Pretty Little Liars is now a television series. It will premier in the US in a few days’ time. This is what it’s about!
Three years ago the leader (Alison) of a group of girls disappears. Now someone calling themselves ‘A’ is threatening to expose the secrets of the group, who all fit the Gossip Girl mold. With a bit of mystery thrown in, the series has been called ‘Desperate Housewives for teens.’
(I wrote that a year ago and now not so sure about the Desperate Housewives reference?) Anyway! You can view the trailer here, at the official site. You have to watch an ad for cheese slices first though. It’s produced by the same people who make The Vampire Diaries, which will screen here eventually, apparently.
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell is the prequel to the popular and trend-setting Sex and the City, which inspired the ridiculously popular TV series of the same name. The Carrie Diaries follows Carrie Bradshaw in her senior year in high school, so you get an idea of how Carrie became Carrie, how she got to love writing and (maybe) expensive shoes etc. All this with 1980s American culture as a backdrop – the hair, the clothes, the eyeshadow, the music.
Another large load from the new book factory.
Meridian, Amber Kizer (305 pages) – “dark, lovely and lushly romantic” says the cover. Meridian is half human, half angel and she’s packed off to her great aunt’s to come to terms with this fact. Here she must learn how to be who she is, work out how to use her gifts, and deal with the ever-present dark danger of the Aternocti. If you like books like Hush, Hush you might be interested?
First sentence: The first creatures to see me were the insects; my parents cleaned the bassinet free of dead ants the morning after they brought me home from the hospital.
The Mark, Jen Nadol (228 pages) – Cassandra can tell when people are about to die (there’s a glow like candlelight that only she can see). After coming to terms with this fact she sets about working out what this means, and whether she can influence fate.
First sentence: There is nothing like the gut-hollowing experience of watching someone die, especially when you know it’s coming.
The Orange Houses, Paul Griffin (147 pages) – Three outsiders - Mik, who is hearing impared; Jimmi, a street poet; and Fatima, a refugee – form a tight friendship and “set off an explosive chain of events that will alter the course of each of their lives.”
First sentence: Everybody’s eyes were like, Say what?
The Lonely Hearts Club, Elizabeth Fulberg (285 pages) – Penny swears off boys and forms The Lonely Hearts Club which becomes super popular, which is only bad when the founding member of said club finds a boy she kind of likes…
First sentence: I, Penny Lane Bloom, do solemnly swear to never date another boy for as long as I shall live.
Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials, Rosalind Wiseman (279 pages) – Charlie is trying to lay low in high school, since middle school ended up getting a bit ugly, but then her old best friend, Will, arrives back in town and he’s super popular on account of being hot, and Charlie ends up in the thick of things again, which turns “near deadly”. A story of friendship and what happens when you try too hard to fit in.
First sentence: Here’s the deal.
Hold Still, Nina LaCour (229 pages) – Caitlin’s friend Ingrid committed suicide, leaving behind her journal of writings and illustrations, which Caitlin reads and processes in the subsequent year.
First sentence: I watch drops of water fall from the ends of my hair.
The Vinyl Princess, Yvonne Prinz (313 pages) – Allie’s into vinyl and works at a record shop – bliss if you’re really into music. In this environment she works on her Vinyl Princess persona, publishing her first zine, blogging, and finding the true music geeks she knows must be out there. A story riding the Zeitgeist.
First sentence: I sense him in my midst.
The Life of Glass, Jillian Cantor (340 pages) – Melissa is coming to terms with the loss of her much-loved father, and with what it means to be beautiful, on the inside and the outside.
First sentence: The last thing my father ever told me was that it takes glass a million years to decay.
Last Night I Sang to the Monster, Benjamin Alire Saenz (239 pages) – Zach is eighteen and in rehab, suffering from amnesia induced by alcohol and depression. With help he can (we hope!) work through it all toward a better life.
First sentence: I want to gather up all the words in the world and write them down on little pieces of paper – then throw them in the air.
Lockdown, Walter Dean Myers (247 pages) – Reese is in juvy and wants to get out as soon as possible, but his friend Toon is getting a hard time and it’s hard being squeaky clean when people want to push you around.
