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.‘
Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw (290 pages) – West Point is a really, really old school in New York for officer cadets in the US Army. It is steeped in tradition! But don’t just take my word for it; check wikipedia! Seventeen-year-old Andrea Davis has been accepted, which gives her the chance to escape her dysfunctional family and to ‘prove to herself that she has what it takes’. But is she prepared for what the training (which is called “Beast” by the cadets, so presumably it’s far from easy). Battle Dress is based on the author’s own experiences.
4First line: ‘The morning I left for West Point, nobody showed up at my house to say good-bye.‘
Family, by Micol Ostow (376 pages) – Melinda Jensen is seventeen, and flees to San Francisco to escape her abusive home life. She falls in with Henry, a charismatic leader of a cultish ‘family’ of people. It is the seventies! Henry is a bit Charlie Manson-ish! This book is written in the form of episodic verse (poems).
First line: ‘I have always been broken‘
Purple Daze, by Sherry Shahan (207 pages) – 1965, and the times were changing very quickly! Riots, assassinations, wars, and all the kinds of other social upheavals that made the decade famous. For those things. You know what I mean. This group of high school friends live through it all, and their stories are told via letters, diaries, notes, and poems. Mainly poems, for it is written in the form of episodic verse.
First line: ‘We’re slumped on the front seat of a low-slung Pontiac, cherry paint job.‘
Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough (454 pages) – Long Lankin is a very old folk song about a man who murders his lord’s wife and infant son when he’s not paid for some work he did on the lord’s castle. I didn’t say it was a happy song! Grim were the days before Fair Go, haha. ANYWAY, this book is about two girls who go to stay with their great-aunt who lives in ye olde house, Guerdon Hall. The aunt isn’t too happy they’re there; the last time two young girls were there her life was ‘devasted’. And now an old evil presence has been awakened …
First line: ‘There’s too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.‘
Venomous, by Christopher Krovatin (323 pages) – High-school junior Locke Vinetti has a problem with his anger. He can not control it, and he calls it ‘the venom’. Now he’s a bit of a loner! He meets Renee, the ‘beautiful, messed-up goth girl of his dreams’. But can he get rid of the venom also? This book is interspersed with comic-style illustrations!
First line: ‘The city is absolutely gray today.‘
Rampart, by Diana Peterfreund (402 pages) – Astrid Llewelyn’s boyfriend is rendered unable to take her to the prom when he is attacked by a killer unicorn. Astrid had always ignored her mother’s belief in killer unicorns (can you blame her) and now she’s off to Rome to train as a killer unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters, for she is descended from one of the greatest killer unicorn hunters that ever hunted. Killer unicorns!
First lines: ‘“‘I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.’” I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.‘
Crusade, by Linda Press Wulf (245 pages) – A boy atop a white charger rides into Georgette’s village. He is surrounded by other children, and he wants more to join his Crusade to the Holy Lands. It is a journey of great danger and peril! And one that may have happened, and most likely failed disastrously. (Another book set during the Children’s Crusade is Angel Fish, by Lili Wilkinson.)
First lines: ‘Foundling. Orphan. Parish child. All these names belonged to him but he didn’t want to belong to them.‘
Steel, by Carrie Vaughn (294 pages) – Jill is sixteen and a master fencer. She goes on holiday with her family to the Bahamas and finds a old, broken, piece of a rapier blade. It transports her back it time, and she winds up on the deck of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. Luckily she can use a sword! ‘Time travel, swordplay, and romance’, says the blurb, accurately.
First lines: ‘Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Rearanged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip.‘
Shine, by Lauren Myracle (359 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Cat’s former best friend, Patrick, is founded nearly beaten to death for being gay, she swears vengeance on the attackers. She doesn’t believe the sherriff, who reckons it was done by out-of-towners, but Cat is sure it was someone in their isolated rural community. ‘Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone in the name of justice.’
First lines: ‘Patrick’s house was a ghost. Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch.‘
Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (330 pages) – Gwen is a normal teenaged girl living in an exclusive part of London. Her family haven’t told her about the ability some of the women have to time travel, since it seems that the gene skipped over her. But! When she started time travelling she doesn’t know what’s going on, and so goes on a crash course in time travel, secret societies, living in the olden days, and Gideon, a gorgeous fellow time traveller.
