Hold me like a breath, Tiffany Schmidt
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants. Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily. And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever. All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks. (Goodreads)
First lines: One upon a time – nine years ago, to be exact- I didn’t know anything about the Family Business. My parents wanted it this way, and since my father was head of the Family, his wishes were obeyed without question. My childhood was spend being loved and coddled by members of my family and members of the Family – I was taken for walks by my Father’s second-in-command, flew kites with his enforcers, and played board games with my older brother, Carter. I was constantly told I was the most fragile person on the estate…and the most fragile.
Everything, everything, Nicola Yoon
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. (Goodreads)
First lines: I’ve read many more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me, I have time. In my white room, against my white walls, on my glistening white bookshelves, book spines provide the only colour. The books are all brand-new hardcovers- no germy secondhand softcovers for me.
Six impossible things, Fiona Wood
Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things…(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s this girl I know. I know her by heart. I know her in every way but one: actuality. Her name is Estelle. I yearn for her. She walks in beauty – yes, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies – with one iPod earbud in at all times- the soundtrack of her life.
Even when you lie to me, Jessica Alcott
Charlie, a senior, isn’t looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom. But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he’s the only one who gets her.She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush.(Goodreads)
First lines: The day I turned eighteen was the day Mr. Drummond left for good. I was never a pretty girl. I knew it more from other people’s silences than from anything they said. They didn’t call me beautiful. They didn’t say I was winsome or sexy or gorgeous. They told me I was smart.
The escape, Hannah Jayne
When two boys walk into the woods, and one comes out covered in blood, what would you believe? Fletcher and Adam venture into the woods for an afternoon hike, but when day turns into night and neither boy returns, their town is thrown into turmoil. Avery, the detective’s daughter, is the one to find Fletcher—dishelved, disoriented, and covered in blood. He has no memory of what happened, but Avery can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. When Adam’s body is finally found, Avery is determined to uncover the truth. But if she stands by her gut, and Fletcher, is she standing by a friend, or a murderer? The answer might cost her life.(Goodreads)
First lines: “Come on, loser!” Adam yelled over his shoulder.
Fletcher could hear Adam’s laughter echoing back at him as he pumped his legs, intent on keeping the deep green of Adam’s jacket in sight as he dodged through the forest. There was no way Fletcher could catch Adam unless Adam stopped or dropped dead.
Cheating for the chicken man, Priscilla Cummings
Thirteen-year-old Kate Tyler must ask herself how far she will go to protect her older brother, J.T., when he returns home after nearly a year in a juvenile detention facility, only to find himself ostracized and bullied as he attempts to make a fresh start. Kate compromises her own values and risks getting herself into serious trouble as she launches a secret campaign to protect her brother long enough for him to find his place in the family – and in the world – again.(Goodreads)
First lines: The funeral was on a warm October day with a high blue sky and a single wispy white cloud that drifted, waiting like an angel, Kate though. Her mother said they had been to Arlington National Cemetery before, when Kate’s grandfather was buried, but that was ten years ago, when Kate was only two, and she didn’t remember.
One, Sarah Crossan
Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body. Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy. But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi. How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives? (Goodreads)
First lines: Here
And we are living.
Isn’t that amazing?
How we manage
Cut both ways, Carrie Mesrobian
Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy. Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly? Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home. Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most. (Goodreads).
First lines: You get used to it, divorce. Since fourth grade, I’ve lived in two different houses and while that sounds kind of crazy, especially for a little kid, you get used to it. Used to your parents not being together, to scenery changing every other week.
It’s about love, by Steven Camden
Real life is messier than the movies. A bold, thought-provoking novel from the exceptionally talented, Steven Camden. He’s Luke. She’s Leia. Just like in Star Wars. Just like they’re made for each other. Same film studies course, different backgrounds, different ends of town. Only this isn’t a film. This is real life. This is where monsters from the past come back to take revenge. This is where you are sometimes the monster. But real life? Sometimes, only sometimes, it turns out just like in the movies…… maybe. (Goodreads)
First lines: Black.
Hum of a strip light and radio static as a dial tries to find a station. Fade up to a face. Young man. Wheat-coloured skin. Dark hair cropped close. Radio static settles on ‘Fly me to the moon’.