First sentence: “I hope you mess this up!”
Undead Much?, Stacey Jay (306 pages) – zombies running amok again at school, with Megan Berry having to sort out the undead mess, which is hard when one of the undead might be even hotter than your hot boyfriend (and psychic too – how can you be psychic though if you don’t have a brain?).
First sentence: Okay, this was it.
A Voice of Her Own, Barbara Dana (343 pages) – subtitled “Becoming Emily Dickinson”. Emily Dickinson is one of America’s pre-eminent 19th Century poets, an unusual character known for her poems about death (’Because I would not stop for death he kindly stopped for me’ etc), and who wore only white and refused to conform to society’s expectations. A Voice of Her Own brings to life her childhood and her unique voice.
First sentence: It was too dreary, the last of our family’s possessions piled by the side of the road as if Gypsies had relinquished squatter’s rights and were moving on to points unknown.
A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts, Ying Chang Compestine (176 pages) – the cover says “A collection of deliciously frightening tales”. Chinese ghosts, apparently, are a bit of a nightmare unless you offer them some tempting food. Lucky, then, that this collection of short stories also contains recipes.
First sentence (from ‘Steamed Dumplings’): Long ago, in 200 B.C.E., there was a small village called Bright Stars situated in the northern mountains of China, along the midsection of the Great Wall.
Nothing, Janne Teller (227 pages) – translated from the Danish and described as ‘A Lord of the Flies for the twenty-first century’. Pierre Anthon climbs a plum tree and doesn’t come down because life is worth nothing. His friends are, unsurprisingly, concerned for him, so set about proving there is meaning in life by creating a “pile of meaning” in a sawmill, an exercise which sounds pretty cool on face value, but becomes sinister as the friends push each other beyond the limit.
First sentence: Nothing matters.
The Billionaire’s Curse, Richard Newsome (355 pages) – Gerald is a billionaire at thirteen, which sounds pretty cool, but his new status as a billionaire means he must solve a murder, with the help of his friends, because his life is in imminent danger.
First sentence: The clock on the wall chimed twice.
Drama Girl, Carmen Reid (Secrets at St Jude’s, 287 pages) – Gina, Niffy and Amy discover that mixing their home friends and their school friends can be problematic. Drama ensues.
First sentence: ‘Mom!’ Gina Peterson exclaimed, holding her arms wide for a hug.
Hi! Here are this week’s new books.
Watching Jimmy, by Nancy Hartry (152 pages) – Carolyn’s best friend, Jimmy, is assaulted by his uncle, and is left with brain damage. The uncle tells everyone that Jimmy fell from a swing, but Carolyn knows the truth. She must protect Jimmy from his uncle and also try to raise some funds for Jimmy’s brain surgery.
First line: ‘Uncle Ted said Jimmy bumped his head falling off the swing.‘
Alphas, by Lisi Harrison (261 pages) – This promises to be the first in a series by the author of The Clique. It’s set in the exclusive Alpha Academy on Alpha Island, where one hundred girls – all ‘exceptional dancers, writers, musicians, and inventors’ – live a kind of Survivor-esque lifestyle? I feel inadequate just reading the blurb.
First line: ‘There were five Skye Hamiltons in the Body Alive Dance Studio.‘
The Everafter, by Amy Huntly (144 pages) – Madison is dead, and in a vast & dark space she shares with all the things she lost when she was alive. The items allow her to re-experience and even change moments from her life. She consequently learns truths about her life; and ‘the strength of true love even beyond death.’
First line: ‘I’m dead.‘
Perfect You, by Elizabeth Scott (282 pages) – Kate is forced to work with her dad, who has quit his job to sell vitamins in a mall. Her best friend’s new-found popularity means she now ignores Kate, and she doesn’t know how to react when the gorgeous Will shows an interest in her. SO. She tries to stop caring about anyone or anything, which is never a good idea is it? No.
First line: ‘Vitamins had ruined my life.‘
How to Say Goodbye in Robot, by Natalie Standiford (276 pages) – Bea moves to a new town and makes friends with Jonah, a ‘quiet observer’, rather than one of the ‘very cheery, very friendly, very average’ girls she meets on the first day. Jonah’s and Bea’s friendship is intense to say the least. Also they have a thing for Iceland, my favourite country!
