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December 2013

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  • Books, Grimm, New

    Recently ordered

    11.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Recently ordered

    A couple of loose ends are tied up (we think):

    Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Laini Taylor (April 2014) – the third in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Which must mean it’s the last?

    “By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz…

    “When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

    “And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing…” (goodreads.com)

    The Caller, Juliet Marillier (January 2014) – this is the conclusion to the Shadowfell trilogy.

    “Neryn has made a long journey to perfect her skills as a Caller. She has learned the wisdom of water and of earth; she has journeyed to the remote isles of the west and the forbidding mountains of the north. Now, Neryn must travel in Alban’s freezing winter to seek the mysterious White Lady, Guardian of Air. For only when Neryn has been trained by all four Guardians will she be ready to play her role in toppling the tyrannical King Keldec.

    “But the White Lady is not what she seems. Trapped with Whisper, her fey protector, Neryn is unable to send word to her beloved Flint, who is in danger of being exposed as a double agent. When a new threat looms and the rebellion is in jeopardy, Neryn must enter Keldec’s court, where one false move could see her culled. She must stand up against forces more powerful than any she has confronted before, and face losses that could break her heart.” (goodreads.com)

  • Rachel and Rebecca, Tremendous Trilogies

    Tremendous Trilogies Volume 11

    10.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Tremendous Trilogies Volume 11

    Shifting slightly from dystopia to more traditional fantasy, we present to you the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Garth Nix is a fantastic Australian author who also wrote the Keys to the Kingdom series, which at a total of seven books doesn’t quite fit into our trilogy theme but we highly recommend it anyway! Find them here.

    Similarly to the Graceling trilogy which we have featured in the past, the three books of the Abhorsen trilogy take place in the same universe, but are about different characters.

    Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics

    Book one follows 18-year-old Sabriel in southern Ancelstierre, where the technology and society are similar to that of early 20th century England. Sabriel discovers her father, the Abhorsen, has gone missing and she must enter the Old Kingdom, a land of magic and dangerous spirits, to find him. Necromancers have the power to raise these spirits into powerful undead beings, and only the Abhorsen has the power to put them back to rest. Along her journey, Sabriel collects companions – a Free Magic-constructed talking cat named Moggett and a Royal Guard named Touchstone long-imprisoned by magic – and she is plagued by a Dead creature shadowing her every move. Sabriel must keep moving, face her destiny and creep ever closer to an epic battle of life and death.

    The second book in the trilogy follows Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr. She looks different to the other Clayr, and she is different – her expected abilities of clairvoyance have not appeared at the usual age of eleven, and Lirael is already thirteen. On her fourteenth birthday, Lirael is appointed to the position of librarian for the Clayr where she explores the vast mystical library. Five years later, Lirael encounters Sabriel’s son Sameth and together they must undertake a mission cloaked in dread and evil.

    In the final book, Orannis the Destroyer has been freed from its ancient subterranean prison and seeks to escape the silver hemispheres, the final barrier between it and terrible destruction. Lirael and her companions are the only ones with any chance of stopping the force of Orannis, the ancient Ninth. Those she thought were her allies have turned on her, and further allies have disappeared without a trace. It is the responsibility of young Lirael to prevent the destructive force of Orannis before it’s too late.

    There are a LOT of elements to these books, which makes them very difficult to sum up succinctly! There’s magic, realism, romance, friendship, the underworld, necromancy, clairvoyance and a talking cat! What more could you possibly need? Also, this one is kind of cheating the trilogy theme as well, as the fourth book in the series is scheduled for release in September 2014. However, the release of this book has been announced and changed numerous times in recent years, so who knows when it’ll actually show up…

  • Books, New, Nicola

    New books

    09.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Hello blog readers! My name’s Nicola, and you may have seen some of my posts on this blog before, mostly looking at graphic novels. Now I’m writing about books as well. Here are my picks for the best new books this week.

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsA trick of the light, Lois Metzger (189 pages) -Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.

    Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

    First lines: “The first time I reach Mike Welles, he’s in a tunnel. It’s syrupy hot, July hot, the kind of heat where your breath going out feels like your breath going in, or so I imagine. I’ve been trying to talk to Mike but he can’t hear me or can’t listen- the distinction isn’t important.”

