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The Mary Sue Book Club, April 2023: Societal Questions & New SFF Books From Old Faves

Three books for the april 2023 bookclub.

We are a quarter into 2023 and not even a quarter through the many books and graphic novels we are excited to share! Y’all, it’s very tough month-to-month limiting the list to just a handful of titles. This month of The Mary Sue Book Club is no different. Here we have a new SFF book by Green Bone Saga author, two very different coming-of-age novels touching on social issues, and one person’s exploration of womanhood. Additionally, there’s one of our most anticipated graphic novels of the year and a retelling of the best-selling book by a Black author of all time. (Clue: He’s not American.)

Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee

Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee.

Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family.

Ester’s path leads her to the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated ruhkers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance.

Release date: April 11.

The Making of Yolanda la Bruja by Lorraine Avila

The Making of Yolanda la Bruja by Lorraine Avila. Image: Levine Querido.
(Levine Querido)

Yolanda Alvarez is having a good year. She’s starting to feel at home Julia De Burgos High, her school in the Bronx. She has her best friend Victory, and maybe something with Jose, a senior boy she’s getting to know. She’s confident her initiation into her family’s bruja tradition will happen soon.

But then a white boy, the son of a politician, appears at Julia De Burgos High, and his vibes are off. And Yolanda’s initiation begins with a series of troubling visions of the violence this boy threatens. How can Yolanda protect her community, in a world that doesn’t listen? Only with the wisdom and love of her family, friends, and community – and the Brujas Diosas, her ancestors and guides.

Release date: April 11.

Old Flame by Molly Prentiss

Old Flame by Molly Prentiss.
(Gallery/Scout Press)

Emily writes for women’s catalogs for a living, but she’d rather be writing books. She has a handsome photographer boyfriend, but she actively wonders how and when they will eventually hurt each other. Her best work friend Megan is her lifeline, until Megan is abruptly laid off. When her world is further upended by an unplanned pregnancy, Emily is forced to make tough decisions that will change her life forever.

What will she sacrifice from her old life to make room for a new one? What fires will she be forced to extinguish, and which will keep burning? Old Flame is a story about the essential—and often existential—choices that define a woman’s life at every level, from which dress to wear to when to have a child to how to be in the world.

Release date: April 11.

The Last Count of Monte Cristo by Ayize Jama-Everett, Tristan Roach

The Last Count of Monte Cristo by Ayize Jama-Everett, Tristan Roach. Image: Abrams Comicarts-Megascope.
(Abrams Comicarts / Megascope)

This speculative update pushes the narrative into a future hundreds of years after the polar ice caps have melted and submerged our planet into a new era of technology and culture. In this futuristic reinterpretation, author Ayize Jama-Everett and illustrator Tristan Roach revisit the original inspiration of The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas’s own father.

A greatly respected general during the French Revolution, Dumas was one of the highest-ranking officers of African descent in a Western army in history. Like the protagonist of his son’s story, General Dumas was betrayed and spent years in prison before getting a chance to return to his beloved France. The Last Count of Monte Cristo is a radical and powerful graphic novel update that reclaims the cultural heritage of Dumas’s tale and suggests the terrible future that could threaten the human race if we continue to destroy our planet.

Release date: April 25.

Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying

Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying.
(First Second)

Valerie Chu is quiet, studious, and above all, thin. No one, not even her best friend, Jordan, knows that she has been bingeing and purging for years. But when tragedy strikes, Val finds herself reassessing her priorities, her choices, and her body. The path to happiness may lead her away from her hometown and her mother’s toxic projections—but first she will have to find the strength to seek help.

Release date: April 25.

Which of these are you most excited to check out? Let us know in the comments.

(Featured image: Berkley Books, Gallery/Scout Press, and First Second)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)