First line: ‘Goebbels materialized on the back patio, right before we moved to Baltimore, and started chewing through the wicker love seat.‘
The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain (372 pages) – A supernatural Christian romance (the first, maybe?) about the daughter of a pastor, Grace Divine, and the apple of her eye, Daniel Kalbi, who comes from a line of demon-hunting werewolves.
First lines: ‘”Grace! You have got to see the new guy.” April bounded up to me in the junior hallway.‘
First line: ‘There are these bizarre people who actually like physical education class.‘
The Museum of Mary Child, by Cassandra Golds (329 pages) – Handily annotated by the catalogue: ‘Heloise finds a mysterious doll and is forced to run away, ending up in an orphanage. But one day, she must return to the house where the devastating secret of her past awaits.‘
First lines: ‘A shaft of moonlight. A barred window. A bed of straw, and a young man, little more than a boy, chained to a wall.‘
Rage : A Love Story, by Mary Anne Peters (293 pages) – From the catalogue again, as it can be difficult to summarise a book just from the blurb! ‘At the end of high school, Johanna finally begins dating the girl she has loved from afar, but Reeve is as much trouble as she claims to be as she and her twin brother damage Johanna’s self-esteem, friendships, and already precarious relationship with her sister.‘
First line: ‘I locate the room on the first floor where Mrs Goins asked me to meet her.‘
Wish You Were Dead, by Todd Strasser (236 pages) – An anonymous blogger wishes the school’s most popularist girl was dead, and the next day she disappears. Her friend, Madison, begins to receive notes that say she’s next; she turns to mysterious new student Tyler for assistance with the mystery.
First line: ‘The red taillights of Tyler Starling’s ugly purple car disappeared into the dark.‘
Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud (389 pages) – Epic fantasy set in an enormous valley, which was once a wild place besieged by bloodthirsty Trows. Now that it’s much calmer, Halli pines for the olden days of legendary heroes. A chance to go on a daring quest unites him with Aud, a girl as headstrong and reckless as he is.
First line: ‘Listen then, and I’ll tell you again of the Battle of the Rock.‘
Fallen, by Lauren Kate (452 pages) – This book has loads of reserves on it! It looks to be a supernatural romance (a la Twilight etc.) about a girl named Luce, who goes to a new school and meets Daniel, to whom she is irrestibly attracted. He is an angel btw and things get complex.
First line: ‘Luce barged into the fluorescent-lit lobby of the Sword & Cross School ten minutes later than she should have.‘
Manstealing for Fat Girls, by Michelle Embree (256 pages)
Once a Princess : Sasharia en Garde! Book 1, by Sherwood Smith (278 pages)
Twice a Prince : Sasharia en Garde! Book 2, by Sherwood Smith (265 pages)
We’ve had loads of new books lately. Here are more!
Shadowland : The Immortals, by Alyson Noel (339 pages) – This is the third book in The Immortals series. Ever and Damen have lived through many past lives to be together, but a curse inteferes with their long-awaited destiny. Damen ends up in the Shadowland, and Ever meets a magickal surfer named Jude.
First lines: ‘“Everything is energy.” Damen’s dark eyes focus on mine, urging me to listen, really listen this time.‘
Suzi Clue : The Prom Queen Curse, by Michelle Kehm (309 pages) – Suzi Clue solves mysteries, is fifteen, ‘fiesty and fabulous’. As the prom queens fall prey to various mishaps, and the prom is threatened with cancellation, Suzi decides the only way to find out what’s happening is by running for prom queen herself.
First line: ‘Kathryn has never been happier in her whole life.‘
VIP Lounge : A Chole Gamble Novel, by Ed Decter and Laura J. Burns (339 pages) – Chloe Gamble is the hottest thing in Hollywood. She’s a film star and a music sensation, and people around her want in on her money and fame, I guess? The second book in a series!
First lines: ‘Hurricane Chloe. That’s what I called Chloe Gamble in the weeks after she landed her first starring role.‘
The Van Alen Legacy : A Blue Bloods Novel, by Melissa de la Cruz (369 pages) – This is the fourth Blue Bloods book, and continues the story of rich Upper East Side vampires.