The letter for the king, Tonke Dragt
On the night of his final vigil before being knighted, Tiuri answers a request to deliver an urgent letter to a distant kingdom across the Great Mountains–a journey that will threaten his life and teach him the true meaning of what it is to be a knight. (Publisher’s summary).
First lines: This is a tale of long ago, when knights still roamed the land. It takes place in two kingdoms: the land of King Dagonaut, to the east of the Great Mountains, and the land King Unauwen, to the west of the Great Mountains. The capital cities of these two realms also bear the name of their kings: the City of Dagonaut and the City of Unauwen. A third land also plays an important part in this tale, but now is not the the time for stories of this place.
A thousand nights, E.K Johnston
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next. And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong. Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air. Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.(Goodreads)
First lines: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village looking for a wife. She that he chose of us would be a hero. She would give the others life. Lo-Melkhiin would not return to the same village until he had married a girl from every camp, from every town and from every district inside the city walls – for that was the law, struck in desperation though it was.
The big lie, Julie Mayhew
Jessika Keller is a good girl: she obeys her father, does her best to impress Herr Fisher at the Bund Deutscher Mädel meetings and is set to be a world champion ice skater. Her neighbour Clementine is not so submissive. Outspoken and radical, Clem is delectably dangerous and rebellious. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend. But which can she live without?(Goodreads)
First lines: I am a good girl. It is my most defining feature. And that’s the truth. If you’d asked anyone on Lincoln Drive or at the elite school, they’d have told you. Jessika Keller? Oh, she is a superior girl, upstanding, immaculate.
Baba Yaga’s assistant, Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll
Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, and that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house on chicken legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! (Goodreads)
The rules, Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Junior Robin Brisset has no idea what she’s in for when she accepts an invitation to one of Callabrese High’s most exclusive parties. And when the trademark scavenger hunt begins, Robin must go against every rule she’s lived by to survive.(Goodreads)
First lines: Flames raged along the cliff. Pine trees and manzaita bushes ignited with a whirlwind whoosh, the steam rising off Robin’s sopping-wet jeans as she zigzagged toward the beach like a desperate rabbit inches ahead of the fire. Salt and embers clogged the air.
Each month we get new e-stuff, which is available to borrow for three weeks for free, with free reserves!
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell. We now have this very popular novel as an eBook, so if the print copy is never on the shelf when you want it this is an alternative (although I note our 3 eBook copies are out just as I type this, but! you never know!). Also, we really recommend it!
A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas. Published this year, this is the first book in a new series (we think) by the author of the Throne of Glass books, featuring faeries of the menacing kind; not very rainbow magic. (Incidentally we also have e versions of the Throne of Glass series.)
Edgewater, Courtney Sheinmel. The print version of this book just arrived yesterday, so the eBook won the race. Edgewater is the name of the falling-down dilapidated house on the cover. The story’s about Lorrie, who wrestles with being the poor kid in a rich town, until she meets Charlie (rich kid in rich town) and discovers she’s not the only one with shameful secrets, and in fact there might be a connection between hers and Charlie’s.
Very soon (like, tomorrow we hope) we will also have available: Happily Ever After, Kiera Cass. The print version of this won the race, just, so if you’ve reserved it it’s probably on its way to a library near you. This is the collection of Selection short stories and extras, much anticipated. We have other Selection eBooks also, starting with the first one on eBook and eAudiobook.
If you spend all day looking at text and reading a book is the last thing you want to do, we’ve got lots of listening options instead! We have a collection of books on CD, or if you don’t do CDs there are eAudioBooks courtesy of Overdrive and Borrowbox.
So what’s popular?
The Fault in our Stars, John Green
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen (a great way to make sense of things once you’ve read the text!)
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
The Selection, Kiera Cass
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Th1rteen R3asons Why, Jay Asher
Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
So borrow an audiobook very soon! If the one you want is not on the shelf/available they are free to reserve on a YA card. CDs are 4 week issue (free on a YA card) and eAudioBooks are 3 week issue (completely free).
Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale retelling? Nobody, that’s who! So here’s three different authors with three (very!) different versions of Sleeping Beauty.
Spindle’s end / Robin McKinley
“A masterful retelling of “Sleeping Beauty.” Cursed by the evil fairy Pernicia, Princess Briar-Rose is kidnapped by the young fairy Katriona in order to save her and is raised by Katriona and her aunt. But the determined Pernicia, intent on revenge for a defeat 400 years before, won’t give up her search.” (Syndetics summary)
A long, long sleep / Anna Sheehan.
