Alethea Kontis

I've been lucky to have this column — I grew up reading my way through the stacks at the Richland County Public Library and never gave a moment's thought to the timing of new book releases. These reviews have afforded me the privilege of enjoying many stories set in and around the time they are let out into the world. As suggested by the title, Hannah Reynolds's The Summer of Lost Letters is very much a summer book, set in late June and loaded with fat hydrangeas, sparkling water, and sizzling hot days.

I realized this spring that I have spent far too much time on the internet this past year, for obvious reasons. I suspect I'm not alone. And just like magic, Suzanne Park's Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous came across my desk, a story about a 17-year-old Korean American influencer who ends up in a digital detox camp.

For this month's book review, I'm taking a scandalous dance step outside my usual contemporary genre. Much like cheesy holiday movies in December, from time to time I lose myself in costume dramas as comfort food. I'm old enough to remember a time where historical romances were thin on the ground in publishing — especially young adult romances — so you might imagine my delight upon encountering the "irreverent regency romp" Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan!

No matter what phase of lockdown you're in, it's that time of year again. College admissions are in the air. Graduation is upon us. And the real-life high school sweetheart team of Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (affectionately called "Wibbroka") have delivered another fun teen romp that will have former graduates brimming over with nostalgia: What's Not to Love?

Spring is upon us! (At least, it is where I live in Florida.) Flowers are exploding everywhere, afternoons are stormy, and birds are twitterpated. It's the perfect time to launch a story that centers around that colorful celebration of the blossoming of womanhood, the quinceañera. I hereby present to you all Monica Gomez-Hira's fabulous debut: Once Upon a Quinceañera!