First line: ‘“It is said that Allegra’s daughter will defeat the Silver Bloods.”‘
The Secret Life of Prince Charming, by Deb Caletti (322 pages) – All the women in Quinn’s life have had their hearts broken at some stage, and after she herself is dumped, she starts to think that there are no good men. When her no-good father turns up she decides to take the bull by its horns and right her father’s numerous wrongs.
First line: ‘When it came to love, my mother’s big advice was that there were WARNING SIGNS.‘
The Real Real : A Novel, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (310 pages) – From the catalogue synopsis – ‘When Hampton High senior Jesse is cast in a reality television show along with five other, more popular students, drama on and off screen reveals that what the audience and producers want is not the same as what Jesse wants.‘
First lines: ‘“Single file! Everyone, line up on the LEFT!” Mrs Gesop shouts to be heard over the din of students crowding into the impractically narrow hallway between the stairwell and the auditorium.‘
Gifted : Better Late Than Never, by Marilyn Kaye (215 pages) and Gifted : Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, also by Marilyn Kaye (213 pages) – Books 2 & 3 in the Gifted series, about nine teenagers who are gifted and can read minds, or see into the future, and so forth.
First lines: ‘Jenna Kelly stood at her bedroom window and gazed outside without really seeing anything.‘ ‘Sometimes Emily wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or having one of her visions.‘
The Treasure Map of Boys : Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon, and me, Ruby Oliver, by E. Lockhart (224 pages)
So many new books!
Everything Sucks : Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool, by Hannah Friedman (256 pages) – Hannah Friedman re-invented herself when she won a scholarship to an exclusive private school, and soon had a millionaire boyfriend, a designer wardrobe, and became super-popular. This is a true story! And these things come with a cost (addictions, eating disorders, etc.)
Hostage, by Karen Tayleur (191 pages) – Tully is abducted and for 24 hours she is a hostage. The blurb says, ‘Or so she says …‘ Was she or wasn’t she? I can not answer that.
First line: ‘The thing I remember, the one thing that is really clear to me, is that the chemist floor had a large black scuff near the counter.‘
Darkwood, by M. E. Breen (273 pages) – Annie Trewitt is an orphan whose uncle has terrible plans for her. So she runs away, into the forest, where the sinister kinderstalk live, and soon discovers they ain’t so bad afterall.
First line: ‘The sun sets so quickly in Howland that the people who live there have no word for evening.‘
The Book of the Maidservant, by Rebecca Barnhouse (232 pages) – Joanna is maidservant to Dame Margery Kempe, who wrote the first autobiography in English in the mid-1400s. She was very religious! Joanna goes with her on a pilgrimage to Rome but is abandoned in a foreign land, and must somehow get to Rome herself.
First line: ‘My mistress says you mustn’t stare into the fire lest the devil look out at you from the flames.‘
Love You Hate You Miss You, by Elizabeth Scott (276 pages) – Amy’s best friend Julia died in a car crash, and now Amy is struggling to cope with the loss. She feels a bit responsible. But maybe things before the accident weren’t as perfect as she thought?
First line: ‘Dear Julia – Get this, I’m supposed to be starting a journal about “my journey.”‘
Beautiful World, by Anastasia Hollings (209 pages) – Amelia has been moved from boarding school to boarding school (her dad’s an untenured professor) and so never quite gets to get in with all the rich & beautiful people she schools with. She’s also a clever liar! So she gets in with an ‘Upper East Side heiress’ who allows Amelia to live like Blair Waldorf. But only through lying! Might be the beginning of a series?
First line: ‘You’ve seen their faces, perfectly tanned all year-round, smiling at you from the society pages and socialite rankings.‘
Bite Me!, by Melissa Francis (296 pages) -A.J. Ashe is seventeen. Her ex-boyfriend is now her step-brother, and she’s being stalked by a former classmate. She’s also a vampire. Also! She has to save the world.
First lines: ‘My mother’s wedding day. I should be thrilled she’s getting hitched to the man of her dreams.‘
The Set-Up : The Medusa Project : Book One, by Sophie McKenzie (293 pages) – Four teenagers develop psychic powers. (When they were babies they were implanted with the ‘Medusa gene’ by a scientist who has since died.) Someone sinister wants the gene, however, and they will do anything to get it.