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsFallout, Todd Strasser (258 pages) – In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again.

    First lines: I wake to a hand on my shoulder. Dad’s voice is urgent. “Get up, Scott!” The light in a the bedroom is on, nd I squint up into his face. Dad’s eyes are wide, and he’s shaking me hard, not gently, the way he usually does when he wants to wake me. “Up, now!”

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Julius and the Watchmaker, Tim Hehir (349 pages) -When Julius Higgins isn’t running from Crimper McCready and his gang of bullies he’s working in his grandfather’s bookshop in Ironmonger Lane. Until Jack Springheel, a mysterious clock collector, turns up looking for the fabled diary of John Harrison—the greatest watchmaker of all time.
    Before he knows it, Julius becomes a thief and a runaway and makes a deal with Springheel that he will live to regret. And all before he finds out that Harrison’s diary is really an instruction manual for making a time machine.

    First Lines: Give me seven extra long seconds. That’s all I ask, though Julius Higins as he sprinted around the corner into Ironmonger Lane. Crimper McCready and his two henchboys were close and gaining.

    Book Cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The eyes of minds , James Dashner (308 pages) – Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
    But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.
    The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

    First Lines: Michael spoke against the wind, to a girl named Tanya.
    “I know it’s water down there, but it might as well be concrete. You’ll be flat as a pancake the second you hit.” Not the most comforting of works when talking to someone who wanted to end her life, but it was certainly the truth.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Death, Dickinson and the demented life of Frenchie Garcia, Jenny Torres Sanchez (268 pages) – Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night. Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night.

    First lines: The man across the street is dead. I don’t know who figured it out or how, but I think he’s been dead for days when they found him. School has been out for three weeks. I estimate that would have been the last time I saw him. Alive.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Charm and Strange, Stephanie Kuehn (213 pages) Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost. He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
    Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

    First lines: I don’t feel the prescence of God here. I pay along the far side of the river, my ears filled with the hum of cidcadas and the war of water flowing over the milldam. Vermont is postcard perfect. I could stand on my toes and peer over the current and the cattails and see the whole town spread before me.”

    Book Cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Homeland, Cory Doctrow (414 pages)-In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.
    A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his onetime girlfriend Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.
    Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.
    Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

    First lines: Attending Burning Man made me simulteanously one of the most photographed on the planet and the one of the least surveilled humans in the modern world.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Transparent, Natalie Whipple (350 pages) Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
    An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults. After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily. Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

    First lines: I nearly died the second I was born. The doctor dropped me, but it wasn’t his fault. When I smacked the floor and let out a screeching cry, all anyone could see was the semi-transparent umbilical cord. The poor guy scooped me up, grasping in shock at my invisble body.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics

    The Rig – Joe Ducie (358 pages) Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake…
    After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it?

    First lines: The Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk flew low over the coean, low enough that a cool mist splashed William Drake in the face through the open bay doors. He could taste salt on his lips and feel the roaring wind rush past his ears. Handcuffed to a steel pivot-loop on the floor of the shopper, Drake glared out at the miles of endless ocean.

    Bookcover courtesy of Syndetics
    Antigoddess – Kendare Blake ( 333 pages) Old Gods never die…Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
    Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
    Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
    Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
    The Goddess War is about to begin.

    First Lines: The feathers were starting to be a nuisance. There was one in her mouth, tickling the back of her throat. She chewed at is as she walked, grabbing it with her loars and pulling it loose. Warm, copper-penny blood flooded over her tongue. There were others, too, sprouting up inside her like a strange canceer, worming their way through her innards and muscle.

    Book courtesy of Syndetics

    Who done it? – “conducted” by Jon Scieszka (352 pages) A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.

    Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew.
    The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide…

    First lines: Dearest friend, you are invited to a gathering! Where: The Old Abandoned Pickle Factory. When: 8pm sharp. Why: Because if you don’t attned, I will have to telll the world everything I know about you. (Yes: everything. ) Your boss/superior/editor Herman Q. Mildew.