First lines: ‘Hyde Park, London: 8 April 1912. As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park. Just as he’d expected, it was empty at this early hour.‘
Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer (377 pages) – Tansy Piper moves to a tiny Texan town with her mother. They move into an old, spooky house, and Tansy finds some things that belonged to Henry, a mysterious and troubled man who lived (and died!) there long ago. She can visit his world through the lens of her camera and soon she becomes more involved with his life than the real life of the present. oOooOo ghoooooosts oOooOo
First line: ‘I died on a bitter, cold night.‘
We have loads of new books. We are overwhelmed! Something to do with the financial year ending, and budgets being spent. Today is the first day of the new financial year, so happy new financial year? Let us celebrate with some new YA fiction, as is traditional from times gone by.
Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry (458 pages) – It is the near future. And the world is no longer safe for anyone, thanks to a zombie apocalypse. Humans live in small settlements, and all teens have to start working at the age of 15 or they won’t get fed. Benny, who has just hit 15, reluctantly agrees to become a zombie-killing bounty hunter with his dull brother, Tom. What he thought would be a boring (!) job turns out to be … not boring at all.
First line: ‘Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.‘
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird (423 pages) - Sixteen-year-old Maggie is accused of witchcraft, and flees for her life. For it is Scotland during the 1600s! Her grandmother, also accused, is hanged, so Maggie runs to her uncle’s place. Her uncle is part of a movement rebelling against the English crown, and she can not entirely escape her past (the whole ‘witch’ thing) when an old enemy puts in an appearance.
First line: ‘I was the first one to see the dead whale lying on the sand at Scalpsie bay.‘
You Killed Wesley Payne : A Novel, by Sean Beaudoin (359 pages) – Dalton Rev has just transferred to a new school. Dalton is a ‘hard-boiled PI’ and also seventeen, and he is going to take on his hardest case ever; to discover who killed Wesley Payne? A ’smart, slick, and hilarious detective novel.’
First line: ‘Dalton Rev thundered into the parking lot of Salt River High, a squat brick building at the top of a grassless hill that looked more like the last stop of the hopeless than a springboard to the college of your choice.‘
Pull, by B. A. Binns (310 pages) – David is (understandably!) distraught after his father kills his mother, and he – and his sisters – move to a new, tough inner-city school in Chicago. He tries to make a new life for himself, all the while dealing with the burden of his grief, but ends up having to make a very difficult choice; to take a basketball scholarship, or quit school to work and support his family.
First line: ‘It’s fourth period, and so far not one teacher has questioned who I am.‘
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre (262 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘In a post-apocalyptic future, 15-year-old Deuce, a loyal Huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the Freaks outside her enclave, but when she is partnered with the mysterious outsider, Fade, she begins to see that the strict ways of the elders may be wrong – and dangerous.’ According to Publishers Weekly, this book is for fans of The Hunger Games. Which is nearly everyone! So you can’t go wrong.
First line: ‘I was born during the second holocaust.‘
Divergent, by Veronica Roth (487 pages) – Another dystopian story! This is the first in a series set in a future Chicago, where everyone at the age of 16 must choose one of five factions to join. Each faction is dedicated to a certain virtue. Beatrice Prior has to choose between staying with her family or being true to herself (i.e., she doesn’t belong to any one faction and is, in fact, a Divergent.) She very quickly discovers that her world isn’t as perfect as she thought. ’Edgy,’ says Publishers Weekly. ‘Definately not for the fainthearted,’ they add.
First lines: ‘There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.‘
How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy, by Crystal Allen (283 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lamar is a champion ten-pin bowler, but he is overshadowed by his uber-talented basketball-playing older brother. Lamar has no luck with the ladies, either. So a scheme to make money backfires he ruins his brother’s chance at getting into college as well as every relationship in his life. How can he mend everything? How?! ‘Heartwarming and humorous.’
First line: ‘Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.‘
Like Mandarin, by Kirsten Hubbard (388 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When shy, awkward fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter is paired with the beautiful and wild Mandarin on a school project, an unlikely, explosive friendship begins, but all too soon, Grace discovers that Mandarin is a very troubled, even dangerous, girl.’ Thanks, catalogue!