First line: ‘I’m Nico and what I’m about to tell you is Secret and Dangerous and True.‘
Breathing, by Cheryl Renee Herbsman (265 pages) – Savannah falls in love with Jackson, a boy who she reckons is different from the rest. He follows his mother’s strict dating rules, and when she’s hospitalised with an asthma attack he stays by her side. But he has to help his family and he mightn’t be back.
First line: ‘Strange feelings come over me sometimes, kind of like deja vu, only before it happens.‘
Purge, by Sarah Darer Littman (234 pages) – Janie is sent to a psychiatric hospital to get help for her bulimia. She’s holding some trauma deep inside her, and in order to stop purging she must ‘fish painful memories out of her emotional waters‘.
First line: ‘At least they’ve given me a journal, even if it’s just a cheapo notebook like everyone else’s.‘
Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst (308 pages) – Cassie’s grandmother used to tell her how her mother made a deal with the Polar Bear King, and Arctic castles made of ice. Now older, Cassie is suddenly made aware that fairytales could be true, and makes her own deal with the Polar Bear King,
First line: “Once upon a time, the North Wind said to the Polar Bear King, “Steal me a daughter, and when she grows, she will be your bride.”‘
Love the One You’re With : Gossip Girl – The Carlyles, by Annabelle Vestry (213 pages) – The Carlyle triplets are off to the tropics for Thanksgiving. They are taking their friends, and as a matter of course there are ’sultry poolside encounters’ and a character named ‘Baby.’
First lines: ‘“So, what’s up for Thanksgiving? What does your family usually do?” Avery Carlyle asked her friends Jack Laurent and Jiffy Bennett.‘
There’s a whole bunch of new books here, all by Kate Brian. They are all in the Private series, about Reed Brennan and her new school’s elite sorority. She joins them! And they are posh and rich and are called the Billings girls. There are about eleven in the series, and should you want to read them in order they are Private, Invitation Only, Untouchable, Confessions, Inner Circle, Legacy, Ambition, Revelation, Paradise Lost, Suspicion, and Last Christmas, which is actually a prequel.
Also there is a spin-off series, as is so often the case! This series is the Privilege series; Privilege, Beautiful Disaster, and Perfect Mistake. The titles are a little grim, and that is because the books are also a little grim! It’s as if Patricia Highsmith wrote Gossip Girl, maybe?
These are this week’s new books. Some are long-awaited! Some aren’t, but may be very good. I remember when Twilight and The Book Thief came out – they sat on the shelves for ages before they became super-popular. You just never know, do you.
I Will Always Love You : A Gossip Girl Novel, by Cecily Von Ziegesar (387 pages) – Here it is; the latest Gossip Girl book. What happens? I think they’re at college, which is what the Americans call university, and this book follows the original gang when they’re home for the winter break.
First lines: ‘“You awake, Scout?” Blair Waldorf awoke from a nap to the sight of her boyfriend, Pete Carlson, gazing down at here.‘
As You Wish, by Jackson Pearce (298 pages) – Viola’s boyfriend broke up with her, sadly. But! She accidently summons a genie, named Jinn, with whom she begins to fall in love. So to keep him around she delays her third wish.
First line: ‘All I’ve learned in today’s Shakespeare class is: Sometimes you have to fall in love with the wrong person just so you can find the right person.‘
Alex Rider : Crocodile Tears, by Anthony Rider (388 pages) – HERE IT IS! The seventh Alex Rider book. It’s in great demand so won’t be on the shelf for aaaages. Alex Rider is a teen who moonlights as a secret agent for the British government. He’s not too fond of the situation but I bet he secretly loves the gadgets.
First line: ‘Ravi Chandra was going to be a rich man.‘
Vacations from Hell, by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski (280 pages) – This is a collection of short stories about vacations from hell. They are ghost stories! Just in time for the Xmas holidays.