“It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone– and her future full of peril. Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose– hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire– is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes– or be left without any future at all.” (Syndetics summary)
Briar Rose / Jane Yolen
“Rebecca has always loved listening to her grandmother’s stories about Briar Rose. However, the old woman’s astonishing and hard-to-believe admission that she “is” Briar Rose sets Rebecca on an unforgettable path of self-discovery that will change her life forever.” (Syndetics summary)
Because you’ll never meet me, Leah Thomas
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him. (Goodreads)
First lines: Dear Fellow Hermit,
My name is Oliver, but most people who meet me end up calling me Ollie. I guess you don’t really have to, though, because odds are you’ll never meet me. I can never travel to wherever you are, because what makes me a hermit is the fact that I’m deathly allergic to electricity. This is kind of massively incapacitating, but hey – everyone has problems, right?
Six of crows, Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. (Goodreads)
First lines: Joost had two problems: the moon and his moustache. He was supposed to be making his rounds at the Hoede house, but for the last fifteen minutes, he’d been hovering around the southeast wall of the gardens, trying to think of something clever and romantic to say to Anya.
Blood will tell, April Henry
When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward teen who lives only a few blocks away, owns several knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of a Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late? (Goodreads)
First lines: Freshly spilled blood is wet, shiny, and startlingly crimson. Newly exposed bone is a pearly, glowing white. Blood and bones. Before the night was out, Nick Walker would see things that would drop him to his knees. Before the week was out, he would do things he would have said were impossible. And he would learn truths that he would desperately wish were lies.
Skyscraping, Cordelia Jensen
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time. (Goodreads)
First lines: I have everything I need.
My bag. My key.
The security man knows my name,
lets me in.
Soon the school will be full:
for now, quiet, empty.
Ash and bramble, Sarah Prineas
A prince. A ball. A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight. The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after.
But it is not the true Story. A dark fortress. A past forgotten. A life of servitude. No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny. (Goodreads)
First lines: Your world is dark. You fear the dark. You fear pain and sickness and loss and sorrow; you fear that your life is meaningless. You fear death, that most terrible of endings. You huddle around the brightly burning fire in the hearth, and you tell stories. Your stories are about good people finding happiness, about getting what they deserve, and most of all, you tell about true love. Your stories make the fire burn brighter; your stories push back the darkness.
We’re starting to order some great looking fiction that will be coming out next year. March looks like a fantastic month; we’ll let you know about that in a few weeks, but in the mean time here’s a couple of Februaries.
Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard. This is the sequel to the action-packed Red Queen, a sort of dystopian-fantasy class struggle. “Mare Barrow’s blood is red – the color of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince – the friend – who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known – and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.” (goodreads.com)
Riders, Veronica Rossi. The new novel by the author of the Under the Never Sky trilogy. “For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does. Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen – Conquest, Famine, and Death – are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence. They fail. Now – bound, bloodied, and drugged – Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for – not to mention all of humankind – he needs to convince the sceptical government officials the world is in imminent danger. But will anyone believe him?” (goodreads.com) The four horsemen of the apocalypse? Excellent!
The newly released Top Teen Reads has inspired this librarian to take on a reading challenge – to read all 80 titles on the list. Whew! Here we go…
1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
First line: It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomach ache.
This award winning book, and Anderson’s first novel, was very moving and powerful. Her narrative and writing successfully pulls you inside the head of Melinda – a high school junior trying to come to terms with a horrific event that happened to her over the summer holidays.
Melinda is an intelligent and witty observer of high school life, seen from her point of view as a hated and mute outcast. Melinda struggles through the school year; wanting to participate and engage with school life but finding herself unable to do so due to her loss of faith and trust in her friends, family and other students. Eventually circumstances force her to break her silence and speak out about the traumatic summer holiday events, unveiling the mystery behind her selective muteness, in order to protect others from suffering the same fate.
Speak is a fairly quick and easy read – the book is short and the story engaging, and will make you wonder what is really going on in other people’s lives that you have no idea about.
Highly recommended – 4 stars
Pick up your copy of the Top Teen Reads from any Wellington City Library, and start your own reading challenge
Way down dark, J.P Smythe
There’s one truth on Australia: You fight or you die. Usually both. Seventeen-year-old Chan’s ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.
