Finder’s Shore, by Anna Mackenzie (218 pages) – This, the ‘gripping finale to the award-winning Sea-Wreck Stranger Trilogy’, has Ness returning back to the island she fled from three years previously. A ‘haunting exploration of belonging, of life’s tangled threads, of the stark and unsettling reality of ambition and greed.’ Look for it in next year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, and say to yourself, “man, that guy on that library blog was right – again”.
First lines: ‘Blood binds me to this place. Blood and memory.‘
King of Ithaka, by Tracy Barrett (261 pages) – Telemachos is the son of Odysseus, king of Ithaka, and although the island has been doing okay without its ruler (who has been dealing with the Trojan War) for many years, the people are getting restless. They want a new king! So Telemachos leaves home to find his dad with only a cryptic prophecy to guide him.
First line: ‘Brax snorted and stamped, his bony knee grazing my ear.‘
Bad Taste in Boys, by Carrie Harris (201 pages) – Kate Grable wants to become a physician, so when she gets to help her high school football team she’s thrilled, as it’s a nice career move. And she also has a crush on the quarterback. However, the idiot coach has been giving the team steroids which somehow turn the team into zombies who crave the ‘other’ white meat, if you know what I mean (i.e., they literally want to eat Kate and her pals). Can Kate find an antidote? Or will she be food?
First line: ‘“You’re one of thos genius types,” said Coach, nudging me with a beefy elbow.‘
The Unidentified, by Rae Mariz (296 pages) – It is … the future! But it’s a dystopian future, sadly. Fifteen-year-old Katey goes to school in a mall/school (‘The Game‘) run by corporations, who use the students for market research and product creation. One day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank, and by following the clues she discovers a counterculture group who call themselves The Unidentified. They too become part of the marketing they so dislike, so Katey decides to do something that could change The Game forEVER!
First lines: ‘If reality TV cameras were installed in my high school, the would be focused directly on the Pit. That’s where all the drama plays out.‘
Picture The Dead, by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (262 pages) – I am having trouble summarising this book, so here’s the catalogue; ‘After Jennie Lovell’s fiancé, Will, is killed during the Civil War, she forms an alliance with a spirit photographer and uses her ability to talk to the dead to investigate the secrets Will was hiding and how he really died.’ This book (a ghost story and a mystery!) has many lovely illustrations!
First line: ‘It’s dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn. I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible.‘
Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt : And Other Things I learned in Southern Belle Hell, by Crickett Rumley (296 pages) – Deliquent seventeen-year-old Jane has been expelled from thirteen boarding schools, and so is sent back to the small town in Alabama her family comes from. There she finds herself stuck in Magnolia Maid Pageant hell, where everyone wears pearls and those massive Gone With The Wind-type dresses covered in ruffles and lace and drink sweet tea and eat fried green tomatoes. Can she escape, or will they make a Southern belle out of her?
First line: ‘There’s a whole chapter in the Magnolia Court Orientation Handbook titled “Manners Befitting a Maid Upon Announcement of Selection to the Court.”‘
The Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (298 pages) – Ben and Sheere are twins. When just wee babies in Calcutta, they were rescued from an unthinkable threat. Later, in the 1930s and on their sixteenth birthday, it reappears and so they – and a secret society of orphans – must face ‘the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces’. This book is translated from the Spanish, which suggests that it’s probably going to be quite creepy somehow (the scariest night of my life was due to a Spanish horror film. It haunts me still).
First line: ‘Shortly after midnight, a boat emerged out of the mist that rose like a fetid curse from the surface of the Hooghly River.‘
Mostly Good Girls, by Leila Sales (347 pages) – Catalogue, please: ‘Sixteen-year-olds Violet and Katie, best friends since seventh grade despite differences in their family backgrounds and abilities, are pulled apart during their junior year at Massachusetts’ exclusive Westfield School.’ “Brilliant, poignant, and straight-up hilarious,” says Lauren Oliver. “Recommend this to fans of Meg Cabot’s novels and academy-based stories,” argues Booklist. “Suggest this one to readers who enjoy the writing style of Ally Carter. A strong debut that is not be missed,” adds School Library Journal, knowingly.
First lines: ‘Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr’s Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School.‘
Payback Time, by Carl Deuker (298 pages) – Mitch wants to be a writer, so he becomes – a little reluctantly! – the sports reporter for his high school’s newspaper. The football (not soccer, or even rugby, but gridiron) team’s quarterback, Angel, is obviously really talented at his ball-handling abilities, but doesn’t appear too keen to show them on the field. And the coach never lets him anyway. What gives, Angel? What’s the story here? Mitch is determined to find out, ‘in this thriller both thought-provoking and suspenseful.’
First lines: ‘I’m going to be a famous reporter. My name – Daniel True – will be on the front page of the New York Times.’