Tempted : A House of Night Novel, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (319 pages) – The blurb for this is difficult to summarise! So here is the catalogue description. ‘Zoey Redbird, High Priestess-in-training, finds herself juggling three guys–one of which is so into protecting her that he can sense her emotions. Meanwhile the dark force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading, and only Zoey has the power to stop the evil immortal Kalona who is behind it. Will Zoey have the courage to chance losing her life, her heart, and her soul?‘ WILL SHE?
First line: ‘The night sky over Tulsa was alight with a magical crescent moon.‘
Don’t Judge a Girl by her Cover, by Ally Carter (263 pages) – This is the third Gallagher Girls book. The Gallgher Academy for Exceptional Young Women trains girls into spies. One of them – Morgan – must help her pal-with-a-stalker, Macey, whose father has been nominated for the US presidency.
First lines: ‘“We’re moving.” The man beside me spoke into the microphone in his sleeve, and I knew the words weren’t for me.‘
First line: ‘Why is it that when you don’t want to think about something, you can’t stop thinking about it?‘
Fortune’s Folly, by Deva Fagan (260 pages) – Fortuna tells fakes fortunes so that she and her father can eat. But when she tells Prince Leonato his fortune, she must make sure it’s fulfilled or her father gets it. There’s a magic sword, a wicked witch, and a golden shoe. Oh and she falls in love with the prince! I hope it ends happily.
First line: ‘Life would have been much easier if I believed in fairy tales.‘
Sacred Scars : A Resurrection of Magic – Book 2, by Kathleen Duey (554 pages) – From the catalogue again (it’s difficult to summarise 554 pages): ‘In alternate chapters, Sadima works to free captive boys forced to copy documents in the caverns of Limòri, and Hahp makes a pact with the remaining students of a wizards’ academy in hopes that all will survive their training, as both learn valuable lessons about loyalty.‘
First line: ‘Sadima sat cross-legged on the cold stone, just outside the cage.‘
Betrayals : A Strange Angels Novel, by Lili St. Crow (296 pages) – Werewolves (in this they’re called ‘wulfen’, singular ‘werwulf’), vampires (or ‘djamphirs’) and orphans (also called … oh wait) – this has it all. ‘Suspenseful and action-packed.’
First line: ‘Windshield wipers struggled back and forth, clumped with snow.‘
Blood Promise : A Vampire Academy Novel, by Richelle Mead (503 pages) – This is book four in the series. Rose has to kill her one true love, Dimitri, who has turned bad. Awkward! Probably for the best though.
First line: ‘Once when I was in ninth grade, I had to write a paper on a poem.‘
Almost Perfect, Brian Katcher (357 pages) – Logan begins a relationship with Sage, sort of, only to discover that she’s a boy (transgender). Obviously this is a major thing for him to work through: will he be able to maintain a friendship with her?
First sentence: Everyone has that one line they swear they’ll never cross, the one thing they say they’ll never do.
Demon Princess: Reign or Shine, Michelle Rowen (284 pages) – Nikki finds out that her absent father is the demon king of Shadowlands, so she follows the bearer of the news there to find out more (the bearer happens to be cute). As you’d expect with hereditary titles, her father’s keen for her to take the throne.
First sentence: “That guy is staring at you.”
Archenemy, Frank Beddor (370 pages) – the gripping conclusion to The Looking Glass Wars. Something strange is happening to Wonderland, and it’s not just Arch declaring himself king. Conundrums of evaporating puddles, shimmering portals, assassins, metamorphoses, action aplenty. The dude on the cover has got the coolest suit of armour and gun thingy ever.
First sentence: Alyss of Wonderland raced up the front walk, using her imagination to unlock the door and turn the latch.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagaru Tanigawa (200 pages) – First published in Japan in 2003 and described as “the phenomenon that took Japan by storm” which is super cool. Haruhi and Kyon set up an after school club, as you do, all very usual. Unusually, Haruhi has the power to destroy the universe.
First sentence: The question of how long someone believed in Santa Claus is a worthless topic that would never come up in idle conversation.
Punkzilla, Adam Rapp (244 pages) – Jamie, who is Punkzilla, embarks on a road trip to visit his brother who is dying of cancer. Along the way he catalogues, in epistolary fashion (letter writing), the gritty, freakish and interesting people he meets along the way.
