Rivals in the city, Y.S Lee (298 pages)Convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and the Agency asks Mary to take on one last case: to watch for the return of his estranged wife. Mrs Thorold is an accomplished criminal and will surely want to settle scores with Mary’s fiancé, James. With the additional complications of family and conflicting loyalties, the stakes for all involved are higher than ever.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was a miserable day for a walk: sleety, frigid, dark. Nevertheless, Mary Quinn and James Easton, Private Detectives, were out for a ramble about Bloomsbury, bundled against the freezing perpetual drizzle, straining to distinguish people from lampposts in the dense fog that swamped the streets.
Sekret, Lindsay Smith (341 pages)Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.
Russia’s powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn’t the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.
Yulia is a survivor. She won’t be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won’t let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won’t become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia. (Goodreads)
First lines: My rules for the Black Market are simple. Don’t make eye contact -especially with men. Their faces are sharp, but their eyes sharper, and you never want to draw that blade. Always act as though you could walk away from a trade at any moment. Desperation only leaves you exposed.
Sleep no more, Aprilynne Pike, (340 pages)Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town. (Goodreads)
First lines: Ten years earlier: I sit on the itchy couch and stare at Mommy’s eyes, wishing for them to open. Everyone tells me she’s going to wake up, but it’s been two days. Aunt Sierra promised and the doctor said so. But Daddy’s not coming back. Ever. In my vision, it was Sierra who died. I was just trying to stop that.
Sunrise, Mike Mullin (542 pages)The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions. When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
First lines: I left the farmhouse in the darkest hour of the night to make a weapon. The light from my oil lamp drew a pitiful circle of gray around my feet. Other lams and torches shone here and there amid the ramshackle refugee encampment surrounding Uncle Paul’s farm, fading pockets of humanity in the chaotic dark. People huddled within the lights, cleaning guns and sharpening knives.
The bow, Catherine Mayo (362 pages)“There’s only one arrow, but you only have to shoot one man. I know you won’t miss.”
War is coming to Bronze Age Greece. It’s time to skill up. And Odysseus’s challenges are mounting. Can he find his grandfather’s hidden gold? Find the strength to string and shoot from the Great Bow of Eurytos, which no man has done for generations? Toughest of all, can he persuade a girl to love him? (Goodreads)
First lines: It had been a good morning for hunting, their last chance before the war began in earnest. They’d been up over Mount Neion, the three of them, and the thought of a second breakfast was making Odysseus’s stomach rumble.
Geek girl: picture perfect, Holly Smale (408 pages)Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is “Ever Upward”. She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon. But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to “become a brand”, as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren’t coming from your boyfriend…(Goodreads)
First lines: My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a girlfriend. I know I’m a girlfriend because I can’t stop beaming. Apparently the average girl smiles sixty-two times a day, so I must be statistically stealing someone else’s happiness. I’m grinning every thirty or forty seconds, minimum.
In the end, Demitria Lunetta, (432 pages)It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.
Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.
One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.
First lines: I long for the comfort of night. The sun feels warm on my face. Before, sunshine was a good thing. But this is After, and outside of New Hope, the light means only one thing if you’re not armed: death.
The chapel wars, Lindsey Leavitt (292 pages)Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax. Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.
First lines: Inheritance. I hate that word. Translation:Sorry someone you like kicked the bucket; now here’s your present. It’s like getting hit by a car, only to make a fortune in the lawsuit. People constantly remind you what a financial blessing that accident was, such a sweet silver lining, when the truth is, you still got hit by a car.
The sky so heavy, Claire Zorn (294 pages)For Fin, it’s just like any other day – racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe, Lucy. Only it’s not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated. (Goodreads)
First lines: There are two things I know right now: one is that a guy is holding a gun to my head, the other is that I don’t want to die. I guess I could try to look at it from the positive side: I’ve made it seventeen years without anyone trying to kill me.
Soldier doll, Jennifer Gold (277 pages)Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bryant is not happy. She’s had to leave all her friends behind and move across the country for her dad’s job in the military. One hot summer evening during her first week in her new city, she’s out killing time at a local garage sale when she spots a little soldier doll amid the junk. She thinks only that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to Afghanistan. She doesn’t realize that it might be a missing (and very valuable) historical artifact. With the help of Evan, the cute guy she’s just met at a local used book store, Elizabeth discovers that the doll might be THE soldier doll: the inspiration for a famous World War I poem of the same name.
