Here is a selection of newly arrived fiction. Completely randomly a theme emerged in the tower of new books, which makes for some serious reading.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (352 pages) – this includes very cool (peculiar) Victorian-style portrait photographs (of the peculiar children). Jacob is sent to an island off the coast of Wales (go Wales!), on which there lie the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (an orphanage). As you would, Jacob explores the ruins, learning about the children, discovering that by “peculiar” people might have meant “dangerous”: there was a reason why Miss Peregrine’s Home is on an island. (Wrestle this one out of the hands of a librarian today!)
First sentence: I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, Annabel Pitcher (226 pages) – The title is a reference to Jamie’s sister’s ashes. Five years on from her death, the family is still struggling to come to terms. Jamie’s father drinks, and his mother has left, and Jamie is trying to make sense of the tragedy.
First sentence: My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.
Hades, Alexandra Adornetto (422 pages) – the sequel to Halo. Bethany is tricked, and finds herself in Hades (the underworld), Jake is back in town, and is going after Xavier, to get at Bethany. So to spare Xavier’s life, must Bethany make the ultimate sacrifice?
First sentence: When the final bell sounded at Bryce Hamilton, Xavier and I gathered our things and headed out onto the south lawn.
She Loves You, She Loves You Not, Julie Anne Peters (278 pages) – Alyssa is disowned by her father, so she must move away from her girlfriend Sarah, to live with her mother who she doesn’t know in a new town, starting over again (and trying not to repeat the mistakes of the past).
First sentence: The night Sarah and Ben showed up out of the blue.
Sorta Like a Rock Star, Matthew Quick (355 pages) – Amber, her mother, and her dog, live in the back of the school bus her mother drives (one of those big yellow buses). Even so, Amber is an optimist, visiting people in a nursing home, and teaching English to Korean women, but then something terrible happens that tips Amber over the edge into depression.
First sentence: Lying down, shivering on the last seat of school bus 161, pinned by his teensy doggie gaze, which is completely 100% cute – I’m such a girl, I know – I say, “You won’t believe the bull I had to endure today.”
The Girl is Murder, Kathryn Miller Haines (342 pages) – set in New York in 1942. Iris’ father owns a detective agency, so naturally she is dead keen to help him on some of his cases. When he refuses to let her – and he’s working on a case involving a boy at her school – she decides to do some secret detective work of her own.
First sentence: Pop’s leg was across the room when I came downstairs. (And the next sentence: I didn’t ask him how it got there.)
Putting Makeup on Dead People, Jen Violi (326 pages) – Donna’s father has been dead for four years and she’s never really got over it. Then one day, she discovers a calling to become a mortician. A story of “how one girl learns to grieve and say good-bye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional” (cover).
First sentence: I’m mixing a can of tomato soup with a can of two percent milk for dinner that no one will eat.
A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, Matt Blackstone (248 pages) – Rene is an obsessive-compulsive superhero in the making, convinced he is responsible for bad things that happen by doing things in the wrong order, or moving at the wrong time. He has one friend, Gio, who is determined to teach him how to “play it cool” – one imagines Gio has his work cut out for him.
First sentence: Legs are my favorite part.
Between, Jessica Warman (454 pages) – “By weaving through her memories and watching the family and friends she left behind, eighteen-year-old Liz Valchar solves the mystery of how her life ended in the Long Island Sound.” (catalogue)
First sentence: It’s a little after two a.m.