First line: ‘The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.‘
The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff (343 pages) – Mackie Doyle is a changeling, and was left in a human baby’s crib 16 years ago; although he would rather fit in to our world, all the iron, blood, and consecrated ground here are slowly killing him. When Tate – the girl he fancies – loses her baby sister, Mackie is drawn back to Mayhem to try to find her. Here’s the catalogue’s summary (I know I keep copying from it, but this sounds really good!); ‘“Edward Scissorhands” meets “The Catcher in the Rye” in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.‘
First line: ‘I don’t remember any of the true, important parts, but there’s this dream I have.‘
The Lost Tohunga, by David Blair (368 pages) – Mat is on holiday in Taupo, and all he wants to do there is study and catch up with his magical mentor. But! Warlocks, determined to dominate the hidden land of Aoteoroa, seek Te Iho, and soon Mat is caught up in a deadly no-holds-barred struggle. This is the sequel to The Taniwha’s Tear, itself the sequel to The Bone Tiki.
First line: ‘Auckland, 1956 – Whenever the girl heard the crunch of boots on the gravel path outside, she imagined that her father had come to take her away.‘
So! Here are some film trailers. And a book trailer.
The final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt2 trailer is out! (We have the first part at the library, in case you can’t remember it? There was a lot of marching about in a forest?) Go Mrs Weasley!
Attack the Block. We love this trailer. Hope you like it too.
Katie Alender’s book, Bad Girls Don’t Die, has a sequel coming out soon. It is titled From Bad to Cursed, and here is its spooky trailer.
The Muppets official trailer!
Forgotten, by Cat Patrick (279 pages) – London (a girl) has a memory disorder; she can’t remember the past, but she know what the future will bring. She can not remember the boy she loves, and she can’t see him in her future, but she know that today she loves him. And also that there will be a car crash later today. Yikes!
First lines: ‘Aren’t Fridays supposed to be good? This one started badly.‘
Rockoholic, by C. J. Skuse (368 pages) – Jody is obsessed with the rock star Jackson Gatlin. At one of his concerts she is caught in a stampede and is carried backstage. Somehow she winds up kidnapping Jackson, as you do, but it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t really want to leave her garage. Someone on Amazon.co.uk says, “one of the funniest, most entertaining and highly original books I’ve read in a long time” so reserve it eh?
First lines: ‘To our local newspaper, my grandad’s death was ‘a shocking accident that brought Bristol city centre to a standstill’. To my mum, it was humiliation beyond words and a week’s worth of whispers from her colleagues at the bank.‘
The Last Summoner, by Sherryl Jordan (187 pages) – It is said that only men can summon dragons, but when the king needs help from the dragons when the land is under attack, Ari and her blind grandfather uncover the moondust mirror and travel to the swamp to summon them. Will the dragons answer Ari’s call?
First line: ‘Alone, the girl crept through the gloomy swamp.’
Heart Burn, by Anne Cassidy (215 pages) – Amazon’s product description says, ‘years ago, local bad boy, Tyler Harrington, did a favour for Ashley. Now Tyler has been beaten up and hospitalized, and he’s calling that favour in. Ashley must hide an envelope for him, but under no circumstances is she to look inside it When Tyler is abducted, Ashley opens the package. What she finds inside is the key to who is holding Tyler. But somebody else wants the envelope and, as long as Ashley has it, she is in mortal danger.’
First line: ‘I was waiting for Beth outside Whitechapel tube station when I heard what happened to Tyler Harrington.‘
Wood Angel, by Erin Bow (270 pages) – Kate lives in a time when witches are burned at the stake. Because she lives with a cat and makes and sells lucky wooden charms, she is voted Most Likely To Be A Witch when her village falls on hard times. Terrified for her life, she flees with a stranger who ‘has a plan more dangerous than she could ever have dreamed.’
First line: ‘A long time ago, in a market town by a looping river, there lived an orphan girl called Plain Kate.‘
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd (214 pages) – Allow me to copy and paste from the catalogue; ‘Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.’ Siobhan Dowd died before this could be written, sadly, so Patrick Ness wrote the book. It is BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by Jim Kay.
First lines: ‘The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.‘
The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice, by Stephen Deas (282 pages) – Berren has been a thief all his short life, but when he is noticed by the thief-taker after trying to pinch his reward for the capture of some other thieves, Berren becomes the thief-taker’s apprentice. He thought he knew the city, but now he has to contend with all the political intrigue, corruption, and murder that lie in the shadows.
