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.‘
We have loads of new books. We are overwhelmed! Something to do with the financial year ending, and budgets being spent. Today is the first day of the new financial year, so happy new financial year? Let us celebrate with some new YA fiction, as is traditional from times gone by.
Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry (458 pages) – It is the near future. And the world is no longer safe for anyone, thanks to a zombie apocalypse. Humans live in small settlements, and all teens have to start working at the age of 15 or they won’t get fed. Benny, who has just hit 15, reluctantly agrees to become a zombie-killing bounty hunter with his dull brother, Tom. What he thought would be a boring (!) job turns out to be … not boring at all.
First line: ‘Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.‘
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird (423 pages) - Sixteen-year-old Maggie is accused of witchcraft, and flees for her life. For it is Scotland during the 1600s! Her grandmother, also accused, is hanged, so Maggie runs to her uncle’s place. Her uncle is part of a movement rebelling against the English crown, and she can not entirely escape her past (the whole ‘witch’ thing) when an old enemy puts in an appearance.
First line: ‘I was the first one to see the dead whale lying on the sand at Scalpsie bay.‘
You Killed Wesley Payne : A Novel, by Sean Beaudoin (359 pages) – Dalton Rev has just transferred to a new school. Dalton is a ‘hard-boiled PI’ and also seventeen, and he is going to take on his hardest case ever; to discover who killed Wesley Payne? A ’smart, slick, and hilarious detective novel.’
First line: ‘Dalton Rev thundered into the parking lot of Salt River High, a squat brick building at the top of a grassless hill that looked more like the last stop of the hopeless than a springboard to the college of your choice.‘
Pull, by B. A. Binns (310 pages) – David is (understandably!) distraught after his father kills his mother, and he – and his sisters – move to a new, tough inner-city school in Chicago. He tries to make a new life for himself, all the while dealing with the burden of his grief, but ends up having to make a very difficult choice; to take a basketball scholarship, or quit school to work and support his family.
First line: ‘It’s fourth period, and so far not one teacher has questioned who I am.‘
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre (262 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘In a post-apocalyptic future, 15-year-old Deuce, a loyal Huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the Freaks outside her enclave, but when she is partnered with the mysterious outsider, Fade, she begins to see that the strict ways of the elders may be wrong – and dangerous.’ According to Publishers Weekly, this book is for fans of The Hunger Games. Which is nearly everyone! So you can’t go wrong.
First line: ‘I was born during the second holocaust.‘
Divergent, by Veronica Roth (487 pages) – Another dystopian story! This is the first in a series set in a future Chicago, where everyone at the age of 16 must choose one of five factions to join. Each faction is dedicated to a certain virtue. Beatrice Prior has to choose between staying with her family or being true to herself (i.e., she doesn’t belong to any one faction and is, in fact, a Divergent.) She very quickly discovers that her world isn’t as perfect as she thought. ’Edgy,’ says Publishers Weekly. ‘Definately not for the fainthearted,’ they add.
First lines: ‘There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.‘
How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy, by Crystal Allen (283 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lamar is a champion ten-pin bowler, but he is overshadowed by his uber-talented basketball-playing older brother. Lamar has no luck with the ladies, either. So a scheme to make money backfires he ruins his brother’s chance at getting into college as well as every relationship in his life. How can he mend everything? How?! ‘Heartwarming and humorous.’
First line: ‘Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.‘
Like Mandarin, by Kirsten Hubbard (388 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When shy, awkward fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter is paired with the beautiful and wild Mandarin on a school project, an unlikely, explosive friendship begins, but all too soon, Grace discovers that Mandarin is a very troubled, even dangerous, girl.’ Thanks, catalogue!
First line: ‘The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.‘
The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff (343 pages) – Mackie Doyle is a changeling, and was left in a human baby’s crib 16 years ago; although he would rather fit in to our world, all the iron, blood, and consecrated ground here are slowly killing him. When Tate – the girl he fancies – loses her baby sister, Mackie is drawn back to Mayhem to try to find her. Here’s the catalogue’s summary (I know I keep copying from it, but this sounds really good!); ‘“Edward Scissorhands” meets “The Catcher in the Rye” in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.‘
First line: ‘I don’t remember any of the true, important parts, but there’s this dream I have.‘
The Lost Tohunga, by David Blair (368 pages) – Mat is on holiday in Taupo, and all he wants to do there is study and catch up with his magical mentor. But! Warlocks, determined to dominate the hidden land of Aoteoroa, seek Te Iho, and soon Mat is caught up in a deadly no-holds-barred struggle. This is the sequel to The Taniwha’s Tear, itself the sequel to The Bone Tiki.