The only life that Chan’s ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive. But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead. Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery – a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger. And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain. (Goodreads)
First lines: The story goes that Earth was much older than the scientists though. We had assumed that we had billions of years left; that we would be totally prepared if the worst happened. Maybe that made us complacent. We thought that we understood what we were doing to the planet. We thought we had time to fix it.
An island of our own, Sally Nicholls
Siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family’s wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they’re not the only ones after the treasure… (Goodreads)
First lines: I told my brother Jonathan I was going to write a book about all the things that happened to us last year. About the home-made spaceships, and the lock pickers, and the thermal lances, and the exploding dishwasher, and the island that was old when the Vikings came, and Auntie Irene’s treasure, and all the things that happened before we found it.
Fire colour one, Jenny Valentine
A teenage girl will soon discover, there are some things which burn even brighter than fire. Iris’s father Ernest is at the end of his life. Her best friend Thurston seems like a distant memory to her. Her mother has declared war. She means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection so that she can afford to live the high life. But Ernest has other ideas.
There are things he wants Iris to know. Things he can tell her and things that must wait till he’s gone. What she does after that is up to her.(Goodreads)
First lines: At my father’s funeral, after everything, I lit a great big fire in his honour, built from stacked apple crates and broken furniture and pieces of a dallen-down tree. It towered over the scrubby piece of land I call the bonfire garden, and blazed, too far gone to fight, against the blazing afternoon.
Stone Rider, David Hofmeyr
Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive. The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury. And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything. (Goodreads)
First lines: Here for blood. Three dark Riders. In single file. They rise with bursts of spped, angled back in their seats, arms shaking as they steer their wild machines. Three Riders on low-slung, otherworldly bykes that catch the sun and bristle. Dort clings to their gold-mirrored sun-visors and their gleaming riding suits. They muscle across a wind-hammered landscape, riding up the slope of a dark mountain.
The six, Mark Alpert
Adam’s muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam’s only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero. Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam’s game. Created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam’s life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam’s dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son. Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat…before Sigma destroys humanity. (Goodreads)
First lines: I’m watching a virtual-reality program on one of my Dad’s computers. I wear a pair of VR goggles – a bulky headset that holds a six-inch-wide screen in front of my eyes- and on the screen I see a simulated football field. It looks like the field behind Yorktown High School but better, nicer.
Omega City, Diana Peterfreund
Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to the middle of nowhere, but Gillian knows he’s right and plans to prove it. When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey into the ruins of Omega City, a vast doomsday bunker deep inside the earth. But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried . . . forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: It started with a fire. When Eric and I walked through the front door, we were met by a wall of gray haze filling the rooms of the cottage, hot and thick and smelling very strongly of charred meat. My brother gave me a look.
“Third time this month.”
“You get the oven,” I suggested, coughing. “I’ll make sure Dad’s still conscious.”
The huntress of Thornbeck forest, Melanie Dickerson
Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game. Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers? The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher? (Goodreads)
First lines: The tip of the arrow found its mark, a perfect shot through the deer’s heart and lungs. The animal took two steps forward, then a side step. and fell over. Odette’s five men – more boys than men, as they were about forteen years old – darted out of the cover of the bushes and ran towards the animal that feed at least four families.
Three day summer, Sarvenaz Tash
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer. Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries. When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…(Goodreads)
First lines: “You. Are. A. Candy. Cane.”
The boy grips me by the arms, his enormous glassy eyes staring right at my chest through his long bangs. Under normal circumstances, I would feel terrified and violated. Instead I roll my eyes.
“He means candy striper,” Anna says as she zips across the tent, brining paper cups of water to the zoned-out patients slumped against the far side.
Into the dangerous world, Julie Chibbaro
17-year old Ror comes from the boonies and is tough as nails and all she really cares about is drawing and painting and making art. She ends up in the ghetto that was Manhattan in 1984, where she discovers that the walls, the subways, the bridges are covered with art. Before long, she runs into trouble with Trey, the ultimate bad boy and president of Noise Ink, a graffiti crew she desperately wants to join at all costs. When Ror falls in love with Trey, she realizes she’ll do just about anything to get up in the scene. She has some decisions to make: she wants to be a street artist but she doesn’t want get shot by the cops; she wants her stuff in the museum but she doesn’t want to die waiting to become famous; she wants to makes money selling her work in a gallery but she doesn’t want to be a puppet at the mercy of a dealer. The book follows her descent into a dangerous world, where her drawings are her only salvation. (Goodreads)
First lines: The night Dado burned down our house, he came upstairs and into my room. In his arms, he cradled a thick roll of brown butcher paper that he must have bought near the chemical plant where he worked. He smelled of sulphur, like a lit match. I hunched over my sketches on the wood floor, drawing the serrated edge of a knife, sharp and ready for a heart.
