There are new books in this week. (The old books may be in the library’s booksale which is on right now.)
Theodork, by Jessica Green (177 pages) – On his first day in year seven Theo is rather cruelly labelled a dork, and all his efforts to reverse this only make things worse. A comedy.
First sentence: ‘I’m lying here in hospital, one arm in plaster, two legs hanging from a frame, and bruises fading in places I’d rather not think about.‘
Keepinitreal, by Don Henderson (229 pages) – A bike gang war is started when Kid Kabula knocks Fatts Charvetto into a pond display at the local mall. Whichsoundsabitroughbutshouldbeokayintheend.
First sentence: ‘Because this is pretty much a story about how I stopped being an egg-heaed idiot, I might as well start at the moment Kid Kabula exploded through the upstairs doors of the Victory Garden Mall.‘
Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve (321 pages) – A new book in the Infernal Engines world; huge, armoured fortresses that move across the wastelands. The book has a neat cover!
First sentence: ‘That morning they were making paper boys.‘
Gauntanamo Boy, by Anna Perera (339 pages) – Khalid, a British teenager, goes to Pakistan to see his family. There he is kidnapped and forced into a prison in Cuba called Guantanamo Bay, which you may have heard about in recent years.
First sentence: ‘ Sometimes, Khalid things as he drags himself home after another boring day at school, I’d rather be anywhere but here.’
Nathaniel Wolfe and the Bodysnatchers, by Brian Keane (197 pages) – Ghost hunter, Nathaniel Wolfe, must travel to the Other Side to vanquish whatever it is that the bodysnatchers plundering the graveyard have stirred up.
First sentence: ‘Lady Huntercombe was a thin woman with a pointed nose and rather distrustful expression.‘
The Game of Triumphs, by Laura Powell (308 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Cat enters a dangerous world called The Arcanum, where a deadly card game is played out in this mix of reality of fantasy.
First sentence: ‘It was his breathing that she noticed first: the hoarse, ragged wheezes of someone who has been running hard.‘
The Madman of Venice, by Sophie Masson (293 pages) - A vengeful Venetian Countess, a girl accused of witchcraft, a horde of pirates, murder and secrecy, and a madman that haunts the city - Venice, 1602, has it all, and English merchant Matthew Ashby, his daughter and his young assistant must investigate.
First sentence: ‘The city is a riot of laughter and parties and noise.‘
Love, Lies and Lizzie, by Rosie Rushton (216 pages) – This is the fourth of Rosie Rushton’s Austen adaptions. This time she’s updated Pride and Prejudice for the 21st Century. Lizzie Bennet and her sisters are ’swept up in a glamorous life of partying and country pursuits’.
First sentences: ‘“So you dumped him? Just like that? In the middle of the school trip? Are you crazy?”‘
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan (310 pages) – From the catalogue – Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the Unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead. Creepy!
First sentence: ‘My mother used to tell me about the ocean.‘
Solar Nation, by Erica Blaney (344 pages) – Solly and Lalune must lead the people of Clandoi out of the darkness and into the sun. Sci fi! A sequel to Cyber Nation.
First sentence: ‘”Ruined!” bellowed the cook, hurling a pan of scalded soup out of the door.‘
Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot (336 pages) – This is the second in Cabot’s Airhead series of books, about Emerson Watts, a ‘braniac in the body of a teenage supermodel’ – a mixture of sci fi, romance, mystery, and chick(en) lit.
First sentence: ‘I’m cold.‘
It’s time to list the new YA books that are in this week! (Among them are a bunch of new Naruto comics, but I won’t write them up.)
Robert Pattinson : True Love Never Dies, by Josie Rusher (62 pages) – This is a biography of the Twilight actor whose angular cheekbones and floppy hair have charmed fans all over the world. This book is full of photographs, and interesting facts – he doesn’t like ugg boots, for example.
If you like this book you will like this: the newest promotional poster for New Moon. Link sent in by a reader thanks!
Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott (170 pages) – This rather grim tale is about Alice, who is abducted by someone when 10-years-old and held captive for years. Has an edge-of-your-seat ending.