First line: ‘Auckland, 1956 – Whenever the girl heard the crunch of boots on the gravel path outside, she imagined that her father had come to take her away.‘
So! Here are some film trailers. And a book trailer.
The final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt2 trailer is out! (We have the first part at the library, in case you can’t remember it? There was a lot of marching about in a forest?) Go Mrs Weasley!
Attack the Block. We love this trailer. Hope you like it too.
Katie Alender’s book, Bad Girls Don’t Die, has a sequel coming out soon. It is titled From Bad to Cursed, and here is its spooky trailer.
The Muppets official trailer!
The 53rd Grammy Awards were held earlier this week in Los Angeles. There were plenty of notable stories from the event, Lady Gaga dressed up as an egg for example. But the one that amused us the most was the reaction to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs winning album of the year, it seems that a large chunk of music fans around the world didn’t even know who they were. And were outraged. Which was hilarious.
We here at Teen Blog clearly approved of the decision as it was the only album of the year nominee on our Librarian’s Choice page.
Trance, by Linda Gerber (277 pages) – Whenever Ashlyn falls into a trance it means that someone she knows is about to die. And there’s nothing she can do about it! Stink. But! When just as her trances begin to involve (love interest) Jake, she develops a certain understanding and control.
First lines: ‘Sounds are what I remember most. The crunch of metal on metal. Shattering glass. Screams.‘
Wereling, by Steve Feasey (276 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Trey is the last in a bloodline of werewolves, one of the ‘few things that can actually take on a vampire.’ Is he human? Or is he a werewolf? Yes to both, I guess. He is also falling for a girl who is half vampire, just to confuse matters.
First line: ‘Trey Laporte opened his eyes, wincing against the assault of the late-morning sunshine on his retinas.‘
Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler (177 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Lisabeth is anorexic, and has subsequently? been appointed to the role of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. “Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking,” and a “fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter.”
First lines: ‘Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. She had a love affair with food, and she’d never liked horses (never mind the time she asked for a pony when whe was eight; that was just a girl thing).‘
Lucy Unstrung, by Carole Lazar (235 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lucy’s mother had her when she – the mother, not Lucy! – was only fifteen. Lucy’s faith in her Grandmother, God and the Church are put to the test as her family’s income is reduced and relationships go awry. “Humour, angst, and irony.”
First line: ‘When my mom finally walks in the door at nine-fifteen, she acts like nothing’s wrong at all.‘
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa (359 pages) – Meghan is half human, and half Summer faery princess. She is a prisoner of the Winter faery queen – war is a’brewing between Summer and Winter – but she knows that the Iron fey are the real danger. Oh and she’s lost her powers and no one believes her. Yow.
First line: ‘The Iron King stood before me, magnificant in his beauty, silver hair whipping about like an unruly waterfall.‘
Freefall, by Mindi Scott (315 page) – Seth, a bass player in a teen rock band, was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive. Now he has to deal with that, alcoholism, and falling in love with Rosetta, who carries her own baggage (emotional baggage, not actual bags, though sometimes she might).
First lines: ‘This was Daniel’s deal. He’d taken the order, contacted a supplier, and set it all up.‘
Quaking, by Kathryn Erskine (236 pages) – Matilda, or Matt as she prefers, is a goth girl who goes to live with a Quaker family in Pennsylvania. Her new town is deeply patriotic (about the war in the Middle East) and threats of violence against her new family mesh unhappily with her experience with bullying.
First line: ‘Families come in all varieties but with no warranties.‘
Inferno, by Robin Stevenson (229 pages) – Dante dislikes her high school. A lot! She wants to be more open about her sexuality, her only friend has moved away, and when she makes new friends she soon finds things can get worse (as hinted at by the title).
