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.‘
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.
As promised, here are some more new books. Maybe all of them. There are many! If there was an earthquake right now they would fall on me, perhaps injuring me slightly.
Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh (543 pages) – Isobel falls in lurve with the aloof and sarky (and gorgeous) Varen, whose dream world – based on the not-at-all-jolly stories of Edgar Allan Poe – have come to life. She must rescue him before his nightmares devour him!
First line: ‘By the end of fourth period, Isobel’s espresso buzz from that morning’s venti latte had long since worn off.‘
Annexed, by Sharon Dogar (329 pages) – Peter van Pels and his family went into hiding with Anne Frank, and there, in this (imagined) story, he finds himself falling in love with her. As history documents, it’s not a happy love story, and Peter’s experience continues into and beyond the Nazi death camps.
First lines: ‘I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure.‘
The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals Book Two, by Michelle Cooper (451 pages) – Diary-writer Sophie and her family’s home, an island kingdom!, has been overrun by the Nazis, and they all find themselves trying to navigate the English aristocracy while pretty much penniless and/or mad. A sequel (obviously!) to this book.
First line: ‘I write this sitting at an exquisite little Louis the Fifteenth secretaire in the White Drawing Room, using a gold fountain pen borrowed from the King of Montmaray and a bottle of ink provided by one of the footmen.‘
Demon Princess : Reign Check, by Michelle Rowan (292 pages) – Nikki is half human, and half demon, and ‘has had a lot to deal with’. A faery king enrols at her high school to investigate her potential for destroying the world, and Nikki is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council for some reason. And! She’s also madly in love with her Shadow Creature servant, Michael, but it’s forbidden.
First line: ‘Act normal, I told myself as I pushed through the front doors of Erin Heights High School.‘
The Hunt : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (262 pages) – Another supernatural romance, the genre du jour. Demons are on the hunt and Eve must use her powers to fight them. She’s also mad keen on ‘gorgeous’ Luke, who may or may not be something more as well. Do they have a future together? Do they have a future at all? Will anyone have a future?
First line: ‘“Dude, have you decided to give up showering?” Dave Perry called after practice on Monday.‘
Trash, by Andy Mulligan (215 pages) – Everyone seems to be reserving this book! It’s about three friends who live in a dumpsite somewhere in the third world,, making a living from trash. They find something – a deady secret – and shortly afterwards they are ‘hunted without mercy.’ But it has a happy ending; it is ‘utterly original and universal, it will touch the world.’
First line: ‘My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.‘
Kiss Me Deadly : Tales of Paranormal Romance, edited by Trisha Telep (430 pages) -Thirteen stories of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, fallen angels, zombies (ugh) and other instances of supernatural love. Actually really good even if you’re no fan of supernatural romance; Maggie Stiefvater’s The Hounds of Ulster is a cracking story.
Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (503 pages) – Going to copy and paste this synopsis; ‘In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.’
First line: ‘I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina back woods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.‘
Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, by Dori Hillestad Butler (196 pages) – When T. J.’s dad is injured she discovers that she was kidnapped by her father 10 years ago. Not only does she have a mother and a step-father, but also a twin sister. This book also arguably has the best title of any book, ever.
First line: ‘The little red light on our answering machine was blinking on and off when I wandered into the kitchen.‘
Mutation : The Phoenix Files, by Chris Morphew (311 pages) – This is the third book in the Phoenix Files series. We reviewed the first book a while ago. There were 100 days left before the world ends; now there are only 63 days left and (in addition to the whole major catastrophe thing) something weird is happening to the people of Phoenix.
First line: ‘My fists clenched in my lap as Shackletone approached the podium, a hint of his sick, grandfatherly smile still pulling at his lips.‘
Love Sucks!, by Melissa Francis (285 pages) – a sequel to Bite Me!, and if there’s a third book what do you think it will be called? Stake Out! maybe. Pass The Grave-y! probably not. Love at First Bite! Jack reckons. Vampire teen A. J. still suffers being in love with her gorgeous step-brother, and maybe her vampire trainer, who is also gorgeous, and her father wants to take over the world, AND she has to plan the prom.
First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.‘
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (329 pages) – Violet has the cheery ability to psychically detect dead bodies, as well as the imprint that remains on their killers. So now that a serial killer is stalking her small town, she realises that she’s the only one who can find the killer (and she’s being haunted quite a bit). She teams up with best friend Jay, who she’s developing feelings for (he is gorgeous).