First sentence: ‘This is how things look: Shady Pines Apartments, four shabby buildings tucked off the road near the highway.‘
Colony, by J. A. Henderson (371 pages) – Thirty years ago a military research facility was destroyed by ants. The two survivors carry with them something terrible, something that becomes evident when their kids are hounded by the military.
First sentence: ‘The Mojave Desert: California, 1980 – The teenager woke up on the floor in the back of a bouncing jeep.’
Solace of the Road, by Siobhan Dowd (260 pages) - Holly is sick and tired of her foster-child-life and all it entails. So she dons a blond wig, calls herself Solace, and heads off through Ireland to find her mother. ‘Bittersweet, gritty, and laced with humour,’ the back cover says.
First sentence: ‘I breezed down the line of cars, so cool you’d never have known I was looking for a way to board the boat.‘
Cruel Summer, by Alyson Noel (229 pages) – Colby Cavendish ditches her dorky image and her dorky best friend and dreams of a summer spent larking it up on the beach. But! Her parents send her to spend summer in Greece with her aunt. Which sounds great to me, but Colby isn’t having any of it. Until she meets Yanni, that is. Yannniiii.
First sentences: ‘“Dear Aunt Tally, when I asked my mom for your e-mail address, she just laughed and told me you didn’t have one. But I know she’s just joking - right?”‘
Auslander, by Paul Dowswell (295 pages) – Peter’s parents are killed and he is sent to an orphanage. Because of his blue eyes and blond hair he fulfills the Nazi ideal, and is quickly adopted. However, Peter doesn’t want to be a Nazi, and is going to take the most dangerous risk he could take in 1943 Berlin.
First sentence: ‘Piotr Bruck shivered in the cold as he waited with twenty or so other naked boys in the long draughty corridor.‘
Princess Ben : Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (344 pages) – A long title which doesn’t tell you all – Princess Ben, held by the nasty Queen Sophia, learns the magical arts and saves the kingdom!
First sentence: ‘How many times I have wondered what my fate might have been had I accompanied my parents that rainy spring morning.‘
The Nest, by Paul Jennings (247 pages) – This is Paul Jennings’ first book for older readers; you may be familiar with his many Unmentionable and Wicked books for kids. The Nest is similarly chilling – ‘dark, tense, and ultimately uplifting.’
First sentence: ‘Charlie’s on the stage trying to raise money to bring some Somali kids from Melborne to the snowfields.‘
If I Stay, by Gayle Forman (209 pages) – ‘Life is wonderful for seventeen-year-old Mia, a talented cellist with family, friends and boyfriend. But life can change in an instant – a terrible car accident and everything is different.’ (Lifted freely from the catalogue.)
First sentence: ‘Everyone thinks it was because of the snow.‘
Fireworks : Four Summer Stories, by Niki Burnham, Erin Haft, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle – This book contain four long-ish short stories about summer. Winter is about to kick in here, so perhaps this could be read indoors in front of the heater and you could pretend?
First sentence: ‘The sun is delicious on my skin as I drift lazily in my cousin Porter Ann’s pool.‘
Perfect Fifths, by Megan McCafferty – This is the fifth and final Jessica Darling book. Jessica and Marcus randomly bump into one another at an airport and stuff happens (according to someone who read it as soon as it arrived (I won’t name names)). It’s partly written from Marcus’ perspective. [This book contains, like, more than 50 haiku.]
First sentence: ‘When Jessica Darling blindly collides into Marcus Flutie on this crisp, unclouded January morning, she can’t remember the last time she had imagined where she would be – and where he would be – at the moment of their inevitable collision.‘
The Princess Plot, by Kirsten Boie (422 pages) – Jenna auditions for a part in a film about a princess, and much to her shock is given a part. She is flown to Scandia, where she discovers she’s the spitting image of the real Princess of Scandia who has gone missing. Intrigue ensues! Translated from German.