First line: ‘The sun is barely up, but the sky is already blue and cloudless.‘
The Presence : A Ghost Story, by Eve Bunting (195 pages) – Catherine’s best friend died in a car accident and Catherine is left in shock, depressed, and feeling responsible. On holiday she encounters a hot stranger who tells her he can contact the dead – is he for real or is he a figment of her imagination? Suspense!
First line: ‘The ghost stood on the church stairs, watching, waiting for Catherine.‘
Acting Up, by Ted Staunton (263 pages) – Sam is 6′4″ and slouches so as to not draw attention to himself. I’ve been there, Sam! He also lives in a ‘town full of loonies’ – another coincidence? Also he must grow up and learn what it is to be an adult. Ha.
First line: ‘“You can’t do that,” Sam Foster said, breaking through the knots of students outside the Little Hope Variety.“
Saturday Night Dirt, by Will Weaver (171 pages) – “In a small town … the much-anticipated Saturday night dirt-track race … becomes … an important life-changing event for all the participants on and off the track,” says the catalogue, mostly.
First lines: ‘“Torque wrench.” Trace Bonham, seventeen, short and stocky with unsmiling brown eyes, turned to the big toolbox on wheels.‘
The Rosie Black Chronicles Bk 1 : Genesis, by Lara Morgan (459 pages) – Five centuries from now, in the city of Newperth (Australia I’m thinking!) is divided into the ‘Centrals’, the much poorer ‘Bankers’, and the fringe-dwelling ‘Ferals’. Rosie, a Banker, finds a box that a mystery organisation will kill to have, and so she’s on the run with Pip, a Feral, and his boss.
First line: ‘Rosie shone her torch down among the scattered bricks.‘
We have a few new books that continue already established series. I won’t go into too much detail about each (just because) but your favourite vampire/werewolf/spy series may be one of them.
Awakened : A House of Night Novel (Book 8 ), by P.C and Kirstin Cast (290 pages)
Demon Games : Changeling (Book 4), by Steve Feasey (343 pages)
Only The Good Spy Young : The Gallagher Girls (Book 4), by Ally Carter (265 pages)
Twelfth Grade Kills : The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (Book 5), by Heather Brewer (325 pages)
Keys To the Repository : Blue Bloods (sort of a tie-in to the series), by Melissa de la Cruz (227 pages)
Here are the other new books!
A Waltz for Matilda, by Jackie French (479 pages) – This is a novelisation of the poem that is also a song (which I used to think was Australia’s nation anthem, oddly) about Matilda, her father (the swagman!), the billabong, and ‘Australia’s early years as an emerging nation.’
First lines: ‘August 1894 – Dear Dad, I hope you are well.‘
Whisper My Name, by Jane Eagland (394 pages) – A spooky book about Meriel, who lives with her strict Victorian grandfather. It is a solitary life but she’s not always alone - someone is ‘reaching out to her, someone who is close than she thinks …’
First line: ‘Meriel decided to place her deckchair as far as she could from Mrs Fitzgerald’s, but still within earshot.‘
Hit List, by Jack Heath (256 pages) – Teenager Ash and her pal Benjamin find stolen artifacts and return them to their owners for a fee. But when they’re asked to rescue a captive girl they soon find themselves up against corrupt governments, ruthless corporations, and assassins. Assassins!
First lines: ‘Practice. It would take practice, but it could be done.‘
The Exiled Queen : A Seven Realms Novel, by Cinda Williams Chima (586 pages) – This is the second book in the series. We wrote about the first one here. In this installment, according to the catalogue, ‘two teenagers, one fleeing from a forced marriage and the other from a dangerous family of wizards, cross paths and fall in love.’
First line: ‘Lietenant Mac Gillen of the Queen’s Guard of the Fells hunched his shoulders against the witch wind that howled out of the frozen wastelands to the north and west.’
Send Simon Savage, by Stephen Measday (266 pages) – Simon is thirteen when his father drowns. A secret government agency then tells him that he has the right DNA to handle the rigours of time travel, and he will be the first to travel into the future. Which he does! His missions are risky, but someone has to do it.
First line: ‘Simon spent a great Saturday body boarding with a few mates in rolling surf at the southern end of Bondi Beach.‘
Solitary : Escape from Furnace, by Alexander Gordon Smith (232 pages) – This is the sequel to Lockdown. Alex Sawyer attemped to escape from Furnace prison, where he has been imprisoned on false charges, but he failed and is now in solitary confinement. ‘… hurtle from thrill to chill in this rocket-paced prison-break odyssey where nightmares are made.’ Yeow!