First line: ‘Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her.‘
The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (328 pages) – James was a nerd at his old school, but now that he’s been enrolled in an exclusive academy for mathletes he can easily be the ‘cool guy’ – he makes up a tough background for himself and soon is lying about everything. Unfortunately there are consequences, and in his case they are quite destructive.
First line: ‘I was the guy no one noticed.‘
Once Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison (232 pages) – More supernatural romance. This one’s particular hook is dead teen Madison, who, with the help of a magic amulet, affects the illusion of a live body, and is involved in the battle between light and dark reapers. There’s also her cute crush, and a guardian angel. A sequel is in the works!
First lines: ‘Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.‘
The Project, by Brian Falkner (343 pages) – Falkner’s last book, Brainjack, won this year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Award in the YA fiction category. So this book should be quite good! It’s about a book (the ‘most boring book in the world’) that hides a terrible secret; when it’s revealed the world may never be the same again.
First line: ‘“I reckon we would have got away with it if it wasn’t for that drunken chipmunk.”‘
Before We Say Goodbye, by Gabriella Ambrosio (144 pages) – Two cousins – Dima and Myriam – are Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Myriam is hopeful of visiting America with Dima, but Dima has no dreams of the future; she has ‘already accepted her destiny: today she will die.’
First line: ‘It was technically springtime on the day that Dima got up from her mattress after a long yet strangely brief and confused night.‘
Girl Saves Boy, by Steph Bowe (280 pages) – A romance, but not supernatural (refreshingly!). Sacha has a terminal disease, his mother has died, and his father is seeing his art teacher. He attempts to drown himself! But luckily is rescued by Jewel Valentine, and it’s all uphill from there.
First line: ‘My brother’s last word was: “Polo.”‘
The Runaway Dragon, by Kate Coombs (292 pages) – The sequel to The Runaway Princess, in which Princess Meg finds a baby dragon. Laddy, the dragon, runs away from home, so the Princess, her friends, and a group of guardsmen go on a quest to find him.
First line: ‘At first Meg visited Laddy a lot, riding her horse from the castle through the Witch’s Wood to Hookhorn Farm, where her friend Cam’s sister lived.‘
Token of Darkness, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (197 pages) – Gorgeous football hero, Cooper, has a car accident, and when he awakens he starts seeing a ghost. Samantha (the ghost) is attractive but is, you know, a ghost, so their relationship is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. Delilah, a clairvoyant cheerleader, and telepathic Brent realise that Cooper’s in trouble. Awoooh.
First line: ‘The darkness was a alive, and it was hungry.‘
There is also a new book about Glee, called 100% Gleek : The Unofficial Guide to Glee!, and a comic version of Anthony Horowitz’s Raven’s Gate called, well, The Power of Five. Book One, Raven’s Gate : The Graphic Novel.
Harmonic Feedback, by Tara Kelly (280 pages) – Drea has ‘a touch of Asperger’s’, and is obsessed with music. When she moves to a new town AGAIN she – at long last! – makes some friends, and even finds love maybe.
First lines: ‘One in thirty-eight. Bet on a single number in roulette, and those are the odds of winning.‘
Boys That Bite : A Blood Coven Vampire Novel, by Mari Mancusi (262 pages) – Looks like we’ve got a new (and ‘refreshingly different’) vampire series. Sunny is dragged to something called Club Fang by her sister, Rayne, and finds out that the members are not just playing dress-up – she gets bitten and has a week to undo it.
First line: ‘You know, being bitten by a vampire one week before prom really sucks.‘
90 Packets of Instant Noodle, by Deb Fitzpatrick (307 pages) – Joel and his chum Craggs drink, steal, and generally cause havoc together. SO Joel’s dad, with the police, send them off to a remote bush shack for 90 days. Where, presumably! all they have to eat are noodles.
First line: ‘It was Dad who finally snapped over what had been going on.‘
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman (296 pages) – Jacob Fielding is given the rather enviable power of indestructability, and begins to use his new power for good. BUT there’s a curse to the ability, and he has thirteen days to sort it out.