Elizabeth’s story is interwoven with the amazing, tumultuous story of the soldier doll itself. Fashioned with love by a father for his only child in England years ago, we follow the doll back to England during World War I, then on to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a Czech concentration camp during World War II, Vietnam in 1970 and through the aftermath of 9/11. (Goodreads)
First lines: It looks like a doll-at first. It has a doll’s baby face, complete with pink cherubic cheeks and rosebud mouth. The craved and painted hair is soft-looking and yellow-blond. A closer look, however, tells a different story.
Girl in reverse, Barbara Stuber (320 pages)When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and fear of “commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin. Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box hidden in the attic. In it are a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum. She encounters the artistic genius Elliot James, who attracts and infuriates Lily as he tries to draw out the beauty of her golden heritage. Will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? The real story, and one she can know only by coming face-to-face with the truth long buried within the people she thought she knew best.
First lines: “Say it, Lily.”
I bow my head, close my eyes, press my hands together.
nancy bends down and whispers, “Again…like a magic prayer.”
“Choose me. Please.”
Kiss of Deception, Mary E Pearson. The first novel in a new series (The Remnant Chronicles) by the author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. We hear this has a killer twist. “In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight – but she doesn’t – and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom – to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive – and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets – even as she finds herself falling in love.” (goodreads.com)
Illusive, Emily Lloyd-Jones. This is described as The X Men meets Ocean’s Eleven. So mutants and action and trickery then? “When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist… She’s also a thief. After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t? The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.” (goodreads.com)
Finally, some romance:
Through to You, Lauren Barnholdt. “It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn – resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital ‘T.’ And okay, smolderingly sexy. Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention – and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything. Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings. Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster – exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…” (goodreads.com)
The long-awaited series edition!
Clariel, Garth Nix (October) – this book deserves special mention. It is the new novel in the Old Kingdom
trilogy series, which is super-popular (for lots of excellent reasons). The series began with Sabriel in 1995, and the last addition, Abhorsen, was published in 2003. So fans have been waiting 11 years! This is a long time in book-land. There is to be a fifth book in the series (hopefully published before 2025).
“Clariel is the daughter of the one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city’s confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest.But many forces conspire against Clariel’s dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she discovers hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?” (goodreads.com)
Lone Wolf, Robert Muchamore – this is the next instalment in the CHERUB series 2. “Fay has spent eighteen months locked up in a Secure Training Centre. Drug deals and rip-offs are the only things this teenager knows. Now she’s back on the street, looking to settle old scores. CHERUB agents Ryan and Ning need Fay’s knowledge to unearth a major drug importer. They’re trained professionals with one essential advantage: even experienced criminals never suspect that children are spying on them. But Fay’s made a lot of enemies and she’s running out of time …” (goodreads.com)
The Hunted, Charlie Higson – the sixth book in the series that began with The Enemy in which people over the age of 14 are struck down by an illness that leaves them as zombies. “The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous – because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…” (goodreads.com). This is the second-to-last book in the series, so expect the ending to be a total cliffhanger.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater (October/November). This is the third book in the Raven Cycle. We must confess to being a bit excited and a lot mystified by this top-secret book. While waiting we’ll just have to re-read the others. Also, we think that Blue (on the cover) looks like she’s auditioning for Gorillaz.
Rebels: The Story of Lex and Livia, Kendall & Kylie Jenner (July). Why is that name familiar? we asked. Well, because they are Kardashian sisters! So we were curious enough to order this book. “In a world of the far future, the great city of Indra has two faces: a beautiful paradise floating high in the sky, and a nightmare world of poverty carved into tunnels beneath the surface of the earth.” (goodreads.com). The first in a series (City of Indra) of course!
The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (August). “Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked. Now she is missing. The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid. But Avicenna has inherited her mother’s gift. Finding an unlikely ally in the brooding Simon Thorn, she begins to piece together the mystery. And when she uncovers a link between Joanne’s disappearance and a cold-case murder, Avicenna is led deep into the city’s dark and seedy underbelly, unaware how far she is placing her own life in danger.” (goodreads.com)
Don’t forget to come into the library for something to read these school holidays.
Silver people: voices from the Panama canal, Margarita Eagle (255 pages)One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
From the young “silver people” whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it. (Goodreads)
First lines: Fear is a fierce wind
that sends me reeling
down to the seashore,
where I beg for work,
any work at all,
to carry me far
from my father’s
Tigers on the beach, Doug MacLeod (251 pages)Have you heard the one about the guy who lost a grandfather, but found a girlfriend? It’s funny. It’s also kind of sad. And some of the bits that are sad are also kind of funny (but only if you laugh at that sort of thing). Adam thinks Samantha could be the one for him. But first he has to sort out his parents’ crumbling marriage, stop getting into embarrassing situations involving public nudity, find out what’s making his gran so angry, stop his little brother doing something really, really dangerous and work out what’s so funny about two tigers on a beach. It can’t be that hard, can it? (Goodreads)
First lines: My grandpa tells jokes. Some are ridiculous and rambling, like the one about the boy born with a screw in his belly button.
Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli (184 pages)Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats. (Goodreads)
First lines: They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. They say he hept an eight-inch cockroach on a leash and that rats stood guard over him while he slept. They say if you knew he was coming and you sprinkled salt on the ground and he ran over it, within two or three blocks he would be slow as everyone else. They say.
#16thingsIthoughtweretrue, Janet Gurtler (278 pages)Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue When Morgan’s mom gets sick, it’s hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn’t as far away as she thought…Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue…Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan’s getting to know the real Adam, and he’s actually pretty sweet…in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone? 5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue…
With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She’s not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend…and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can’t imagine living without. (Goodreads)
First lines:After pausing for a deep breath, I force myself to walk into the room with my head held high and my shoulders pulled back. I can totally do this, show people who I really am – not the girl they saw dancing on the video.
Gladiator: Vengeance, Simon Scarrow (292 pages)Marcus may be free from the brutal training regime of the gladiators but he will not rest until he finds his mother. With his old friends Festus and Lupus at his side, and a letter from Caesar instructing all who cross his path to help him, he begins his journey. He is going back to the lands where he lived as a slave boy: the remote farming estate of the savage Decimus. Yet Ancient Greece is ruled by deceit and corruption. Many do not want to see Marcus succeed. Many more would rather see him dead. As the most powerful men in the country plot against him, is it finally over for the son of Spartacus? (Goodreads)
First lines: “Ready?” asked Festus.
Marcus nodded and then glanced round the marketplace of Chalcis, a small port on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth. Below the market the ground sloped down to the sea, brilliant beneath the clear sky and the glare of the early afternoon sun.
Elusion, Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam (382 pages)Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life. Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.
Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Don’t be scared, Regan,” my father says. “I’ll be next to you the whole time, I promise.”
But I’m not scared at all. The reason my breath is coming out in quick, little gasps is because I’m excited. After all, I’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time.
What we hide, Marthe Jocelyn (275 pages)Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny’s chance to finally stand out, so accidentally, on purpose, she tells a lie. But in the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has something to hide. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke both pretend they don’t. Brenda won’t tell what happened with the school doctor. Nico wants to hide his mother’s memoir. Percy keeps his famous dad a secret. Oona lies to everyone. Penelope lies only to herself. (Goodreads)
First lines: So here we were, running away to save Tom’s life. And turning mine inside out. If there hadn’t been a war going on, my brother would have taken a year off before college and doodled down to Mexico in a van. But now it was college versus Vietnam.
#scandal, Sarah Ockler (399 pages)Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.
When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral. By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.
Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate. There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…(Goodreads)
First lines: If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture tagged on Miss Demeanor’s Scandal of the Month page is worth about a million. Especially when the story all those words tell is an absolute lie.
Graduation day, Joelle Charbonneau (291 pages)She wants to put an end to the Testing. In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight. But she can’t do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates. Who can Cia trust? The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day. (Goodreads)
First lines: A knock makes me jump. My hands shake from exhaustion, fear and sorrow as I unlatch the door of my residence hall rooms and turn the handle. I let out a sigh of relief as I see Raffe Jeffries in the doorway.
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (365 pages) The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten. Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment. Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living…(Goodreads)
First lines: Tommy was a talker and didn’t much like other ghosts, so he was forever talking to Kelpie. That’s how she divided them up: talkers and silent ones. Most ghosts were silent. Most ignored the living. Kelpie thought that was just as well. She wished Tommy was a silent one. She wished she hadn’t listened.
I kill the mockingbird, Paul Acampora, (163 pages)When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to “destroying the mockingbird.” Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books. (Goodreads)
First lines: My mother’s wheeelchair does not fit through the bathroom door, and I don’t know what to do about it. I pull the chair back an inch and then roll it into the door frame again. The clunk makes Mom sit up straight. “You have got to be kidding me,” she says. Actually, those are not her exact words. I am not allowed to repeat her exact words.
This side of salvation, Jeri Smith-Ready (368 pages)Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels. Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation. But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined… (Goodreads)
First lines: If this were the first night of my life, I could be at peace with that. That, and everything else, as I walk hand in hand with Bailey out of the pool house and back into the blare of the party. Her long hair brushes my elbow, stirring memories of reaching, fumbling in the dark; memories so fresh they feel more like dreams – not etched as events in my past but posed as possibilities in my future.
