This is the first New Book list for 2009. And there are lots of new books! Momentous.
Dangerous Angels : The Weetzie Bat Books, by Francesca Lia Block (478 pages) – Not really a new book, but this is a new collection of all five Weetzie Bat books. Which are absolutely brilliant, if a little controversial. Lia Block’s writing style is lush and lyrical.
First sentence: ‘The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood.’
Numbers, by David A. Poulson (230 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Andy Crockett’s new teacher is pretty cool, and Andy tries his darnest to impress Mr. Retzlaff. Untill it become apparent that Mr. R’s views on the Holocaust are insidious and dangerous, and to ace the class comes at a cost Andy is not willing to pay.
The Smile, Donna Jo Napoli (260 pages) – The smile in the title here refers to Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile, which has intrigued people for centuries. Lisa (short for Elisabetta) is fifteen, and her father’s friend, Leonardo da Vinci, insists he will one day paint her portrait. He also sets her up with the Medici family, which is probably a bad move.
First sentence: ‘“Elisabetta, where are you going?”‘
Caught Between the Pages, by Marlene Carvell (230 pages) – P. J. Barnes’ English teacher, Mrs. Jordon, is the only teacher who doesn’t ignore P. J.’s indifference to schoolwork. He finds her personal journal and sees an opportunity to get back at her – but when he reads it, it ’slams him with unexpected family secrets that hold the keys to his past, and possibly his future’.
First sentences: ‘“Barnes,” a voice hollered from the end of the hall. “You’re headed in the wrong direction.”‘
Blondetourage, by Allison Rushby (239pages) - Rich Girls is a reality show about two rich girls (obviously) who shop and party all around the planet. The blondetourage is the crew of people who have to follow them about. Elli Adamson dislikes Rich Girls and its two stars, but when her mother lands the job of cooking for them she finds herself part of the blondetourage.
First sentences: ‘“Okay. I can handle this. I can. I can, I can, I can. No, wait a second. I so can’t. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I …”‘
Twister, by Chris Ryan (274 pages) – Ben Tracey is not only on a plane that’s crashed after getting highjacked; he needs to stop an explosion at an oil refinery. There’s also a killer tornado coming, and there’s a traitor in their midst! More action that you can shake a stick at.
First (and only action-free) sentence: ‘It was the evenings that Ben Tracey liked most of all.‘
The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, by Anne Laurel Carter (224 pages) - Palestinian girl Amani’s family have always been shepherds, and she dreams of becoming one herself. Her family’s land is in danger of disappearing, and while her uncle and brother are tempted by militancy, Amani finds help from unexpected quarters, including a rabbi, and the son of a settler.
First sentence: ‘The first day Amani grazed sheep on her grandfather’s mountaintop was nearly her last.‘
Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa From a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room), by Ysabeau S. Wilce (511 pages) – Is that not the best title ever? This is a continuation of Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, perhaps the second best title ever. Awarding-winning fantasy. And it has a giant squid.
First sentence: ‘1. Do not trust banished Butlers who promise they will do your chores but are actually tricking you into giving them all your Will so that you start fading into Nothing.‘