First line: ‘Jacob Fielding stood in a small room and stared at a body.‘
The Prince of Mist, by Carlos Ruis Zafon (202 pages) – A ‘haunting story of magic, mystery and adventure’, about a boy who moves to a house overlooking the sea and the mysterious (and terrifying!) Prince of the Mist. And a weird, staring cat.
First line: ‘Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic.‘
Every Little Thing in the World, by Nina de Gramont (282 pages) – Sydney is sixteen, and going off the rails. So her parents send her to one of those ‘hard-love’ wilderness camps in the Canadian wilds for four weeks of Bear Grylls-lite survivalism. But! She is pregnant. Whatever will she do?
First line: ‘Natalia and I stole her mother’s new blue Cadillac and drove out to Overpeck to find Tommy.‘
The Cardturner : A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker, by Louis Sachar (336 pages) – Alton’s rich, old and blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him. Which is a good plan when there’s an inheritance to think about! Alton soon learns a lot about his family history and himself as one mystery after another are discovered.
First line: ‘Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had it drilled into me that my uncle Lester was my favourite uncle.‘
With a Sword in My Hand, by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Pat van Beirs (266 pages) – An ‘enthralling medieval adventure’ about Marguerite, who refuses to conform to type, and learns how to use a sword, ride horses, and outwit the boys. The Court of Flanders has other ideas! This has won loads of awards, and is based on the real Marguerite van Male.
First line: ‘The knights of Flanders and Brabant will swear allegiance to the infant in its cradle.‘
The Beastly Bride : Tales of the Animal People, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (500 pages) – This is a large collection of original stories and poems about shapechangers – werewolves, vampires, and so on – with illustrations by Charles Vess.
I Love You Zelda Bloo, by Gretel Killeen (183 pages) – Zelda Blookwell is the daughter of famous parents. She gets kidnapped when she goes with her mother to interview child soldiers, and while trying to survive she meets – and falls in love with! - Saro.
First line: ‘Help me. Can you help me? Please!‘
Palace Beautiful, by Sarah DeFord Williams (232 pages) – Sadie and best friend Bella find a secret room in the attic of their house, and there they discover a diary written one Helen during the 1918 ‘flu epidemic (which killed 50 million people worldwide!). As the girls try to find out what happened to Helen, Sadie’s ‘worries about her own family come closer to reality.’
First line: ‘My sister Zuzu says no one can remember the day they born, but I do.‘
Dancing in the Dark, by Robyn Bavati (290 pages) – Ditty’s very religious parents forbid her to take ballet lessons. So she starts ballet in secret! Of course the will come a point when the two world clash.
First line: ‘I’m lying on my bed, staring at the peeling paper on the wall in my room.‘
Henrietta Hornbuckle’s Circus of Life, by Michael de Guzman (152 pages) – Twelve-year-old Henrietta is a clown, as are her parents. In fact! Everyone she knows is a clown, because she is with a small travelling circus. She (and the other clowns) are on their way to New York City for a ‘climactic performance’, but first life throws a pie right in her kisser.
First line: ‘She stood at the stern of the ferry as it pulled away from the Connecticut shore.‘
The Alpha Bet, by Stephanie Hale (233 pages) – The admirably-named Grace Kelly Cook is only sixteen when she graduates from high school, and decides to join the Alpha Sorority at college. She lies a little bit on her application! So now she’s fearful of being discovered. And also she has to do something called the ‘Alpha Bet’, a super-secret series of tasks.
First line: ‘“It’s a dorm, Mom, not the Playboy Mansion,” I whisper in her ear, hoping she’ll stop throwing her evil eye looks around at all the kids in my new dorm.‘
Beautiful Monster, by Kate McCaffrey (231 pages) – All this typing! I will just C&P this book’s synopsis. “Tessa’s brother is dead, and her Mum is so deeply enmeshed in grief she might as well be too. Tessa is left with no-one to turn to but Ned. He’s been her staunchest ally, privy to her deepest secrets. But even Ned has a dark side. He knows all her weak spots and will exploit every one to keep her by his side.”
First lines: ‘The school bus hisses to a stop. Tessa Edwards looks up from her maths book as Camilla lifts her bag onto her shoulder.‘
Choppy Socky Blues, by Ed Briant (259 pages) – Jason’s father is a movie stuntman and a karate blackbelt. He’s also a liar who left his family, according to Jason, who vows to never do karate as a consequence. But then Jason meets Tinga, who is gorgeous and is going for her blue belt – Jason (rashly!) says he is too, and the only one who can help him is his dad.