First sentence: ‘Scandia was in mourning.‘
Mad Dog Moonlight, by Pauline Fisk (246 pages)
Handcuffs, by Bethany Griffin (307 pages)
Earthless Trees : Short Stories by Young Refugees in New Zealand (131 pages)
Bedlam, by Ally Kennen (265 pages)
Before Midnight : A Retelling of Cinderella, by Cameron Dokey (193 pages)
Remember This, by S. T. Underdahl (282 pages) – Lucy’s looking foward to summer. But she embarrasses herself when trying out for the cheerleading team, ends up dating a boy she previously disliked, and has to watch her grandmother suffer from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
First sentences: ‘Remember this: I love you. It was the special saying my Nana Lucy and I had for each other, ever since I was tiny.‘
Sword : A Novel, by Da Chen (232 pages) – Martial arts expert Miu Miu turns fifteen and is told by her mother about her father’s violent death. Miu Miu is asked to avenge her father, and to find her fated true love, all in the faraway city of Chang’an. The Emperor has ‘other plans’.
First sentence: ‘On the morning of Miu Miu’s fifteenth birthday, her mother did not arrange a visit by a matchmaker, as all the mothers of Goose Village did when their daughters reached marriageable age.‘
The Bloodstone Bird, by Inbali Iserles (326 pages) – Sash finds a riddle in his father’s study, which leads him – and his enemy, Verity – on the search for a magical bird. Their search takes them to a dazzling new world.
First sentence: ‘“In the beginning, Aqarti was a lush paradise surrounded by endless sea.”‘
Sharp Shot, by Jack Higgins and Justin Richards (297 pages) – Twins Jade and Rich are kidnapped and find themselves at the centre of a deadly plot, involving the first Gulf War and explosives. This is the third book in a series.
First sentence: ‘John Chance raised his powerful binoculars and focused on the low building on the other side of the sand dune.‘
The Other Side of the Island : A Novel, by Allegra Goodman (280 pages) – Honor and her family move to Island 365, where the weather is always nice, there’s no unhappiness or violence, and everyone prays to Earth Mother and her Corporation. Honor and her family don’t fit in, however, and she meets Helix; together they uncover a terrible secret about the island.
First sentence: ‘All this happened many years ago, before the streets were air-conditioned.‘
Crushed : A Year in Girl Hell, by Meredith Costain (137 pages) – It’s Lexi’s first year of high school and life is changing fast. Her friends split up and Lexi has to choose between her old friends and her new, cooler friends. And she develops a crush on Jack, one of the cool kids. For younger teens.
First sentence: ‘“Lexi, can you hurry up please?”‘
Undiscovered Country : A Novel, by Lin Enger (308 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Jesse is out hunting with his father in Minnesota on a cold, wintery day. His father is shot; and it looks like he had killed himself. His father’s ghost begins to haunt Jesse, and he soon uncovers family secrets and his own, new responsibility. This book is a ‘bold reinvention’ of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
First sentence: ‘As I write this, I am sitting in the kitchen of the small house where we’ve lived now for a decade.‘
Fouth Comings : A Novel, by Megan McCafferty (310 pages) – This is the fourth Jessica Darling book and it will be very difficult to summarise in my usual two or three sentences. But if you’ve read the others you will be hanging out for this (I know Grimm will probably be first to read it).
First sentence: ‘”Waiting sucks.” The voice was male and came from behind my right shoulder.”
Bliss, by Lauren Myracle (444 pages) – Bliss has grown up in a Californian commune, and is sent to live with her strict grandmother and to study at Crestview, an exclusive school for the rich with an old, dark history. There she is targetted by Sandy, a girl obsessed with the occult. A ‘contagiously creepy tale of high school horror.’
First sentence: ‘Grandmother won’t tolerate occultism, even of the nose-twitching sort made so adorable by Samantha Stevens, so I’m not allowed to watch Bewitched.’