Shadow sister, Carole Wilkinson (356 pages)Tao is learning to be a dragonkeeper. With no one to teach him it is not easy. He must keep Kai safe but there is danger at every turn – they are pursued by a gang of murderous nomads, tricked by unseen spirits, attacked by a giant seven-headed snake and disoriented in the realms of the dead. Most terrifying of all is the ghost who can turn blood into ice. Tao knows he must prove he is truly worthy of the name dragonkeeper. But the road west is never straight and nothing for Tao and Kai is what it seems. (Goodreads)
First lines: The dragon groaned. “My stomach hurts.” He had been slow-moving all day, insisting on stopping often to rest.
“Let me see your tongue.”
The dragon sat on his haunches in front of the boy. Tao had grown a little in the weeks the two had been travelling together but, when sitting, Kai was still head and shoulders taller.
Buffalo Soldier, Tanya Landman, (361 pages)What kind of a girl steals the clothes from a dead man’s back and runs off to join the army? A desperate one, that’s who. World been turned on its head by that big old war, and the army seemed like the safest place to be, until we was sent off to fight them Indians. And then? Heck! When Death’s so close you can smell his breath, ain’t nothing makes you feel more alive. (Goodreads)
First lines: Two covered wagons are heading out into the open, slow and steady, like little ships afloat on the ocean. Axles are greased, wheels barely creaking. The oxen are well groomed, their hides glossy as polished wood. Gaily coloured ribbons are tied to their horns and silver bells hang around their necks.
The eagle trail, Robert Rigby (289 pages)WWII, German-occupied Antwerp, and life continues as usual for 16-year-old Paul Hansen – until his father is shot. Paul learns that his parents are part of a group of resistance fighters and he’s whisked away by Jos Theys, his father’s closest friend, to the home of an elderly couple. There Paul learns he must leave Antwerp as quickly as possible and travel south through France and across the Pyrenees into Spain, and from there to England, and freedom … Along the way he is aided by a collection of courageous men and women prepared to risk everything to help him in his desperate fight for survival (Publisher information)
First lines: The leader of the Andorrans was built like a bull, but he moved with the lightness of a mountain goat. Not once had he stumbled or tripped as he led the small group further and deeper into the towering Pyrenees.
The wardens, Stuart Daly (329 pages)A secret brotherhood of treasure hunters. An invading army coming ever closer. Five young apprentices. The race is on. Life as a thief is cold, miserable and hungry. Caspan leaps at the opportunity to compete to join the Brotherhood of Thieves – a secret order sanctioned by the king. What the Brotherhood seeks are the lost magical weapons of an ancient race that will help them defeat the Roon, the invading army who creep ever closer. Defeat seems inevitable. Unless Caspan and his fellow recruits – Roland, Lachlan, Sara and Kilt – can set aside their differences and use their new skills to help turn the tide. With swords strapped to their belts, riding magical beasts called Wardens that come only to their call, they leave the sanctuary of their training ground for their first mission. Will it be their last? (Goodreads)
First lines: Caspan ran for his life. The cry of alarm brought confusion and panic to the market square, as the teenage footpad weaved through the caravans and food stalls, away from the man whose purse he had tried to take.
Hate, Alan Gibbons (230 pages)Eve’s older sister, Rosie, was bright and alive and always loved being the centre of attention. Then one day, she is brutally murdered. Six months later, Eve meets Antony and discovers that he was there the night Rosie died and did nothing to help. Is there any way she can ever get past that? (Goodreads)
First lines: The last time I saw Rosie, she was getting on the bus with Paul. It was August and the air was hick with dust and petrol fumes on the Manchester road. Off to our left, on the far side of the housing estate, sun and shadow were playing tag on the hills.
The Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson (386 pages)Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey. (Goodreads)
First lines: Micah brought the music box to her on the night of the meteor storm. Piper never slept on these nights, when debris from other worlds feel from the sky. Restlessness kept her awake in bed, staring at the slanted ceiling of her tiny house.
The ring and the crown, Melissa De La Cruz (372 pages)Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one. (Goodreads)
First lines: In 1429, the English army and its formidable magicians were led to victory by their Merlin, Emrys Myrddyn, defeating Charles VI of France and his dark Witch, Jeanne of Arkk. Henry VI was crowned King of England and France. Since the fifteenth century, the sun has never set on the Franco-British Empire.
Afterlife: Book 3 in the Parallon series, Dee Shulman (427 pages)Eva is on the brink of death. Ripped from her own world she’s woken in another, only to discover the devastating truth about the lethal fever she’s been fighting – and the enemy that’s chased her and Seth through time. Now the reckless twenty-first century girl and the fearless Roman gladiator must face the final battle. But it’s not just their love at stake; the fate of the universe is in their hands. (Goodreads)
First lines: “No!” Zackary stared at the cage in horror. How could this be happening to him now? He thought he’d finally cracked this thing. In fact he was so sure this time that he’d virtually written his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. So what the hell was happening to that rat? It was definitely sick.