First lines: ‘The crowd had come to watch three men die. Most of them had no idea who the three men were. Nor did they particularly care.’
Long Reach : An Eddie Savage Thriller, by Peter Cocks (401 pages) – Eddie Savage finds out that his brother had been working uncover to infiltrate the Kelly family, a dangerous gang in London. He also discovers that his brother is dead, supposedly by suicide, but Eddie ain’t having none of it. Determined to uncover the truth, Eddie infiltrates the gang and is soon up to his neck in Kelly business. A ‘gritty, glamorous thriller with a heart-stopping, brutal conclusion.’
First line: ‘Donnie gunned the Mercedes back across the Medway bridge.‘
Akata Witch : A Novel, by Nnedi Okorafor (349 pages) – Sunny lives in Nigeria, although she was born in NYC. She is albino, and feels that she doesn’t fit in. She discovers that she – like two of her classmates – are in fact ‘free agents’, full of magical power, and she has a lot to learn. When the magical authorities ask her and her friends to track down a capture a ‘hard-core serial killer’ with powers greater than theirs, Sunny discovers that magic has a dark, dark side.
First line: ‘The moment Sunny walked into the school yard, people started pointing.‘
Viola in the Spotlight, by Adriana Trigiani (283 pages) – Catalogue! I choose you! ‘Back home in Brooklyn, fifteen-year-old Viola has big summer plans but with one best friend going to camp and the other not only working but experiencing her first crush, Viola is glad to be overworked as an unpaid lighting intern when her grandmother’s play goes to Broadway.’ This is the sequel to Viola in Reel Life.
First lines: ‘There is no better place on Earth than right here on my stoop on 72nd Street in Bay Ridge. Borough of Brooklyn. City of New York. County of Kings. The Empire State.‘
Teeth : Vampire tales, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (452 pages) - Do you like vampires? Do you like short stories? Do you like books? Do you like library books? Do you like reading? Books? Vampires? Vampire books? Reading them? Reading this? Well?
First line of the first story: ‘As it turns out, if a person dies badly, sometimes the soul can’t escape the body and will have to feed off the living forever.‘
Deadly Little Secret : A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (252 pages) – Running out of tiiiiime, so here is the catalogue again; ‘When someone starts stalking high school junior Camelia, everyone at school assumes that it is Ben, who is new at school and rumored to have killed his previous girlfriend, but Camelia is nevertheless inexplicably drawn to him.’
First line: ‘I could have died three months ago. Ever since, things haven’t quite been the same for me.‘
Here they are! Exclaim!
You, by Charles Benoit (223 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Kyle makes some choices that will come to haunt him. In a big way. You are Kyle, in that the book is in the second person, you know? Kyle is a bit of a thug who is turned into a ‘project’ by Zack, who has come from a private school and who may actually be quite sinister.
First lines: ‘You’re surprised at all the blood.‘
The Darlings Are Forever, by Melissa Kantor (328 pages) – The Darlings are some friends who have matching necklaces, a shared motto, and their own table at Ga Ga Noodle. Now they all are heading to different schools in New York City! Will they stay friends?! I bet the Ga Ga Noodle people want them to.
First line: ‘The Labor Day sun was scorching, and as Jane waited for the light to change, she could practically hear her dark hair frizzing.‘
You Against Me, by Jenny Downham (412 pages) – Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, and Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence. Mikey and Ellie are both caught up; he seeks revenge and she must defend her brother. “Brave and unflinching,” says the blurb, along with (the optimistic) “above all it’s a book about love.”
First line: “Mikey couldn’t believe his life.”
Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr (327 pages) – Here it is; the final Wicked Lovely book. ‘The political and romantic tensions that began when Aislin became Summer Queen threaten to boil over as the Faerie Courts brace against the threat of all-out war,’ says the Library of Congress cataloging-in-publication data summary, not incorrectly.
First line: ‘Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop.‘
The Maya Brown Missions : Circle of Fire, by S. M. Hall (291 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Maya’s mum is an intelligence agent, and Maya can’t wait to be one herself. She enjoys assault courses and shooting ranges and maybe Spooks? Not sure on that. Anyway, her mother is kidnapped by terrorists, and Maya, alone, is determined to infiltrate the terrorist cell and rescue her.