First line: ‘My name is Jason Smallfield, I’m fourteen, and my father is an Imperial storm trooper.‘
Raven Speak, by Diane Lee Wilson (254 pages) – Asa and her horse Rune make a run for it when her clan’s wise man – who is hungry for power (and horsemeat) while Asa’s Viking chief father is away – demands Rune be sacrificed. Asa finds shelter with an old, one-eyed woman with a pair of ravens. The old woman also demands a sacrifice …
First line: ‘In the pale light of a wintry morning seven men saddled their ship across bucking white waves.‘
Split, by Swati Avasthi (282 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Jace is thrown out of his home by his abusive father, and goes to live with his older brother, who long ago left to escape the abuse.
First line: ‘Now I have to start lying. While I stare through the windshield at the building my brother lives in, I try to think up a good lie.‘
A Wizard of Mars, by Diane Duane (549 pages) – This here book is number nine in the Young Wizards series, in which Kit and Nina ‘manage to wangle their way onto an elite team sent to investigate the mysterious, long-sought “message in a bottle” that holds the first clues to the secrets of the ancient Martian race‘
First lines: ‘The problem, Kit thought, scowling at the paper, isn’t the basic shape, so much. It’s what to do with the legs …‘
My Private Pectus, by Shane Thamm (278 pages) – ‘A story about footy, cars and a young man who discovers that revealing his greatest secret is the only way to hold on to the people he loves.‘ (I just copied that from the back cover.)
First line: ‘Dad just landed the job as assistant rugby league coach at St Philip’s College.‘
Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell. Many of our intended readers will be too young to know about it, but from about the end of WWII to November the 9th, 1989, Berlin was divided by a massive concrete wall. On one side – the East – an authoritarian Communist regime held power, and on the Western side it was democracy as usual. People died trying to cross from the East to the West (no one especially wanted to go West to East (maybe tourists?)). The Berlin Wall’s fall represented to many people the end of the Cold War (and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation that came with the Cold War).
So! The fall of the Berlin Wall. A good thing! Here are some books we have in the library.
The latest CHERUB book is in! If you’ve reserved it you might get a copy soon. If you haven’t, you probably won’t see it for a while since it’s just so darned popular. It is called Brigands M.C. and is the eleventh in the incredibly popular series about teen spies working for the British government. (People don’t usually suspect kids to be secret agents.)
Here’s the blurb:
Every CHERUB agent comes from somewhere. Dante Scott still has nightmares about the death of his family, brutally killed by a biker gang.
Dante is given the chance to become a member of CHERUB, a trained professional with one essential advantage: adults never suspect that children are spying on them.
But when Dante joins James and Lauren Adams on a mission to infiltrate Brigands Motorcycle Club, he’s ready to use everything he’s learned to get revenge on the people who killed his familly …
New books for the week - part two.
Eagle Day, by Robert Muchamore (405 pages) – The much-awaited latest book in the Henderson’s Boys series. Charles Henderson is a British spy, who leads some kids in actions against the Germans during WWII (it’s not set in the present, obviously). There’s an official website with all kinds of interesting content and downloads.
First line: ‘It was eleven at night, but the port of Bordeaux crackled with life.’
Goldstrike, by Matt Whyman (265 pages) – Teen hacker Carl is being pursued by a bounty hunter and an al-Queda assassin. His only recourse is to hide out in a warehouse guarded by Cleo, a hyper-super-computer that doesn’t like intruders …
First line: ‘In black suits and dark glasses, the three men stand out among the throng.‘
Stolen, by Vivian Vande Velde (158 pages) – On the same day that a child-stealing witch is supposedly immolated in a house-fire, a girl appears in the forest with no memory of where she’s from. Could she have been taken by the witch six years earlier?
First line: ‘The old witch saw that she had gone too far.‘
Eternal, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (307 pages) – Miranda’s life is saved by her guardian angel, Zachary, but she’s consequently converted into a vampire. She is adopted by the King of the Mantle of Dracul, and Zachary pretends to be her assistant in an effort to save her soul. Has werewolves and romance also.
First line: ‘I may be heaven-sent, but I’m not perfect.‘
The Bower Bird, by Ann Kelley (196 pages) – Twelve-year-old Gussie has many plans; she wants to be a photographer, loves animals, and needs to cope with her parents’ divorce. Alas! She also needs a heart and lung transplant, and time isn’t on her side.
