Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNamesake, Sue MacLeod (225 pages)It started with a history project. Mr. Gregor assigned a research paper on a figure from the Tudor era, and of course Jane Grey had to pick her namesake—Lady Jane Grey, the fifteen-year-old girl whose parents schemed to place her on the throne of England, then abandoned her to face the executioner. The project is engrossing from the start, but when Jane opens a mysterious prayer book and finds herself in the Tower of London in 1553, she ends up literally drawn into her namesake’s story. Soon, Jane is slipping into the past whenever the present becomes too unbearable, avoiding her mother’s demands, her best friend’s fickleness, her crush’s indifference. In the Tower she plays chess with the imprisoned Lady Jane, awed by her new friend’s strength and courage. And it is in the Tower, keeping vigil as the day of the execution draws near, that Jane learns that she, too, must have the courage to fight for her own happiness. (Goodreads)

First lines: She’s living in one of the houses we looked at from the hill. That’s where I see her in a dream sometimes-with a laptop, a phone, all the usual stuff. In another dream I see her at a part-time job. A coffee shop downtown. She’s pouring something for a customer when she glances up and sees her boyfriend. That’s why this dream’s the best.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNo surrender soldier, Christine Kohler (198 pages)Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his grandfather is losing it to dementia; he just learned that his mother was raped in World War II by a Japanese soldier. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It’s not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom – no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he’s a man ? (Goodreads)

First lines: Planes swarmed over Guam in droves. For a moment Lance Corporal Isamu Seto though he was home in Japan. He was washing his face in the Talofofo River when he heared the buzzing sounds. He looked up into the overcast sky and thought locusts were coming to destory the crops in his village of Saori. He blinked and shook his head. Aiee, angry locusts turn into bombers. Amerikans must be attacking.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiller of enemies, Joseph Bruchac (358 pages)Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones-people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human-and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets-genetically engineered monsters-turned on them and are now loose on the world.Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero. (Goodreads)

First lines: I’m five miles away from the walls of my prison, up in the hight country abow the Sonoran Desert. This far, surprisingly, nothing has yet attempted to maim or devour me since I settled here half an hour agao. Despite he nearby prescence that I sense of those “little problems” that I deal with out here in the wiles, I have met nothing to worry about…yet.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPanic, Lauren Oliver (408 pages)Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.(Goodreads)

First lines: The water was so cold it took Heather’s breath away as she fought past the kids crowding the beach and standing in the shallows, waving towels and homemade signs, cheering and calling up to the remaining jumpers. She took a deep breath and went under. The sound of voices, of shouting and laugher, was immeadiately muted. Only one voice stayed with her. I didn’t mean for it to happen.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNo one else can have you, Kathleen Hale (380 pages)Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 689 , no, 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer. (Goodreads)

First lines: A police officer comforts a woman on the shoulder of a rural highway. Behind them is a cornfield,. The corn is shoulde high, not yet ready to be harvested. The officer has on a Green Bay Packers hat, and the woman is wearing a sweatshirt decorated in teddy bear appliques. She is clutching a cellphone and crying hysterically. She and her husband own the cornfield. She’s just found something terrible in there.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBoy on the edge, Fridrik Erlings ( 219 pages)Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. (Goodreads)

First lines: Once again, a book open in front of him, a sea of letters floating before his eyes, the sweat forming on his brow, the pain in his stomach like he’s being punched from the inside. And the whole class around him, holding their breath, waiting for him to read out loud, waiting for him to read out loud, waiting to burst out laughing.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPawn, Aimee Carter (343 pages)For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand. (Goodreads)

First lines: Risking my life to steal an orange was a stupid thing to do, but today of all days, I didn’t care about the consequences. If I were lucky, the Shields would throw me to the ground and put a bullet in my brain. Sead at seventeen. It would be a relief.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGilded, Christina Farley (339 pages) Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.But that’s not Jae’s only problem.
There’s also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for. (Goodreads)

First lines: Stillness fills the empty stage as I press the horn bow to my body and notch and arrow. I pull back the string. The power of it courses through me, a sizzling dire in my veins. I squint just enough so the mark crystallises while everything around it blurs.

Image courtesy of SyndeticsWho I’m not, Ted Satunton (186 pages) Danny has survived everything life has thrown at him: being abandoned at birth, multiple abusive foster homes, life as a con man in training. But when his latest “protector” dies suddenly, Danny has to think fast or he’ll be back in foster care again. He decides to assume the identity of a boy who disappeared three years before. If nothing else, he figures it will buy him a little time. Much to his astonishment, his new “family” accepts him as their own–despite the fact that he looks nothing like their missing relative. But one old cop has his suspicions about Danny–and he’s not about to declare the case close(Goodreads)

First lines: It’s easier to tell you who I’m not. I’m not Kerry Ludwig or Sean Callahan. I’m not David Alvierez or Peter McLeod or Frank Rolfe. I’ve kind of wished I was David Alvierez. I don’t look Latino or anything, but it sounds exotic. Anyway, I’ve been all those guys, but none of them was me.

New Non-fiction

Book cover courtesy of SyneticsThe Nazi hunters: how a team of spies and survivors captured the world’s most notorious Nazi, Neil Bascomb, (215 pages)A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction. In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials — one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. (Goodreads)

First lines: A remote stretch of unlit road on a windy night. Two cars appear out of the darkness. One of them, a Chevrolet, slows to a halt. and its headlights blink off. The Buick drives some distance farther, then turns onto Garibaldi Street, where it too stops and its lights turn off.