First line: ‘Maya opened her eyes to a room full of shadows.‘
Eternal : More Love Stories with Bite, ed. P. C. Cast with Leah Wilson (215 pages) – Here’s a collection of love stories with people being bitten by vampires. The stories are by a who’s who of modern YA authors who write about the supernatural, like Nancy Holder, Rachel Caine and Claudie Gray. And the girl on the cover looks JUST LIKE Buffy to me, do you reckon? Say yes.
6, by Karen Tayleur (203 pages) – ‘One car. One after-party. Six people, six points of view. But only one outcome.’ The book ends with the outcome (which you might be able to guess) but has an ending that I read several times, it was so powerful. (I only read the ends of books.)
First line: ‘A light drizzle falls upon a car.‘
The Latte Rebellion, by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (328 pages) – Asha Jamison and her best friend sell t-shirts to help fund a post-graduation trip to London. The shirts promote the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students. But the club goes nationwide, and the peaceful underground movement ’spins out of control’, and Asha’s ivy league dreams are subsequently threatened.
First line: ‘The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze.‘
Blood Ransom, by Sophie McKenzie (418 pages) – This is the sequel to Blood Ties, which was about cloning and genetic manipulation. This is also about cloning and genetic manipulation, it looks like! And missing persons. And ransoms of missing persons, who are clones. I wish I had a clone!
First line: ‘It was a Saturday afternoon in early July and I was looking forward to the highlight of my week – the hour or so when Theo and I met online and everything else dropped away.‘
All Just Glass, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (246 pages) – Sarah is from a family of vampire hunters. It is a family business! But when she is turned into a vampire by boy she loved (ironically!) she becomes the hunted. By her sister, Sarah, no less, who is made to by her mother. “Aww, mom.”
First line: ‘Saturday, 5.53 a.m. The ringing in her ears was the sound of the world shattering.‘
The Blending Time, by Michael Kinch (254 pages) – In a dystopian future, teenagers are made to perform ‘Global Assignment’ work assignments when the turn seventeen. Three such teens are given what they think is a cushy job; to repopulate and rebuild African, which has been devastated by a solar flare. But it’s not quite the stroll through the rose garden that they thought …
First line: ‘Jaym stirred as morning light slanted across his cot.‘
Delirium, Lauren Oliver (441 pages) – It’s another Lauren book! says Lauren. What’s more dystopian than a world without love? Lena lives in a world where love is a disease (delirium), and without love life is predictable, orderly and safe. On your eighteenth birthday you get treatment to ensure you don’t become deliriously in love. But in the lead up to Lena’s eighteenth something happens…
First sentence: It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.
The Monstrumologist, Rick Yancey (454 pages) – “Monsters are real” says the back cover, and Will Henry is apprentice to a monstrumologist. When the body of a girl and a supposedly extinct headless monster show up, Will and the monstrumologist must race to get to the bottom of this mystery, and stop further deaths.
First sentence: The director of facilities was a small man with ruddy cheeks and dark, deep-set eyes, his prominent forehead framed by an explosion of cottony white hair, thinning as it marched toward the back of his head, cowlicks rising from the mass like waves moving toward the slightly pink island of his bald spot.
Prom and Prejudice, Elizabeth Eulberg (231 pages) – The inspiring Jane Austen! This one’s a reworking of Pride and Prejudice (as the title suggests), set in “the very prestigious Longbourn Academy”. Lizzie is a scholarship kid, her friend Jane is not. Jane is in love with Charles Bingley, which Lizzie is happy about. She’s less happy about Will Darcy, Charles’ snobbish friend… For Pride and Prejudice fans, but not purists who might get upset about revisionings.
First sentence: It s a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.
Romeo & Juliet & Vampires, Claudia Gabel (via William Shakespeare, 231 pages) – includes an excerpt from the upcoming Little Vampire Women, another in the mashups genre. This time the Montagues want to suck the Capulets’ blurd. New meaning to “blood feud” and all that. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, worryingly, and you kind of know how it’s going to end. Differently from Twilight, that is.
First sentence of Chapter One (the prologue seemed to be all about Vlad the Impaler): Juliet sat on her bed and stared at her reflection in an ornate gilded mirror, which she held close to her face.