The Beginner’s Guide to Living, by Lia Hills (248 pages)
A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, by Glenda Millard (225 pages)
Dead is a State of Mind, by Marlene Perez (175 pages)
Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, retold by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell (347 pages)
Saving Sam, by Susan Brocker (192 pages)
Skykids (Rated M) – Two friends sneak aboard a plane for a look and it takes off. They discover a bomb and then – to compound the dire situation further – realise that they’re the only ones left on board.
Grange Hill Series 1 & 2 (Rated PG) – Grange Hill was a British drama series about a group of kids at a high school. It lasted from 1978 until late last year. This DVD collects the first two series. Very retro. Maybe.
Robert Muchamore’s popular CHERUB series looks set to be turned into a television series by the BBC. Good news for fans of the books, which are about a group of kids who are trained to be spies – no one ever suspects kids of espionage! Check out the CHERUB website to learn more about the books.
This is the first New Book list for 2009. And there are lots of new books! Momentous.
Dangerous Angels : The Weetzie Bat Books, by Francesca Lia Block (478 pages) – Not really a new book, but this is a new collection of all five Weetzie Bat books. Which are absolutely brilliant, if a little controversial. Lia Block’s writing style is lush and lyrical.
First sentence: ‘The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood.’
Numbers, by David A. Poulson (230 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Andy Crockett’s new teacher is pretty cool, and Andy tries his darnest to impress Mr. Retzlaff. Untill it become apparent that Mr. R’s views on the Holocaust are insidious and dangerous, and to ace the class comes at a cost Andy is not willing to pay.
The Smile, Donna Jo Napoli (260 pages) – The smile in the title here refers to Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile, which has intrigued people for centuries. Lisa (short for Elisabetta) is fifteen, and her father’s friend, Leonardo da Vinci, insists he will one day paint her portrait. He also sets her up with the Medici family, which is probably a bad move.
First sentence: ‘“Elisabetta, where are you going?”‘
Caught Between the Pages, by Marlene Carvell (230 pages) – P. J. Barnes’ English teacher, Mrs. Jordon, is the only teacher who doesn’t ignore P. J.’s indifference to schoolwork. He finds her personal journal and sees an opportunity to get back at her – but when he reads it, it ’slams him with unexpected family secrets that hold the keys to his past, and possibly his future’.
First sentences: ‘“Barnes,” a voice hollered from the end of the hall. “You’re headed in the wrong direction.”‘
Blondetourage, by Allison Rushby (239pages) - Rich Girls is a reality show about two rich girls (obviously) who shop and party all around the planet. The blondetourage is the crew of people who have to follow them about. Elli Adamson dislikes Rich Girls and its two stars, but when her mother lands the job of cooking for them she finds herself part of the blondetourage.
First sentences: ‘“Okay. I can handle this. I can. I can, I can, I can. No, wait a second. I so can’t. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I …”‘
Twister, by Chris Ryan (274 pages) – Ben Tracey is not only on a plane that’s crashed after getting highjacked; he needs to stop an explosion at an oil refinery. There’s also a killer tornado coming, and there’s a traitor in their midst! More action that you can shake a stick at.
First (and only action-free) sentence: ‘It was the evenings that Ben Tracey liked most of all.‘
The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, by Anne Laurel Carter (224 pages) - Palestinian girl Amani’s family have always been shepherds, and she dreams of becoming one herself. Her family’s land is in danger of disappearing, and while her uncle and brother are tempted by militancy, Amani finds help from unexpected quarters, including a rabbi, and the son of a settler.
First sentence: ‘The first day Amani grazed sheep on her grandfather’s mountaintop was nearly her last.‘
Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa From a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room), by Ysabeau S. Wilce (511 pages) – Is that not the best title ever? This is a continuation of Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, perhaps the second best title ever. Awarding-winning fantasy. And it has a giant squid.
First sentence: ‘1. Do not trust banished Butlers who promise they will do your chores but are actually tricking you into giving them all your Will so that you start fading into Nothing.‘
Goodbye Jamie Boyd, by Elizabeth Fensham (88 pages) – ‘Before I killed him, my big brother was my best friend.‘ How’s that for an opening sentence? This book is about friendship and mental illness; it is written in poetic verse.