Survival strategies of the almost brave, Jen White
After their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station. Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.
When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found. (Goodreads)
First lines: Fake it. That’s definitely number one in my notebook. All people do it. Faking it could save your life. Just then, I was faking it. Writing in my notebook, like I had a purpose. A reason for being here. Like I had all of the time in the world to sit outside this sun-scorched gas station, waiting. I should have known better. All my natural instincts told me not to trust him.
Goodbye stranger, Rebecca Stead
Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games–or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl–as a friend? On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight? (Goodreads)
First lines: When she was eight years old, Bridget Barsamain woke up in a hospital, where a doctor told her she shouldn’t be alive. It was possible that he was complimenting her heart’s determination to keep pumping when half her blood was still uptown on 114th Street, but more likely he was scolding her for roller-skating into traffic the way she had.
Shadows of Sherwood, Kekla Magoon
The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown’s merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can’t rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.(Goodreads)
First lines: The sign on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS. Robyn scaled it anyway. Dogs? As in plural? she thought, as she laced her fingers in the chain link, wedged the toes of her boots into the diamond-shaped spaces, and climbed. That could be a problem. There were plenty of problems tonight.
Joe all alone, Joanna Nadin
When thirteen-year-old Joe is left behind in Peckham while his mum flies to Spain on holiday, he decides to treat it as an adventure, and a welcome break from Dean, her latest boyfriend. Joe begins to explore his neighbourhood, making a tentative friendship with Asha, a fellow fugitive hiding out at her grandfather’s flat. But when the food and money run out, his mum doesn’t come home, and the local thugs catch up with him, Joe realises time is running out too, and makes a decision that will change his life forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: I should know something’s up right from the off, because when I get in Dean isn’t on the sofa playing Xbox, there’s just that big dip there instead and a stain where he spilt Cherry 20/20 that time. And Mum has this smile on her like she’s on a TV game show, all stretched so wife you think her face is going to crack.
The hired girl, Laura Amy Schlitz
Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. (Goodreads)
First lines: Today Miss Chandley gave me this beautiful book. I vow that I will never forget her kindness to me, and I will use this book as she told me to – I will write in it with truth and refinement.
“I’m so sorry you won’t be coming back to school,” Miss Chandler said to me, and at those words, the floodgates opened, and I wept most bitterly.
The last good day of the year, Jessica Warman
Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder. Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.(Goodreads)
First lines: Midnight had come and gone, but Remy and I were still awake. How could anyone expect us to sleep with all the activity going on above us? Our mothers had tucked us into our sleeping bags hours ago, but the adults had continued their party upstairs.
Ruthless,Carolyn Lee Adams
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless. When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose. At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before. The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive. Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were. (Goodreads)
First lines: I can’t see. I don’t know why I can’t see. I do know I was just dreaming. Running in a white dress through a field of wildflowers, no less. It was like a commercial for laundry detergent or tampons or a prescription medication that has death listed as a possible side effect. The dream is embarrassing, but it’s better than the here and now.
The singing bones, Shaun Tan (Foreword by Philip Pulman, introduction by Jack Zipes.)
A unique and alluring art book showcasing Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures based on the timeless and compelling fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures. Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.(Goodreads)
First lines: It had always been my belief that, despite the multitude of beautifully illustrated editions of fairy tale collections that have piled up over the years, the best way to illustrate these little masterpieces of narrative is not to do it at all.
Introducing a mystery, some futuristic suspense, and an old/new book from the queen of book covers with spectacular dresses.
The Siren, Kiera Cass (January 2016). This is a re-release of a novel the author wrote before the best selling Selection series. “‘You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won’t lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time…’ The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can’t bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she’s been waiting for doesn’t seem nearly as important as the one she’s living now.” (goodreads.com)
These Shallow Graves, Jennifer Donnelly. “Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.” (goodreads.com)
The Game of Lives, James Dashner. “Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life. The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.” (goodreads.com)