First lines: ‘I have a confession. I’m not a good person.’
The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde (281 pages) – Back in the day magic was powerful, but now it’s regulated by the government and it’s cheaper for people to get things done non-magically. But! Fifteen-year-old Jennifer, who runs an employment agency for magicians and soothsayers, begins to have visions that hint at dragons and Big Magic. (Fforde is a very funny writer, and has a lot of quality books in the adult section. Let me recommend them to you.)
First line: ‘It looked set to become even hotter by the afternoon, just when the job was becoming more fiddly and needed extra concentration.‘
Fans of the film Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (the library’s copies have become popular so therefore it has fans I guess) will be thrilled to learn that a sequel is imminent! It is called Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus, and the trailer is below. Something to look forward to.
Thai-riffic!, by Oliver Phommavanh (190 pages) – Lengy’s parents run a Thai restaurant, but Lengy’s favourite food is pizza of all things. Lengy has a new high school to go to, with new friends, teachers, and adventures. Also! He comes to grips with his Thai heritage and perhaps lays off the pizza.
First line: ‘Same same, but different.‘
Morpheus Road : The Light, by D. J. Machale (341 pages) – This is the first book in a trilogy by the author of the fairly popular Pendragon series of books. Teen Marsh Seaver finds that he is being stalked by the Gravedigger, a skeletal horror that he had created in his sketchbook. His best friend disappears and his sister joins with Marsh to find him. “Spooky and fraught with peril”!
First line: ‘I believe in ghosts.‘
The Last Words of Will Wolfkin, by Steven Knight (373 pages) – Toby Walsgrove has been paralyzed since birth, and spends his life in a Carmelite convent in London. When his cat tells him that he is, in fact, the descendent of a great king and must travel to Iceland, oh and now he can talk and walk, Toby is off on a great adventure. BUT is he dreaming?
First line: ‘My name is Toby Walsgrove, and before I begin to tell you my story, I should give you a short explanation of who I am.‘
Virals, by Kathy Reichs (454 pages) – No cover to embed for this one, so allow me to describe it! It’s a girl running away from something. She is in a jungle, or maybe a forest, or even a gardening centre (probably not). Tory Brennan and her pals have grown up near the Loggerhead Research Institute and when they are bitten by a stray wolfdog pup from the lab, they are all altered on a DNA level, making them super-powered.
First line: ‘A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe.‘
The Legend of the King : The Squire’s Tale, by Gerald Morris (295 pages) – Here it is, the tenth and final installment in The Squire’s Tale series. Sir Terence is now a knight of the Round Table, and Camelot is under attack by dark magic. Will King Arthur and his knights defeat the forces of darkness? Well now, that would be telling. Great first line;
First line: ‘Sir Dinadan of Camelot, knight of Fellowship of King Arthur’s Round Table, emissary of Emporer Alis of Constantinople to the Seljuk Turks, sniffed cautiously at his left armpit.‘
The Web of Titan, by Dom Testa (255 pages) – A bunch of teens are sent off in the starship Galahad. Their mission is to colonise a distant planet, as Earth’s population is decimated by a virus that wipes out adults. This is the second in a series (the first is The Comet’s Curse) and they encounter alien (?) weirdness in the rings of Saturn.
First line: ‘The storm raged quietly along the surface, a swirl of colors colliding, mixing, weaving.‘
The Ghost and the Goth, by Stacey Kade (281 pages) – A misunderstood goth boy is haunted by a dead homecoming queen (she was hit by a bus full of ‘geeks’). He doesn’t want to help her because she was a pain when alive, which is fair enough I guess. A supernatural romance! Colleague Lauren is going to read it and write a review. She promised. The cover is a goth and a ghost, perhaps just as you’d expect.
First line: ‘Dying should have been the worst moment in my life.‘
Blindsided, by Priscilla Cummings (226 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Natalie learns that she is rapidly going blind, and is faced with two options; to hope for a miracle that mightn’t come, or learn the skills that she needs to adapt to blindness.