Far From You, Lisa Schroeder (355 pages) – another novel in verse form from the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me. After the death of her mother, Ali reluctantly goes on a road trip with her new stepmother and her baby. Trapped by a snowstorm, Ali must confront her sense of loss, as well as look to the heavens for rescue.
First verse: We’re alone / with only / the cold / and dark / to keep up / company.
Blessed, Cynthia Leitich Smith (454 pages) – continuing from Tantalize and Eternal, with characters from both, Blessed follows Quincie as she comes to terms with her vampireness, and restaurateur-ness, and also tries to get Kieren (werewolf) off murder charges while stopping Bradley Sanguini (also a vampire) in his evil tracks. In order to help with this overload of work she hires Zachary (angel) as a waiter, which is probably a good move: can he help save Quincie’s soul?
First sentence: Have you damned me? I wondered, staring over my shoulder at the lanky devil in dark formal-wear.
Firelight, Sophie Jordan (323 pages) – Dragons! Jacinda is a draki, a dragon shapeshifter, Will is a hunter of draki, star-crossed lovers of the most dangerous kind. “Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide,” says the book cover, nicely put.
First sentence: Gazing out at the quiet lake, I know the risk is worth it.
Vesper, Jeff Sampson (288 pages) – Emily is discovering that she and her classmates are genetically engineered and have powers that come into effect at night. They’re also being hunted by a murderer.
First sentence: I was halfway out my bedroom window when my cell rang.
A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner (259 pages) – Cass goes on the road trip she planned with her best friend Julia just before Julia was killed in a car crash, with a bicycle, and Julia’s ashes in a tupperware container. The adjectives on the back are good: poignant, life-affirming, tender, vibrant, plus there’s a “kookiest”.
First sentence: I spent the summer with the smells of rain and grass and sky, and the horizon stretching out for ten miles in front of me.
Just kidding! These are new books. Not to dismiss older books though! They’re still worth reading.
Anyway, this week’s new books are serious, or grim, or thrilling, or kind of funny, or supernatural, romantic and also scary. Or a mixture of those!
Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale (233 pages) – In 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, a city in Texas. It was the USA’s deadliest natural disaster. This is the story of Seth, a boy whose family has just moved to Galveston and will need to try to survive through the storm (which struck before hurricanes were given names).
First line: ‘The train clicked on its rails, rumbling past cow pastures and summer-parched fields of grain and hay.‘
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King (326 pages) – Vera’s best friend, who she secretly loves, goes and dies shortly after betraying her in retaliation for something she didn’t actually do. She can clear his name, but only if she can forgive him.
First line: ‘The pastor is saying something about how Charlie was a free spirit.‘
Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers (230 pages) – Eddie Reeves’ father was a successful photographer until he killed himself. Eddie needs to know why her father took his own life, and the mystery of his death deepens when she meets and falls for Culler Evans, an ex-student of her father’s.
First lines: ‘My hands are dying. I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I’m crazy.‘
The Last Ghost, by Helen Stringer (356 pages) – Belladonna Johnson can talk to ghosts, including those of her parents. When the spirits start to disappear, she and her pal Steve have to travel to the Other World to see what’s what in spirit land.
First line: ‘It was Wednesday – the day of the week when it feels like Friday will never arrive.‘
Sequins, Stars & Spotlights, by Sophia Bennett (327 pages) – This is the third book in the Threads series, about some friends in London who are getting their sequined? feet through the door of the fashion industry. In this, the final book of the series, the four chums are so close to beginning ‘glittering careers’ but! their ‘challenges suddenly seem so overwhelming.’
First line: ‘I’m sitting in the back row of a mega-tent in Paris, surrounded by fashion students, buyers, editors and movie stars, and watching THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATWALK SHOW I WILL EVER SEE IN MY LIFE.‘
Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand (432 pages) – At the age of fourteen Clara learnt that she was part-angel. Now she is sixteen and she must complete a rite of passage – her purpose – that every part-angel must do. She soon finds that she is only a small part of some major celestial battle between angels and bad angels, the Black Wings. ‘Supernatural powers, forbidden romance’!
