbreaking dreams because when I wake up, she’s gone all over again and the loss is a thousand times sharper.