Out of this Place, Emma Cameron (402 pages) – Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach, working shifts at the local supermarket, and trying to stay out of trouble at school until he can be on his own. Bongo gets wasted, blocking out memories of the little brother Social Services took away from his addict mom and avoiding the stepdad who hits him. And Casey, the girl they both love, longs to get away from her strict, controlling father and start anew in a place where she can be free. When their lives all take very different and surprising paths, will these three friends find a way to come together again?
First lines: “A cave on Pebble Beach, /a bike ride from home, /where the sting of salt air /tears away the built-up wondering /of what to do- /on the last day of holidays, /about Casey, /with my life. /Tomorrow, /school will throw a cover /over the last six weeks /and pack it away. /I don’t mind.”
Last Chance Angel, Alex Gutteridge (367 pages) – What would you do for another chance at life? When Jess is knocked off her bike in a traffic accident, she finds herself at the gates of heaven before her destined death date. Given one last chance to say goodbye, she heads back to Earth to visit friends and family. Closely kept secrets are revealed to the now-invisible Jess, and one shocking discovery leads her to the biggest choice she’ll ever have to make.
First lines: “It was a spur of the moment decision to take the bike, one of those uncharacteristic impulses which can change your life and your death. We’d been given this really hard maths homework and I’d left it until the last minute. Even my brother, Jamie, couldn’t work it out and he’s two years older than me and went through all the GCSE stress last year. There was no point bothering Mum.”
The Rose Throne, Mette Ivie Harrison (390 pages) – Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she’s impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father’s court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power – or the magic – to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?
First lines: “”Princess Ailsbet, your father demands your attendance at court this morning,” said Duke Kellin of Falcorn, bowing. He was King Haikor’s new favourite, looked hardly older than Ailsbet, and was dark-haired, tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome in a dark sable cloak over a silver-embroedered tunic.”
Linked, Imogen Howson (359 pages) – Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
First lines: “As Elissa and her mother entered the waiting room, the sky above Central Canyon City was a chill, predawn gray, the spaceport a colorless blaze on the horizon. Lines and points of light pricked up from the canyon floor far below.”
Catch Rider, Jennifer H. Lyne (279 pages) – Tough-as-nails fourteen-year-old Sid may not have expensive boots like the privileged teen riders in Virginia, but she knows her way around horses. Working with her Uncle Wayne since childhood, she’s learned to evaluate horses, break and train them, care for them . . . and ride like a professional. Amid turmoil at home, she dreams of becoming a catch rider—a show rider who can ride anything with hooves. In this salty, suspenseful teen novel, an unexpected opportunity to ride a top-notch horse in an equitation show takes the small-town girl all the way to Madison Square Garden.
First lines: “It was raining hard and the lightning was getting close. I ran the red gelding down the path in Dunn’s Gap and listened for that moment when a horse is at a full gallop and none of his feet touch the ground, because during that split second, we’re flying.”
Crown of Midnight, Sarah J. Maas (418 pages) – After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes. Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
First lines: “The shutters swinging in the storm winds were the only sign of her entry. No one had noticed her scaling the garden wall of the darkened manor house, and with the thunder and the gusting wind off the nearby sea, no one heard her as she shimmied up the drainpipe, swung onto the windowsill, and slithered into the second-floor hallway.”
Tall Tales from Pitch End, Nigel McDowell (377 pages) – Ruled by the Elders, policed by an unforgiving battalion of Enforcers and watched by hundreds of clockwork Sentries, Pitch End is a town where everybody knows their place. Soon-to-be fifteen-year-old Bruno Atlas still mourns the death of his Rebel father ten years ago, and treasures the book of stories he secretly uncovered: the Tall Tales from Pitch End. After discovering a chilling plot planned by the Elders, Bruno flees, escaping to the mountains where a bunch of disparate young Rebels are planning a final attack on Pitch End. With secrets and betrayal lying around every corner, Bruno will find himself fighting not only for his life, but the life of the town.
First lines: “Bruno Atlas didn’t speak, didn’t scream, only thought with eyes shut tight and a mind full of crimson fireworks: This is it and I’ll be gone soon. I’ll not be here any more. I’m going to die.“
Wild Awake, Hilary T. Smith (375 pages) – Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away: You will remember to water the azaleas. You will take detailed, accurate messages. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.
Things that actually happen: A stranger calls who says he knew your sister. He says he has her stuff. What stuff? Her stuff. You tell him your parents won’t be able to— Sukey died five years ago; can’t he— You pick up a pen. You scribble down the address. You get on your bike and go. Things . . . get a little crazy after that. Also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.
First lines: “It’s the first day of summer, and I know three things: One, I am happy. Two, I am stoned. Three, if Lukas Malcywyck’s T-shirt was any redder I would lean over and bite it like an apple.”
When You Were Here, Daisy Whitney (257 pages) – Danny’s mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see. Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn’t know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore. When he gets a letter from his mom’s property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother’s memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.
First lines: “When someone you love has died, there is a certain grace period during which you can get away with murder. Not literal murder, but pretty much anything else. “
Absent, Katie Williams (180 pages) – When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn’t an accident–that she supposedly jumped on purpose–she can’t bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all.
First lines: “”When you die,” Lucas Hayes once told me, “it’s like every wound your body has ever had – every skinned knee, paper cut, pimple – opens up and says See? I told you so.” Lucas had held Brooke Lee as she’d jittered and bucked, rolled and foamed, and – yeah – died, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. My best friend, Usha Das, took a different view.”