First line: ‘Like so many of Natalie’s early memories, this one is full of color: the fresh yellow straw, the red blood that was pooling way too fast, the silver bucket kicked aside, the damp, quivering brown fur.‘
Wicked Girls : A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, by Stephanie Hemphill (408 pages) – A fictionalised telling of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in the 1600s in America. Everyone in the town of Salem went a hysterical and started accusing people of being witches, which, at that time, carried the death penalty. Nineteen people were hanged and one especially unlucky man was crushed to death. Anyway, here’s a novel about it. It’s written in poems.
Is it Night or Day?, by Fern Schumer Chapman (205 pages) – Edith travels from her small German town – where Nazi anti-Semitism is in full swing – to Chicago, in the US, as part of the ‘One Thousand Children’ project. She can not go with her parents, who remain behind. Edith is only twelve, and has lost everything. Based on the author’s mother’s life.
First line: ‘The first long train trip I ever took in Germany was my last.‘
Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick (427 pages) – This is the sequel to Hush, Hush. Nora’s ‘gorgeous guardian angel’, Patch, is spending too much time with her enemy, Marcie, and Nora finds she is drawn to Scott, an old family friend. But he is hiding something! And she is haunted by images of her murdered father.
First line: ‘The fingers of the thorn-apple tree clawed at the windowpane behind Harrison Grey, and he dog-eared his page, no longer able to read through the racket.‘
Me And Death : An Afterlife Adventure, by Richard Scrimger (187 pages) – Fourteen-year-old amateur gangster Jim is hit by a car and dies. He experiences a ‘hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit’ to the afterworld. Then! He gets a chance to come back to Earth.
First line: ‘I was walking up Roncesvalles, the big street in my neighborhood.‘
The Interrogation of Gabriel James, by Charlie Price (170 pages) – In this murder-mystery, teen Gabe witnesses two murders and recounts what he saw to the police. The mysteries start to stack up and Gabe takes it upon himself to discover the truth.
First line: ‘I stood at the back of a small crowd in a bleak cemetary north of the Yellowstone River, the second funeral I had attended this week.‘
Center Field, by Robert Lipsyte (280 pages) – “Mike lives for baseball and hopes to follow his idol into the major leagues one day, but he is distracted by a new player who might take his place in center field, an ankle injury, problems at home, and a growing awareness that something sinister is happening at school.” ~ Library of Congress summary.
First line: ‘Mike backed up a the ping of the ball against the metal bat, sensing a long, high fly.‘
Sleepless, by Cyn Balog (215 pages) – Eron is a Sandman, a supernatural being who sends people to sleep. He is not supposed to communicate to his charges but feels drawn to recently bereaved Julia, who is at unknowingly at risk from dangers she doesn’t recognise. Basically he’s in love with her but it’s against the rules.
First line: ‘Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver’s seat.‘
Golden Web, by Barbara Quick (266 pages) – A fictional retelling of the life of Alessandra Giliani, who has a very interesting story! She was the first woman anatomist (she was born in 1307) and developed a method of draining blood from a corpse and replacing it with a dye. All before the age of 19!
First lines: ‘Nicco was scared. His tutor was going to burst through the door at any moment, and Alessandra was nowhere to be found.‘
Exit Strategy, by Ryan Potter (303 pages) – Zach is desperate to leave his ‘dump’ of a town, Blaine, Michegan, with his wrestler best friend Tank and Ivy League-destined Sarah, Tank’s twin sister. When he discovers Tank’s being given steroids by his coach, the ensuing scandal somehow diminish his chances of leaving the place.
First line: ‘If I have any advice after everything that’s happened it’s this: never fall for you best friend’s twin sister, especially when her brother is an overprotective psycho who also happens to be a three-time state champion wrestler.‘
Shadow, by Jenny Moss (377 pages) – Shadow is tasked with watching the princess, whose death was prophecised to occur when she turns sixteen. Unfortunately for Shadow (and the princess) the prophecy comes true, and Shadow must run for her life with a young knight, Sir Kenway. As the kingdom falls, romance blossoms.
First lines: ‘I stood at the queen’s tall arched window. A blast of cold wind chilled my face, but I kept looking.‘
Flash, by Michael Cadnum (235 pages) – Take it away, Library of Congress summary: “Relates one momentous day in the lives of five young people in the San Francisco Bay Area, including two teenaged bank robbers, a witness [who is legally blind] and a wounded military policeman just back from Iraq.”