  • Books, GLBT, Library Serf

    Best of 2013: Simon’s Pick

    08.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Best of 2013: Simon’s Pick

    Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

    “…the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record – all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

    “While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites – all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.” (goodreads.com)

  • Books, Library Serf

    Goodreads’ Best Reads for 2013

    06.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Goodreads’ Best Reads for 2013

    The goodreads.com Best Books of 2013 have been decided. Rainbow Rowell wins again! It is the year of Rainbow Rowell.

    Young Adult Fiction Category Top 5

    Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

    Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

    Dare You To, Katie McGarry

    United We Spy, Ally Carter

    The Moon & More, Sarah Dessen

    Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction Category Top 5

    Allegiant, Veronica Roth

    Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare

    The Indigo Spell, Richelle Mead

    Opal, Jennifer L Armentrout

    Scarlet, Marissa Meyer

    You can see them all here.

    We at Wellington City Libraries read a fair quantity of books, so we’ll be letting you know what our favourites were over the next few weeks also!

  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: December 2013

    05.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: December 2013

    These are the 10 most requested items in the Young Adult collection for this month. Because Catching Fire the movie ends on such a cliffhanger, everyone’s naturally wanting to re-read Mockingjay to remember what happens next – reserve yours now if you haven’t got around to it yet, so you don’t have to wait ages! See you next year.

    1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [back]
    4. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 1]
    5. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
    6. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [up 2]
    7. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    8. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]
    9=. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1]
    9=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [no change]
    9=. Champion, Marie Lu [up 1]

  • Books, Library Serf

    Best of 2013: Vanessa’s Pick Part 1

    05.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Best of 2013: Vanessa’s Pick Part 1

    The Birthright series, by Gabrielle Zevin:

    “In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. Anya Balanchine is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, and when her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures, the police think she’s to blame. In this thrilling young adult series, Anya will have to decide between accepting her birthright and following her heart.” (goodreads.com)

    Vanessa says she couldn’t get enough of it!

  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming Books

    04.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Upcoming Books

    The horror/thriller edition of recently-ordered fiction.

    Her Dark Curiosity, Megan Shepherd (January) – this is the sequel to The Madman’s Daughter, in which Juliet travelled to a remote island in search of her father, to discover he was performing horrific experiments on the island’s animals, creating human-like monsters of them. In Her Dark Curiosity, “Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island – and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy – though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her. As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island…” (goodreads.com) These are inspired by classic novels: The Madman’s Daughter was H. G. Wells, and this one’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. 19th century gothic!

    Nightmare City, Andrew Klavan (December/January) – “Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute. As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life – when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty… his street empty… his whole town empty… empty except for an eerie, creeping fog – and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog. Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell? Tom is a good reporter – he knows how to look for answers – but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything – including Tom’s life – hangs in the balance” (goodreads.com).

    The Naturals, Jennifer Lynn Barnes (December/January) – Cassie can read people, can tell who they are and what they want just by looking at them. She’s not thought much of her talent until the FBI wants her for a classified programme called the Naturals, where they use gifted teenagers to help them crack cold cases. But the Naturals programme doesn’t just mean solving murders; when a new killer emerges, Cassie and the other Naturals are caught up in a lethal game of cat and mouse. Like Criminal Minds, people say!

  • Rachel and Rebecca

    Books that haven’t gone out in a while

    03.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Books that haven’t gone out in a while

    This week we’re bringing you the gems that haven’t gone out in a while, part two! You can see the reasoning behind this collection and the previous installment here.

    Stitches in Time, Julie Ireland

    When Elsie journeys all the way from Australia to Burgundy to visit her dead mother’s sister she finds herself in a disturbing world. Menancing and vivid glimpses of the past crowd in on her, and the truth about her mother, when it comes, is shattering.