First lines: ‘We’ve been here for two weeks. I’m still not well enought to start at the local school.‘
Plague of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (300 pages) – It’s 1650, and Lucius’ father – a newly-made vampire – has just killed his family. Lucius survived, and joins an elite band of vampire hunters, tracking down the master vampire who wants to turn the world into a vampire race. Written by a NZer!
First line: ‘The boy knew his father was going to kill him.‘
Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, by Nico Medina (290 pages) – Margarita “Madge” Diaz is ‘fat, foxy, and fabulous’; she and her rival, student-body president Bridget Benson, decide to compete with one another be named prom queen. The loser will back off, for good. Both will do whatever it takes to win.
First line: ‘I hate Bridget Benson.‘
Saving Rafael, by Leslie Wilson (410 pages) – Jenny and Raf are in love, but they live in Nazi-ruled Berlin – and Raf is Jewish. They join with others who must try to stay alive and eventually flee from immense danger.
First line: ‘We were in a cow byre, ten of us, cleaning out the stalls in our thin striped calico skirts and jackets.‘
First lines: ‘Darkness devoured him. Eyes wide with terror, he saw only the gaping void, heard his desperate breathing hammering through his skull as the rasping one-eyed monster pursued him.‘
Raven Rise : Pendragon Book Nine, by D. J. Machale (544 pages) – book nine is the second to last in the series and finds Bobby Pendragon trapped and the final battle for Halla about to begin. Can he save the world? The book cover says this is The Lord of the Rings for the Alex Rider generation. Discuss.
First sentence(s): “Ibara!” The tunnel remained silent.
Ghost Medicine, by Andrew Smith (357 pages) – After the death of his mother, Troy just wants to spend the summer hanging out with his friends and being sort of invisible, but life gets in the way with complex, dangerous twists and turns.
First sentence: I can see myself lying in the dirt, on my back, on a warm, starry night, with my feet up on those rocks, ringing a swirling and noisy fire, listening, laughing, seeing the sparks that corkscrew, spinning above me into the black like dying stars, fading, disappearing, becoming something else; my hat back on my head so I can just see my friends from the corners of my eyes.
Half Way to Good, by Kirsten Murphy (320 pages) – from the back cover: “A funny and moving novel about dealing with love, death and everything in between.”
First sentence: Waiting wasn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines (344 pages) – Cinderella (real name Danielle) is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte shortly after her (Cinderella, that is) marries Prince Armand. Martial arts expert and fairy-blessed Talia – or Sleeping Beauty – comes to the rescue, but not before Armand is taken to the Realm of the Fairies. Talia, and Snow White, both part of the Queen’s Secret Service, join with Danielle to get Armand back.
First line: ‘Danielle Whiteshore, formerly Danielle de Glas, would never be a proper princess.‘
The Poison Garden, by Sarah Singleton (284 pages) – Thomas’ recently deceased grandmother leaves him a magic box that enables him to enter a mysterious garden. He encounters her ghost there, where she reveals that she belonged to arcane guild of chemists. She was poisoned during a struggle for power, and now Thomas must find the murderer before he himself becomes a victim.
First line: ‘High in the tower the bell tolled, counting out eleven hours.‘
Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, by Narinder Dhami (247 pages) – A gunman is rumoured to be somewhere in Mia’s school, and the place is being evacuated. Mia has a dreadful feeling that the gunman is her brother, Jamie, who has been acting very weird lately. Can she get to him in time? This book has a terrific twist at the end that’s right I read the end first
First line: ‘The scene is normal: a family at breakfast on Monday morning before the kids go off to school.‘
Brown Skin Blue, by Belinda Jeffrey (211 pages)
Butterfly, by Sonya Hartnett (214 pages)
Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories, by Deborah Ellis (169 pages) – a collection of short stories about teens whose lives are affected by the drug trade.
The YA DVD collection will soon be somewhat expanded by the addition of almost all (maybe all; I’m too lazy to confirm) the James Bond films. They’re not quite in yet but you can reserve them – YA DVDs are 50c on a YA card, and reserves for ya’ll are free.
Here they are in our catalogue. If you’ve never seen any of the classic Bond films you really should, as they’re great fun.