10 must-read new YA book releases to make your December merry

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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This is How We Fly – Anna Meriano

Anna Meriano’s This is How We Fly is possibly best described as “a Cinderella retelling with romance and also quidditch from Harry Potter but also no magic involved”. And perhaps that feels as weird to read as it does to type, but as a concept, it’s also fresh, deeply fascinating, and a lot of fun.

The story follows Ellen Lopez-Rourke who had planned to spend her last summer before college having fun with her two best friends. But when she finds herself grounded for the entire holiday, their plans change. As a result, Ellen and her BFF Melissa end up joining a local Quidditch team. (Yes, really.) Based on the popular Harry Potter sport, there’s no magic in this version and no one flies. (Though there are an awful lot of dodge balls.)

But in it, Ellen finds an unexpected outlet in this group of fiercely inclusive, full contact nerds, one that allows her to explore all facets of her identity and accepts her as she is. How this newfound self-discovery will affect her relationships with her family and her besties is anyone’s guess. But Ellen has learned to fight for the figure she wants.

The official synopsis goes into much greater detail about the story.

"17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window. Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn’t quite what Ellen expects. There’s no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans. Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF Xiumiao seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs. But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control–Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she’s playing for keeps."

This is How We Fly is available on December 15.