Here are this week’s fortnight’s month’s new books, where I literally judge books by their covers.
Article 5, by Kristen Simmons (364 pages) – It is the near future and things have changed! The US has revoked its Bill of Rights, and replaced it with some ‘Moral Statutes’. Instead of police, law is enforced by soldiers, who don’t hesitate to arrest for bad behaviour. When Ember’s rebellious single mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes, she leaves her previously unassuming and safe life behind and becomes a rebel with a cause. The Handmaid’s Tale for teens maybe!
First lines: ‘Beth and Ryan were holding hands. It was enough to risk a formal citation for indecency, and they knew better, but I didn’t say anything.‘
The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg (375 pages) – Brie is sixteen, and tastes great on crackers with quince. Just kidding! She is an actual human who is sixteen, and when her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, she dies of a broken heart. And now, stuck in limbo, she must watch everyone deal with her death, while she too must go through the five stages of grief. Luckily (to balance the whole unluckily dying situation) she has the ghost of a boy who died in the 80s to help her.
First line: ‘There’s always that one guy who gets a hold on you. Not like your best friend’s brother who gets you in headlock kind of hold.’
What Boys Really Want, by Pete Hautman (297 pages) – Lita and Adam are both sixteen, and have been friends for ages. They try not to interfere with one anothers’ love lives, mistaken though they think the other is, but when Adam steals content from Lita’s anonymous blog for a self-help book he is writing, What Boys Really Want, things get hilariously complex.
First line: ‘The idea for the book came to me as a bunch of us were tubing down the Apple River on a nice, sunny day, the last weekend before school started.‘
The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas(351 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Rose is popular! But when her mother dies, none of that matters so much. Rose’s late mother has left her a ‘Survival Kit’; an iPod, a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a paper star, a box of crayons, and a tiny handmade kite. What can they mean? Well you will have to read the book won’t you.
First line: ‘I found it on the day of my mother’s funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look. There is was, hanging with her favorite dress, the one I’d always wanted to wear.‘
Tiger’s Voyage, by Colleen Houck (543 pages) – This is book three in the Tiger’s Curse series. Books one and two are already in! I don’t recall seeing them, but they’re in the catalogue. And the catalogue never lies. Here’s what it says about this part of the series: ‘After battling the villanous Lokesh, Kelsey and the Indian princes Ren and Kishan return to India, where Kelsey learns that Ren has amnesia, and five cunning dragons try to keep the trio from breaking the curse that binds them.’
First line: ‘Behind the thick glass of his Mumbai penthouse office once again, Lokesh tried to control the incredible rage slowly circling through his veins.‘
Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi (376 pages) – After some kind of ecological apocalypse, humanity splits – some live in the Reverie, a kind of haven from the storms that assault the planet, while others survive on the earth, mutated and living pretty primitive lives. Aria leaves the safety of the Reverie to find her missing mother, and meets Perry, an outsider who is also searching for someone. His mutation seems to be looking like a male model! They fall in love! A forbidden romance. ‘Should appeal to both teen and adult readers far beyond dystopia fans’, says Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
First lines: ‘They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.” A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.‘
Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley (228 pages) – Here is what the catalogue says: ‘Seventeen-year-old Cullen’s summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin’s death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother’s sudden disappearance.’ However! There is a lot more to this multi-award winning book than just that short sentence!
First lines: ‘I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body It wasn’t my cousin Oslo’s. It was a woman who looked to have been around fifty or at least in her late forties.‘
Someone Else’s Life, by Katie Dale (485 pages) – Another book about a girl coping with her dead mum. Rosie learns that she might have inherited Huntington’s disease, which has recently killed her mother … or she might not, since she also learns that she was actually switched at birth. She discovers a secret that could ’shatter the lives of everyone around her,’ which can’t be much fun for Rosie, or the girl who might actually have inherited Huntington’s. Sounds grim.
First lines: ‘Sunlight dances over the little girl’s dark curls as she toddles clumsily through the dry grass.‘
Immortal Beloved, by Cate Tiernan (389 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there,s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends . . . when you’re immortal.’ And now, from Youtube!
First line: ‘Last night my whole world came tumbling down. Now I’m running scared.‘
(We also have the sequel, Darkness Falls.)
Advent, by James Treadwell (439 pages) – This is book 1 in the ‘Advent Trilogy’. Gavin, a disenfranchised youth is sent to his eccentric aunt’s place in Cornwall. At the same time magic returns to the world, 500 years after it was locked away. Its return to the modern world is disruptive and not at all benign. And! Some reviews suggest that this could be the new Tolkien, so there you go.
First line: ‘On a wild night in deep winter in the year 1537, the greatest magus in the world gathered together and dismissed his household servants, wrapped himself in his travelling cloak, took his staff in one hand and in the other a small wooden box sealed with pitch and clasped with silver, and stepped out into the whirling sleet, bound for the harbour and - so he expected – immortality.‘
Hollow Pike, by James Dawson (314 pages) – Witchcraft! Horror! Lis London has nightmares that someone is trying to murder her. She dismisses the local legends of witchcraft but … should she? Probably not! This has been enjoyably reviewed on Amazon, where it gets a pretty good rating of 4.5 stars.
First line: ‘Lis knew she was dreaming, although this brought little comfort as the blood ran over her face.’