The homecoming, Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Dave McKean
The WISP series (Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces) represents an ingenious marriage of two creative forces: the artistry of today’s foremost illustrators and the literary legacy of beloved authors of popular short works for adults. The resulting offspring of this union are captivating, full-color illustrated editions of timeless classics that readers will want to savor and collect. For the first time ever, the series makes selected popular short works previously offered only in collections available in a unique, stand-alone format. Also for the first time, WISPs harness the talents of top illustrators for the benefit and delight of a new, older audience. This WISP presents RAY BRADBURY’S THE HOMECOMING, a little boy’s tale of his family reunion of vampires. This story was initially published in 1946 and later refashioned into further stories. Bringing this story to life are the wondrous illustrations of Dave McKean, whose delightful artwork perfectly matches the tale. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Here they come, said Cecy,” lying there flat in the High Attic dust.
“Where are they?” cried Timothy near the window, staring out.
Unleashed, Sophie Jordan
Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man. Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she’ll be ruled by the kill gene or if she’ll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn’t even know if she can trust herself.
First lines: The man I killed won’t leave me alone. He comes to me at night. The first time he intruded on my dreams I thought it was an isolated thing. A sudden troublesome nightmare that would fade with the night, never to return. But it does. He does. And I begin to realise he’s never going away.
Zafir, Pure Mason
Six months after Zafir has moved to Homs from Dubai with his parents, the excitement of living in a new city has worn off. But then he sees a body thrown from a moving car, and when no one stops to help – and he’s told to forget what he’s seen – he realises there’s a lot he doesn’t understand about life in Syria. A lot that no one will tell him. Soon after, the campaign for revolution in Syria begins, and Zafir’s parents argue about their country’s future. Things get worse when his father is arrested and his mother must leave Homs. As the conflict in the city escalates, everyday life becomes dangerous for a boy alone. (Goodreads)
First lines: Zafir shivered. It was an icy morning in the city of Homs and the wind felt sharp enough to strip the skin from his body. Tetah, his grandmother, has said it might even snow. Zafir hoped it would, but he wished winter didn’t have to be this cold.
The five stages of Andrew Brawley, Shaun David Hutchinson
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived. Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts. But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all. But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
First lines: The boy is on fire. EMTs wheel him into Roanoke General’s sterile emergency room. He screams and writhes on the gurney as though the fire that burned his skin away burns still, flaring deep within his bones, where paramedics and doctors and nurses crowding around him, working desperately, will never be able to extinguish it.
The bargaining, Carly Anne West
The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house. Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.
But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…(Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing I should see is Pop with his belt. He called me from the top of the stairs, so that’s where he should be waiting, leather and buckle in hand, knuckles bulging against his grip.
The winner’s crime, Marie Rutkoski
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret. As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
First lines: She cut herself opening the envelope. Kestrel has been eager, she’d been a fool, tearing into the letter simply because it had been addressed in Herrani script. The letter opener slipped. Seeds of blood hit the paper and bloomed bright.
Under my skin, James Dawnson
Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams. But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’. (Goodreads)
First lines: I can’t say I wasn’t warned. This is what all those stories told us about. This is the dark at the heart of the forest; this is the Big Bad Wolf; this is both the serpent and the apple. There are warnings everywhere – in the Bible, on TV, in nursery rhymes. I always thought they were metaphors or allegories to get me to go to bed, to make me eat my vegetables. I ignored them. I think we all do.
Frozen Charlotte, Alex Bell
We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died. (Goodreads)
First lines: The girls were playing with the Frozen Charlotte dolls again. The schoolmistress had given them some scarps of fabric and ribbon from the sewing room to take out to the garden. They were to practice their embroidery skills by making little dresses and bonnets for the naked porcelain dolls.
“They’ll catch their death of cold otherwise,” the teacher had said.
Quake, Patrick Carman
Faith Daniels and Dylan Gilmore are in love, and they have a special ability called a pulse: they can move things with their minds. They’re caught in the middle of a deadly war with two other pulses: Clara and Wade Quinn, who have joined forces with Hotspur Chance, the most wanted man in the world. At the start of Quake, Faith and Dylan are holed up in a spectacular abandoned mountain lodge (once used in the film The Shining 71 years before), and their Intel friend Hawk leaves them in the middle of the night, in spite of a newly blossoming love with a girl named Jade. Hawk’s plan is to penetrate the Western State and make contact with a sleeper cell working on the inside that will give them valuable information about Hotspur’s violent plan. But while Hawk is searching for answers on the inside, Faith and Dylan are still fighting on the outside. In a series of hair-raising battles, the second pulses duel it out, only to raise the body count on both sides. During the battles, Faith and Dylan discover an even great strength: the power of their combined love. Together, Faith and Dylan might just be able to save the world with a quake that is big enough to change the course of history. (Goodreads)
First lines: I used to draw things and make little notes but I don’t do that anymore. I’m too tired. I’ve let so many details slip away these past months because living is a lot of work or because I grew out of writing things down or I just got lazy. I woke up one day and realised I wasn’t writing things down anymore. I guess it happens.
Burning Kingdoms, Lauren DeStefano
After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.
The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park. It is also a land at war. Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them? (Goodreads)
First lines: Snow. That’s the word the people of the ground have for this wonder.
“Goddamn snow,” our driver mumbles for the second time, as the mechanical arms sweep the dust from the window. It’s like a stab to the heart hearing a god referred to so unkindly. I wonder which god he means.