The Anti-Prom, by Abby McDonald (280 pages) – Three girls, each somehow done a wrong by the guys who were supposed to take them to the school prom, decide to seek revenge and ‘team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge.’ Sort of like Carrie but funnier and not a horror. Heh. Eh heh heh.
First lines: ‘He doesn’t kiss me like that. That’s the first thing I think when I find Kaitlin Carter getting to second base with my boyfriend in the back of our rental limo.‘
An Act of Love, by Alan Gibbons (295 pages) – When only seven-years-old, besties Chris and Imran became blood brothers. Now, eleven years later, one has joined the army and is serving in Afghanistan, and the other is a potential jihad recruit. They certainly aren’t friends anymore. ‘Will their childhood bond be strong enough to overcome an extremist plot?’
First lines: ‘you think you’re invincible when you’re a kid. Invincible, that’s a laugh.‘
The Poison Eaters And Other Stories, by Holly Black (212 pages) – A collection of stories, all ‘gritty, grim, and fabulous’, by the author of the Modern Faerie Tales (some of the stories in this collection are in the same setting) and the Spiderwick Chronicles. To sweeten the deal! there are illustrations.
The Emerald Casket : The Billionaire Trilogy Book II, by Richard Newsome (378 pages) - This continues this detective/mystery series about a billionaire (lucky!) who recovers stolen jewels, solves murders, and has some pretty sweet adventures. (The author, Richard Newsom, was born in New Zealand. We shall claim him as our own.)
First lines: ‘A meaty hand slapped down on top of the alarm clock. Of all the sounds that Constable Lethbridge of the London Metropolitan Police might want to hear on a Sunday, a buzzer at six o’clock in the morning was not high on the list.‘
Infinity : Chronicles of Nick, by Sherrilin Kenyon (464 pages) – This is the first in a series, I guess? About Nick Gautier, who is sarcastic and wise to the ways of the streets. He is accidently drawn into the world of the Dark-Hunters*, and there are vampires, werewolves, and zombies, everywhere.
*These are a related series for adults. This is her first YA book
First lines: ‘Free will. Some have called it the greatest gift bestowed on humanity.‘
The Boneshaker, by Kate Milford (372 pages) – Natalie’s love of machinery means only she is able to save her small Missouri town from the threat posed by Doctor Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show. Historical fantasy (it is 1913!) meets steampunk and magic. This book has great illustrations and – this might just be me! – a wicked cool typeface*
First line: ‘Strange things can happen at a crossroads.’
Epitaph Road, by David Patneaude (266 pages) – It is 2097, and a virus has wiped out 97% of all men. Now women rule the world and there is no war, crime, hunger, and poverty. Fourteen-year-old Kellen tries to find his outcast father (the surviving males lead a restricted life) and ‘uncovers a secret so frightening that his life and the future of the world will never be the same again.’
First line: ‘Charlie frowned as muted sunlight leaked through the ragged umbella of evergreen boughs overhead.‘
The Exile of Gigi Lane, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos (340 pages) – The catalogue says, ‘Heathers meets Bring It On in this story of a high school queen bee’s fall from glory,’ which is, if you’ve never seen Heathers, a pretty favourable comparison. Gigi – the high school queen bee – does fall from grace, but she won’t stand for it.
First line: ‘I’m Gigi Lane and you wish you were me. Oh my God, that has to be the most powerful affirmation in the history of the world.‘
Empire of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (298 pages) – This is the second book in a series. As the title might suggest! the series is about vampires. LOADS of them in fact. It is also 1666. (Gary Cross is a NZ writer, so if there’s still an NCEA requirement that you read a NZ author, here’s a good one.)
First line: ‘Fifteen-year-old Mary Shire hated being undead.‘
Here are some non-fiction books! The titles tell you all you need to know, I’m thinking.
Max Your Marks : Tip From Top Students on How to Conquer Year 13, by Rowena Austin, Annie Hastwell, & Dorothy Vinicombe (273 pages)
Living With a Willy : The Inside Story, by Nick Fisher (151 pages)
The Twilight Saga : Eclipse – The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, by Mark Cotta Vaz (140 pages)
Sporting expert, Jack, has compiled a Top 10 5 list of sport websites. If you can add any, leave a comment!
LA Galaxy free training session, featuring David Beckham, will hold a free public training session at the Westpac Stadium on Friday 30 November from 11.00am till 1.00pm. The session will give school kids from around the region a chance to see the Galaxy – and Beckham – at training before their match against the Wellington Phoenix the next day. It’ll also enable football fans to see another international star – newly-appointed Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit. There will be no charge for admission to the training session but in order to manage numbers, schools will be asked to register their interest in attending. So make sure your school does so! Stadium and City Council staff will allocate seating areas at the ground.