First sentence: Hey, I’m finally writing you back.
One Wish, Leigh Brescia (311 pages) – An overweight teenager who determines to do something about this, and is largely successful, learns that the grass is not necessarily greener on the skinny and beautiful side of the fence, particularly when you go to great (dodgy) lengths for your new svelte body.
First sentence: Nobody ever asks you if you want to be popular.
Darke Academy: Secret Lives, Gabriella Poole (267 pages) – The first in a series which I’m going to describe merely by quoting the tagline on the cover (and you can do the rest): “You’ll be dying to join the chosen few.” Good news is the next book, Blood Ties, is less than six months away.
First sentence: “Hey, is that you?”
Tricks, Ellen Hopkins (625 pages) – A novel in verse, interweaving the stories of five different teenagers. Sounds clever, quite serious subject matter.
First sentence: But do they know how / to craft fiction?
Little Black Lies, Tish Cohen (305 pages) – Sara is at a new school in a new town, which seems like the perfect recipe for starting again and leaving behind her difficult past, especially with the help of a few fabrications of truth: popularity awaits. But then a dethroned popular girl starts getting suspicious.
First sentence: “What the…?” Gripping the vinyl passenger seat of the VW bus, I try not to hit the window as my father takes a corner too fast in his rush not to be late for our first day at Boston’s illustrious Anton High School.
That’s it for now. Yet more to come!
Here’s a small amount of new stuff (no book covers though, as the server’s currently down). The little hooks are how we rate the first sentence.
Fade, by Lisa McMann (248 pages) – the sequel to Wake. Cassandra Clare calls the book “shuddersome”, which is kind of a cool word. The dream catchers Janie and Cabel must expose something horrid that’s going on at Fieldridge High.
First sentence: Janie spirits through the snowy yards from two streets away and slips quietly through the front door of her house.
Hate List, by Jennifer Brown (408 pages) – Val’s boyfriend, Nick, uses a list he and she created (of things and people they hate) to mow down their classmates in the cafeteria. The story is about Val coming to grips with her role in what has happened, the loss of her boyfriend, and how to move on.
First sentence: The scene in the Garvin High School cafeteria, known as the Commons, is being described as “grim” by investigators who are working to identify the victims of a shooting spree that erupted Friday morning.
Killer, by Sara Shepard (A Pretty Little Liars novel, 321 pages) – the sixth book in the series, the first paragraph on the dust jacket says it all: “In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystal. But pictures often lie – and so do Rosewood’s four prettiest girls.”
First sentence: What if, all of a sudden, you could remember every single second of your entire life?
When Irish Guys are Smiling, by Suzanne Supplee (211 pages), and The Great Call of China, by Cynthea Liu (246 pages) – these two titles are part of the series S.A.S.S., or Students Across the Seven Seas, about girls (mostly I think) who go on exchange, experience culture shock, learn about themselves, meet cute guys, and all the other things you’d expect.
Ember Fury, by Cathy Brett (232 pages) – Ember Fury’s parents are celebrities, and they are more interested in their own rise to the top than they are in Ember. So Ember – who hates the whole celebrity world – is a pyromaniac.
First sentence: ‘Fizzzzz … crack … whoosh … It was a tiny tongue at first, then it spread like a rippling, orange blanket over the floorboards and poured itself up the walls.’
Brainjack, by Brian Falkner (438 pages) – Sam Wilson, brilliant teenage computer hacker, has a go at the computer systems of the White House. This reckless obsession leads Sam into a dangerous world of ‘espionage and intrigue; of cybercrime and imminent war.’ Dangerous, sure, but pretty exciting you must admit.
First sentence: ‘On Friday, on his way to school, Sam Wilson brought the United States of America to its knees.‘
Mwah Mwah, by Chloe Rayban (263 pages) – Hannah’s plans for the holidays are foiled by her mother, who sends her off to Paris for a fortnight. Hannah isn’t too happy as she will have to stay with the unpleasant Matthilde (although I think we’d all like to grin and bear it if it means a couple of weeks in Paris).
First sentence: ‘”Mayjesweesewer. Annaseraravy! Weegrobeezoo. Abeeantow.”‘