First line: ‘In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.‘
Tyme’s End, by B. R. Collins (319 pages) – Bibi finds refuge in a deserted house called Tyme’s End. She bumps into its owner, who has been away for the past decade, and together they are pulled towards the ‘romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent’ house. Terror awaits them. And the reader!
First lines: ‘I’ve had enough. There’s only so long anyone can stand being shouted at, and I’m way past it.’
Entice, by Carrie Jones (263 pages) – Evil pixies are kidnapping teens, Zara and her friends anticipate an all-out war. Zara’s soulmate, Nick, has been taken to Valhalla however, and the good guys need all the warriors they can get. BUT Zara gets pixie-kissed! So obviously that hampers things.
First line: ‘“Am I really not allowed to complain about being here?” I ask as we enter Bedford High School about an hour late for the winter ball.‘
Trance, by Linda Gerber (277 pages) – Whenever Ashlyn falls into a trance it means that someone she knows is about to die. And there’s nothing she can do about it! Stink. But! When just as her trances begin to involve (love interest) Jake, she develops a certain understanding and control.
First lines: ‘Sounds are what I remember most. The crunch of metal on metal. Shattering glass. Screams.‘
Wereling, by Steve Feasey (276 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Trey is the last in a bloodline of werewolves, one of the ‘few things that can actually take on a vampire.’ Is he human? Or is he a werewolf? Yes to both, I guess. He is also falling for a girl who is half vampire, just to confuse matters.
First line: ‘Trey Laporte opened his eyes, wincing against the assault of the late-morning sunshine on his retinas.‘
Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler (177 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Lisabeth is anorexic, and has subsequently? been appointed to the role of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. “Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking,” and a “fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter.”
First lines: ‘Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. She had a love affair with food, and she’d never liked horses (never mind the time she asked for a pony when whe was eight; that was just a girl thing).‘
Lucy Unstrung, by Carole Lazar (235 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lucy’s mother had her when she – the mother, not Lucy! – was only fifteen. Lucy’s faith in her Grandmother, God and the Church are put to the test as her family’s income is reduced and relationships go awry. “Humour, angst, and irony.”
First line: ‘When my mom finally walks in the door at nine-fifteen, she acts like nothing’s wrong at all.‘
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa (359 pages) – Meghan is half human, and half Summer faery princess. She is a prisoner of the Winter faery queen – war is a’brewing between Summer and Winter – but she knows that the Iron fey are the real danger. Oh and she’s lost her powers and no one believes her. Yow.
First line: ‘The Iron King stood before me, magnificant in his beauty, silver hair whipping about like an unruly waterfall.‘
Freefall, by Mindi Scott (315 page) – Seth, a bass player in a teen rock band, was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive. Now he has to deal with that, alcoholism, and falling in love with Rosetta, who carries her own baggage (emotional baggage, not actual bags, though sometimes she might).
First lines: ‘This was Daniel’s deal. He’d taken the order, contacted a supplier, and set it all up.‘
Quaking, by Kathryn Erskine (236 pages) – Matilda, or Matt as she prefers, is a goth girl who goes to live with a Quaker family in Pennsylvania. Her new town is deeply patriotic (about the war in the Middle East) and threats of violence against her new family mesh unhappily with her experience with bullying.
First line: ‘Families come in all varieties but with no warranties.‘
Inferno, by Robin Stevenson (229 pages) – Dante dislikes her high school. A lot! She wants to be more open about her sexuality, her only friend has moved away, and when she makes new friends she soon finds things can get worse (as hinted at by the title).
First line: ‘The sun is barely up, but the sky is already blue and cloudless.‘
The Presence : A Ghost Story, by Eve Bunting (195 pages) – Catherine’s best friend died in a car accident and Catherine is left in shock, depressed, and feeling responsible. On holiday she encounters a hot stranger who tells her he can contact the dead – is he for real or is he a figment of her imagination? Suspense!
First line: ‘The ghost stood on the church stairs, watching, waiting for Catherine.‘
Acting Up, by Ted Staunton (263 pages) – Sam is 6′4″ and slouches so as to not draw attention to himself. I’ve been there, Sam! He also lives in a ‘town full of loonies’ – another coincidence? Also he must grow up and learn what it is to be an adult. Ha.