    My Life as a Dog, Reidar Jönsson

    While his mother is dying of tuberculosis and his father is away at sea, thirteen-year-old Ingemar is farmed out to relatives, pseudo-relatives and the children’s home. He’s a sweetly eccentric boy with a creative sense of mischief that has a tendency to spiral out of control, often instigated by his equally unrestrained older brother. Ingemar may have a rough time, but not as bad as Laika – the Russian dog sent into space. During his summer away from home Ingemar meets various eccentric characters, giving him experiences that will affect him for the rest of his life. This is an adorably lovely novel about a young boy’s valiant attempts to manage life “in spite of it all” with both tragic and hilarious results.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOphelia : a novel, Lisa M. Klein

    I do so love a re-telling or twisting of a well known story. Lisa Klein doesn’t disappoint in this reimagining of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. This time, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting. Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia’s happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever … with one very dangerous secret.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlue Plate Special, Michelle D. Kwasney

    At 15, every girl believes her mother has always been middle-aged and clueless. But this compelling novel tells the other side of the story through the alternating voices of Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel. In alternating chapters, the lives of three teenage girls from three different generations are woven together as each girl learns about forgiveness, empathy, and self-respect. Michelle D. Kwansney reveals information at a perfect pace. She never gives too much away, yet never holds too much back. Though their circumstances are all different, and each girl is facing some seriously tough problems, I found them all deeply relatable. Each girl has a unique voice, the time periods are easily identified by pop cultural references, and the author skillfully draws you in with cliffhangers.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA Summer to Die, Lois Lowry

    Number the Stars reverberated with me for years and this novel is as equally compelling because of Lois Lowry’s strength as a storyteller. A Summer to Die is a beautiful story about an extremely tough subject and the complexity of relationships between sisters. Thirteen-year-old Meg envies her sister Molly’s beauty and popularity. But Molly is very sick in a way Meg doesn’t quite understand. Lois Lowry takes in the subject of death with grace and elegance. The big information is told not through first-person dialogue (declaration, reaction) but by simple narrative statements, sometimes right in the middle of a chapter. The news itself is important and dramatic enough to make impact in a few sentences. Once it becomes clear that Molly is dying, her disease still isn’t named for a while because ultimately this isn’t a book about leukemia, it’s a book about Meg and Molly as sisters.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSomething in the Air, Jan Mark

    Peggy is a fifteen-year-old rather at odds with the world around her. Her older sister berates her constantly for being messy. Her teachers reprimand her for being unladylike. Her best friend has stopped talking to her, because she was so shocked when Peggy explained the facts of life to her. And now, she’s got the strangest sounds reverberating through her head. Could they really be voices from another world, as her auntie thinks? Or is there a simpler explanation at hand?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWinter, John Marsden

    I remember I read all of John Marsden’s books in very quick succession and it was this one that stuck with me more than the others. Possibly because of the compelling mystery of Winter De Salis’ childhood, which will keep you guessing till the very end (hopefully). John Marsden really does excel at lulling readers, and writing sleight of hands that distract us from the monumental wallop we’re going to be dealt before the final page. For twelve years Winter has been haunted. Her past, her memories, her feelings, will not leave her alone. And now, at sixteen, the time has come for her to act. She must head back to her old home, where a pair of family tragedies forever altered her life. What she discovers is powerful and shocking – but must be dealt with in order for life to go on.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLost Property, James Moloney

    The premise of this book completely hooked me; a clue to a missing brother found in Lost Property. From the outside, Josh’s life looks pretty much perfect. He’s in a band, he has a gorgeous girlfriend and he does well at school. But Josh’s family has been slowly falling apart since his older brother disappeared two years before. Then Josh comes across a clue to Michael’s whereabouts in the Lost Property Office where he’s working for the holidays. Determined to put his family back together, and without a word to anyone, Josh too leaves Sydney in a desperate bid to bring his brother home.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShooter, Walter Dean Myers

    Not to be approached lightly, this is the story of a teenager who is often bullied by classmates who eventually loses it and opens fire in his school, killing his arch-enemy and himself. What I liked about it was the way in which Walter Dean Myers told the story. Using police reports and various interview transcripts for the main text the author creates a very realistic tone that adds to the clinical, almost sterile accounts of “the incident.” It also kind of makes the story a little creepier. Then there is Len’s diary. The author works very hard to give background and context to the shooting, to tell us what factors can possibly lead to such a desperate act.

    If you like the slightly different writing style of Walter Dean Myers then check out A time to love : stories from the Old Testament which is a retelling of six stories from the Old Testament, which explore the complexity of love from the perspective of Ruth, Delilah, Reuben, Isaac, Gamiel, and Zillah.

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