Ten Cents a Dance, by Christine Fletcher (356 pages) – ‘We heard the music even before we got to Union Hall.‘ It is the 1940s in Chicago, and 15-year-old Ruby finds herself swept up in the dodgy world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob.
Getting the Girl : A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery, by Susan Juby (341 pages) – ‘I was sitting on the old blue beachers with Dini.’ (A bleacher, interestingly, is what those tiered benches at sport grounds are called in the U.S.) Sherman Mack’s friend Dini is in danger of becoming ‘d-listed’ by someone at their school. Determined to uncover who is responsible, Sherman ’snatches up his surveillance gear and launches a full-scale investigation’. Part comedy and part mystery.
Blue Sky Freedom, by Gaby Halberstam (272 pages) - ‘It was the first day back after the Christmas holidays; my satchel was so stuffed with books it was creaking.’ This is a story of love, loss and courage set against the backdrop of apartheid-torn South Africa.
Spray, by Harry Egde (279 pages) – ‘Someone was after him already.’ Two-hundred teenagers sign up for an assassination game using water pistols that will last three weeks. Which sounds like a lot of fun, I reckon. This game, however, becomes more than harmless fun for some of the participants.
Infamous : An It Girl Novel, by Cecily von Ziegesar (240 pages) – ‘It was unnaturally quiet in the main reading room in Sawyer Library on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.’ This is the seventh book of the It Girl series, an off-shoot from the incredibly popular Gossip Girl series. (Coincidentally, I’m writing this in a library on the Thursday afternoon before Thanksgiving, although it’s not unnaturally quiet.)
The Singing : The Fourth Book of Pellinor, by Alison Croggon (486 pages) – ‘A shepherd was gathering firewood by the old Pellinor Road when a strange sight caught his attention.‘ This is the final book in the series, so if you’ve been reading this epic, ‘post-Tolkien’ book series, you will definitely want to read this. It has quite a few reserves already!
Melting Stones, by Tamora Pierce (312 pages) – ‘”Hey, kid – stop hanging off that rail!” A sailor, one of the women, was yelling at me.’ The newest Circle of Magic fantasy by one of the genre’s top writers.
Good news! Robert Muchamore is beginning a new series called Henderson’s Boys set in World War II about kids working undercover to help win the war. Again, for official purposes, these children do not exist…
The first book, called The Escape, is going to be released next year. Reserve it now!
Little Brother is the latest book by Cory Doctorow (and one of last week’s New Books). It’s about a computer-savvy 17-year-old named Marcus, who is apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security shortly after terrorists blow up a bridge in San Francisco. He is released to a paranoid and martial city, where personal freedoms and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are ignored in favour of ’security’. Marcus and his friends are able to use their knowledge of computers and technology to subvert the government’s increasing authoritarianism and regain their freedom.
It’s an exciting, well-paced thriller, and much of the technology used in the book has an element of truth;if you’re interested in the ‘techno-counterculture’, this book is a good place to start. (It has a little romance as well, so it’s not all about computers!)
The best part is that the entire book can be downloaded for free! Oh nice.
Samurai Girl is a six-book series about Heaven Kogo, who, when a baby, was the sole survivor of Japan’s worst air disaster and was subsequently adopted by an uber-wealthy family. At nineteen she is about to get married when her wedding is attacked by ninjas, who kill her brother. She discovers that everything isn’t as it ought to be, and escapes to learn the Path of the Samurai so she may look after herself.
If that sounds pretty good to you, or you are already a fan of the books, you will be excited to learn that a three-part television series has just screened in the US! It’s a mystery as to whether or not it will screen here, but in the meantime there’s plenty to do on the official website.
Or else you can read the library’s copies of the books.
The world’s largest urban warfare training ground stands in the desert near Las Vegas. Forty British commandos are being hunted by an entire American battalion.
But their commander has an ace up his sleeve: he plans to smuggle in ten CHERUB agents, and fight the best war game ever.
CHERUB agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that kids are spying on them…