From sibling tragedy through the assassination of a prime minister, to an alternate dystopian 1950s (can the past be dystopian?): here’s a small collection of new fiction.
Karma, Cathy Ostlere (517 pages) – Maya travels with her father to India to return her mother’s ashes to their final resting place. It is 1984, and on their arrival Indira Gandhi is killed, causing chaos, and thousands are murdered in a bloody massacre. Separated from her father, Maya must disguise herself and accept the help of Sandeep to save herself. Written in verse.
First lines: How to begin. Click. How. To. Begin. Click. Click. Click.
Hush, Eishes Chayil (340 pages) – Set in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn (New York), Hush tells the story of Gittel, who witnesses the abuse of her best friend Devory, causing her to question her ideas about her community and her faith and her upbringing.
First sentences: Devory? Devory? Devory, can you hear me?
The Iron Thorn, Caitlin Kittredge (492 pages) – this is the one about the alternate 1950s where everything’s pretty bleak: “mechanically gifted fifteen-year-old Aoife Grayson, whose family has a history of going mad at sixteen, must leave the totalitarian city of Lovecraft and venture into the world of magic to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance and the mysteries surrounding her father and the Land of Thorn”. (cover summary)
First sentence: There are seventeen madhouses in the city of Lovecraft.
Love, Inc, Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout (409 pages) – Three girls meet in group counseling for children whose parents divorce, finding they’ve got a lot in common, including a cheating boyfriend (Eric/Rico/Rick). So begins Project Payback, a roaring success, which leads them to establish a consultancy service for those similarly duped in love (the service being called Love, Inc).
First sentence: Senora Mendoza keeps a hand on the doorknob and her eyes on the clock.
Sean Griswold’s Head, Lindsey Leavitt (274 pages) – Payton is seeing a guidance counselor to help her deal with her father’s multiple sclerosis. The counselor suggests she focus on an object, so naturally Payton chooses Sean Griswold’s head, since she sits behind him in class every day. Her project soon turns into a crush (then perhaps a friendship?), then hopefully it will lead her to “focus on herself” (book cover).
First sentence: Nothing creates a buzz like an Executive Deluxe day planner.
Between Here and Forever, Elizabeth Scott (250 pages) – Abby’s sister, Tess, is the perfect one, but following an accident Tess is in a coma and Abby – who has always been in her shadow or, worse, invisible – discovers she’d rather live with her than without. So she plans to bring Tess back, with the help of gorgeous Eli, only to discover her sister has secrets…
First sentence: I lean forward and look at Tess.
Trapped, Michael Northrop (232 pages) – Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason, plus four others, are left stranded at their school during a blizzard. Sounds like an opportunity to have some fun, but then the power goes, and the heat, and the running water, and it’s not fun any more at all, and “the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision” (book cover).
First sentence: We were the last seven kids waiting around to get picked up from Tattawa Regional High School.