First line: ‘“You can’t do that,” Sam Foster said, breaking through the knots of students outside the Little Hope Variety.“
Saturday Night Dirt, by Will Weaver (171 pages) – “In a small town … the much-anticipated Saturday night dirt-track race … becomes … an important life-changing event for all the participants on and off the track,” says the catalogue, mostly.
First lines: ‘“Torque wrench.” Trace Bonham, seventeen, short and stocky with unsmiling brown eyes, turned to the big toolbox on wheels.‘
The Rosie Black Chronicles Bk 1 : Genesis, by Lara Morgan (459 pages) – Five centuries from now, in the city of Newperth (Australia I’m thinking!) is divided into the ‘Centrals’, the much poorer ‘Bankers’, and the fringe-dwelling ‘Ferals’. Rosie, a Banker, finds a box that a mystery organisation will kill to have, and so she’s on the run with Pip, a Feral, and his boss.
First line: ‘Rosie shone her torch down among the scattered bricks.‘
We have a few new books that continue already established series. I won’t go into too much detail about each (just because) but your favourite vampire/werewolf/spy series may be one of them.
Awakened : A House of Night Novel (Book 8 ), by P.C and Kirstin Cast (290 pages)
Demon Games : Changeling (Book 4), by Steve Feasey (343 pages)
Only The Good Spy Young : The Gallagher Girls (Book 4), by Ally Carter (265 pages)
Twelfth Grade Kills : The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (Book 5), by Heather Brewer (325 pages)
Keys To the Repository : Blue Bloods (sort of a tie-in to the series), by Melissa de la Cruz (227 pages)
Here are the other new books!
A Waltz for Matilda, by Jackie French (479 pages) – This is a novelisation of the poem that is also a song (which I used to think was Australia’s nation anthem, oddly) about Matilda, her father (the swagman!), the billabong, and ‘Australia’s early years as an emerging nation.’
First lines: ‘August 1894 – Dear Dad, I hope you are well.‘
Whisper My Name, by Jane Eagland (394 pages) – A spooky book about Meriel, who lives with her strict Victorian grandfather. It is a solitary life but she’s not always alone - someone is ‘reaching out to her, someone who is close than she thinks …’
First line: ‘Meriel decided to place her deckchair as far as she could from Mrs Fitzgerald’s, but still within earshot.‘
Hit List, by Jack Heath (256 pages) – Teenager Ash and her pal Benjamin find stolen artifacts and return them to their owners for a fee. But when they’re asked to rescue a captive girl they soon find themselves up against corrupt governments, ruthless corporations, and assassins. Assassins!
First lines: ‘Practice. It would take practice, but it could be done.‘
The Exiled Queen : A Seven Realms Novel, by Cinda Williams Chima (586 pages) – This is the second book in the series. We wrote about the first one here. In this installment, according to the catalogue, ‘two teenagers, one fleeing from a forced marriage and the other from a dangerous family of wizards, cross paths and fall in love.’
First line: ‘Lietenant Mac Gillen of the Queen’s Guard of the Fells hunched his shoulders against the witch wind that howled out of the frozen wastelands to the north and west.’
Send Simon Savage, by Stephen Measday (266 pages) – Simon is thirteen when his father drowns. A secret government agency then tells him that he has the right DNA to handle the rigours of time travel, and he will be the first to travel into the future. Which he does! His missions are risky, but someone has to do it.
First line: ‘Simon spent a great Saturday body boarding with a few mates in rolling surf at the southern end of Bondi Beach.‘
Solitary : Escape from Furnace, by Alexander Gordon Smith (232 pages) – This is the sequel to Lockdown. Alex Sawyer attemped to escape from Furnace prison, where he has been imprisoned on false charges, but he failed and is now in solitary confinement. ‘… hurtle from thrill to chill in this rocket-paced prison-break odyssey where nightmares are made.’ Yeow!
First lines: ‘I have a confession. I’m not a good person.’
The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde (281 pages) – Back in the day magic was powerful, but now it’s regulated by the government and it’s cheaper for people to get things done non-magically. But! Fifteen-year-old Jennifer, who runs an employment agency for magicians and soothsayers, begins to have visions that hint at dragons and Big Magic. (Fforde is a very funny writer, and has a lot of quality books in the adult section. Let me recommend them to you.)
First line: ‘It looked set to become even hotter by the afternoon, just when the job was becoming more fiddly and needed extra concentration.‘