First lines: ‘“When will you show them the gun?” asked Milton? He and his brother were sitting in lawn chairs in back of the house.‘
Fever Season, by Eric Zweig (254 pages) – David is orphaned by the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 (which killed 15 million people). To escape the orphanage he needs to find his uncle, who he thinks lives in Seattle. Fortunately David gets a job with the ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, and travels west with them to Seattle.
First line: ‘“Put your coat on,” David Saifert’s mother said.‘
Yes You Can Play Great Rock Guitar : Jam, Shred and Riff in 10 Foolproof Lessons, by Phil Capone and Paul Copperwaite (192 pages) – Can you play the rock guitar? Yes, you can! Accompanied by a CD.
Carter’s Big Break, by Brent Crawford (231 pages) – This is the follow-up to Carter Finally Gets It. Will Carter has survived his freshman year at high school, and has somehow been cast in a film opposite Hollywood teen actress, Hilary Idaho.
First line: ‘On the last day of school, I’m happily strolling down the hall after Mr. Rumpford’s ridiculously hard algebra final.‘
Somewhere in Blue, by Gillian Cummings (334 pages) – Sandy’s father has died and she wallows in grief. Her mother seems to be coping a bit too well, and Sandy also distances herself from her best friend, who in turn has a difficult relationship with her mother. “An intense story of loss and shifting relationships.”
First line: ‘Something about the waves, something about their blue-gray depths, had been flowing down into Sandy, rushing in to fill a gaping hole.‘
The Selected, by Patrick Cave (405 pages) – This is a prequel/sequel to Sharp North (or is it the other way round? or both?). The setting is a futuristic Britain ruled by Great Families who keep spare clones of themselves. Climate change and a fascistic government mean life is a raw deal for everyone else.
First lines: ‘Dawn in the mountains. The first iron heat gathering, shimmering in bands across hard, thirsty slopes.‘
Anastasia’s Secret, by Susanne Dunlap (330 pages) – Anastasia Romanova was a daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, who, along with his family, were killed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution. History is grim! However! There is some doubt as to their fates, and this book is “a haunting vision of the life – and imagined love story – of Russia’s last princess.”
First lines: ‘We are surrounded by guards. Not the nice ones; the ones we don’t like, who make us bow to them, make us show our identity cards and take a long time to examine them, even though they know perfectly well who we are and that we haven’t been anywhere outside of the Governer’s House in Tobolsk for months.‘
Stravaganza : City of Ships, by Mary Hoffman (348 pages) – The fifth book in The Stravaganza Sequence, about time travelling teens who end up in Talia, a country in a parallel world, much like 16th-century Italy. But with pirates!
First line: ‘If she raised herself slightly from the stool she sat on, Flavia could see the masts of ships in the harbour.‘
Radiance, by Alyson Noël (183 pages) – Riley Bloom dies in a car crash, and ffins herself in an afterlife where she gets a job as a Soul Catcher. Some spirits don’t want to move on, and her first task to to find one such spirit. Also! Her dog died with her so he’s there as well.
First line: ‘Most people think that death is the end.‘
I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (249 pages) – The latest in a long line of Discworld novels. Tiffany is a witch, and isn’t finding the job too glamorous. The fightin’ Nac Mac Feegles aren’t helping either.
First line: ‘Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much? Why was noise so important?‘
Burning Mountain, by L. J. Adlington (315 pages) – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Italy during WWII and the Afghan War are all connected in this book.
First line: ‘Drenched in grey ash, grazed by a rain of rock, Gaius Justinius Aquila staggered along the beach, eyes wide at all the horrors.‘
Fierce September, by Fleur Beale (358 pages) – Book two of the Juno series. ‘Juno and the Taris inhabitants must leave their dying island to live on the Outside, a seemingly hostile place of pandemics and conflict. Juno enjoys the new freedoms and choices now available to her in a future New Zealand. But Taris doesn’t give up its hold so easily, and she is shocked to find the island held more secrets than any of them knew.’
The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller (410 pages) – Not a reference to vampires, thank goodness, but rather people who are reincarnated repeatedly. I think! Take a gander at the official website and watch the trailer.
First line: ‘Haven was back.‘
There is a Comedy DVD display in the YA area of the Central Library at the moment, this list is an online companion piece.