HCC Frenzy Presents: Fall/Winter 2019

Balloons spelling FRENZY at the entrance to the Harper Collins Canada office

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending another Frenzy Presents event at the Harper Collins Canada office. For the Fall/Winter preview, the wonderful staff at HCC Frenzy were discussing 24 new middle-grade and young adult books that are hitting shelves over the next few months.

Excuse Me While I Add All the Books to My TBR

Similarly to last time, staff took turns doing brief presentations on each title. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and everyone in the room was buzzing with excitement about the lineup of books (myself included).

Afterwards, there was a short presentation and reading by Jasmin Kaur, a writer, illustrator, and spoken word poet. I’d seen the cover of her debut book, When You Ask Me Where I’m Going, floating around online, but had no idea what it was about. I’m sure I can safely say that I wasn’t the only one who got emotional when listening to her read passages from her book. It was truly amazing to hear her speak about her work, and share excerpts with everyone.

Then, it was time to pick up our swag bags, mix and mingle, and swap ARCs! Luckily I had a wonderful group of friends to trade books with this time, and left with four titles that I am very excited about! So, without further ado, let’s look at what I brought home.

Books I Received

UnpregnantUnpregnant, by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

This book has been on my radar since the last Frenzy event, when they previewed books for the upcoming year. The story follows a college-bound teen who finds herself pregnant, but doesn’t want to be. However, the only way for her to seek an abortion is to cross state-lines. So, she does what many desperate girls and women do when they find themselves pregnant and don’t want to be: they confide in someone they think they can trust, and do whatever they can to end their pregnancy. In this case, getting an abortion means taking a road trip. The story is written as a comedy, but also deals with very real and timely topics. Needless to say, I’m very excited to read this one.

The End and Other BeginningsThe End and Other Beginnings: Stories From the Future, by Veronica Roth

Fans of dystopian YA will likely recognize this author’s name—she’s the one who brought us the Divergent trilogy. Afterwards, she published a duology (Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide), and is now returning to the world of YA sci-fi with a collection of short stories. Two of the six stories take place in the same world as her duology, but the others explore new settings and serve as stand-alone stories. While the writing promises to be out of this world, it’s also accompanied by illustrations throughout the book. I really enjoy reading short stories—I tend to read them before work in the morning—and can’t wait to start working my way through this collection.

A Treason of ThornsA Treason of Thorns, by Laura E. Weymouth

A historical fantasy set in Victorian England? Yes please! This story follows a main character who has spent the last seven years in exile, because her father committed treason. After getting the chance to come home, she returns to Burleigh House, which had traditionally used its magic to keep the countryside safe. However, things have fallen apart: the house has been overtaken by vines, and the magic has twisted into a dark and deadly force. Our heroine wants to save her home, but the house has become determined to let its dark magic take over. The book also comes with a list of trigger warnings, including depression, self-harm, disordered eating, and more, so readers know what to expect and prepare themselves for.

When You Ask Me Where I'm GoingWhen You Ask Me Where I’m Going, by Jasmin Kaur

This is the book I mentioned above: a collection of poetry, prose, and illustrations. The author, Jasmin Kaur, told us that her writing in this book contains a lot of self-reflection, and is presented to readers through fictional characters. The main character is a single woman, who finds herself pregnant while trying to navigate life as an undocumented immigrant. Topics explored in this collection include: feminism, sexual assault, mental health, immigration, and more. However, it also includes themes of hope, love, resilience, and empowerment. It’s sure to be an emotional read, timely, and important. I’ve already heard amazing things from some friends who also received and read this ARC, and am excited to dive and experience the writing for myself.

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