Burn: Book 3 of the Pure trilogy, Julianna Baggot (418 pages)Inside the Dome, Patridge has taken his father’s place as leader of the Pures. His struggle has led him here, intent upon bringing down the Dome from the inside, with the help of a secret resistance force. But things are not as simple from his new position of power and he finds himself tempted by his father’s words: perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome – and Partridge – to rule it…As Partridge’s resolve weakens, Pressia and Bradwell continue piecing together the clues left to them from the time before the Detonations. It is their hope that they will be able to heal the Wretches, and free them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome’s oppression once and for all. But everything depends, too, on Partridge. Separated by distance and history, can they still trust their friend and ally? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?
First lines: He knows the ending. He can see it almost as clearly as he saw the beginning.
“Start there,” he whispers into the wind. His wings are bulky. The quills ruffle; some drag behind him. He has to tighten his wings against the wind as he walks through the stubble fields toward the stone cliff. He wants to go backward, to tunnel and dig to the little boy he once was.
Fat Boy vs. the cheerleaders, Geoff Herbach (311 pages)When the high school cheerleading team takes over a soda vending machine’s funds, which were previously collected by the pep band, Gabe Johnson, an overweight “band geek” tired of being called names and looked down on, declares war. (Publisher’s summary)
First lines: Ripping off the pop machine last night wasn’t meant to be funny. It was my duty to all the geeks, burners and oddballs in the school because that machine sucks. Robbing it was serious business, okay? Why are you laughing, Mr. Rodriguez?
We were liars, e. Lockhart (225 pages)A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. (Goodreads)
First lines: Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure. The Sinclairs are athletic, tall and handsome. We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles are wide, our chins square, and our tennis serves aggressive.
Free to fall, Lauren Miller (469 pages) Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming. (Goodreads)
First lines: It came in a plain white envelope, which made both more and less of its significance. More, because their decision was printed in ink, on thick cotton paper, which felt a little like they’d carved it in stone. Less, because there was nothing about that nondescript rectangle to imply there was life-changing information inside.
We’ve recently splashed out on new copies of 20th century classics for the Young Adult fiction collection, including a couple of new additions:
The Princess Bride, William Goldman. I always get William Goldman and William Golding confused and wonder how the person who wrote Lord of the Flies could have also written The Princess Bride (and how cool if he did), but he didn’t! Details are important! The Princess Bride is a modern classic. It also has the best movie adaptation ever, which you must also watch (possibly after reading the book). Summary from catalogue: “A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts.” What’s not to love?
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath. Not sure if there’s a book more different to The Princess Bride than The Bell Jar? This is Sylvia Plath’s lone novel, first published in 1963 just before she died, and tells the story of Esther and her struggle with depression. “When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control…” (Catalogue summary).
We’ve also got more of To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Outsiders (S E Hinton), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), and The Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger) coming. Look out for them at a library near you very soon!
For more on classic novels visit our Classic Novels (in Haiku) page here.
Additionally, on the subject, we’ve recently ordered:
I Kill the Mockingbird, Paul Acampora. “When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to ‘destroying the mockingbird.’ Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books.” (goodreads.com)
Grandmaster, David Klass (226 pages) Freshman Daniel Pratzer gets a chance to prove himself when the chess team invites him and his father to a weekend-long parent-child tournament. Daniel, thinking that his father is a novice, can’t understand why his teammates want so badly for them to participate. Then he finds out the truth: as a teen, his father was one of the most promising young players in America, but the pressures of the game pushed him too far, and he had to give up chess to save his own life and sanity. Now, thirty years later, Mr. Pratzer returns to the game to face down an old competitor and the same dark demons that lurk in the corners of a mind stretched by the demands of the game. (Goodreads)
First lines: Chess club was done for the day, and so was eye. I had played three games that afternoon, two of which I’d managed to lose in the first fifteen moves. I tried to remind myself that I had just taken up the game six months ago and was still leanring the basics, but there were times when I wanted to heave the nearest chess set out the window and never touch another rook or pawn again.
Broken Strings, Maria Farrer (423 pages)Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart. (Goodreads)
First lines: I slump back in my chair, push the table leg with the bottom of my shoe. It grates across the floor and puts my teeth on edge. My heard’s hurting; pounding between my eyes. I shudder-full of hope, full of dread.
What we did for love, Natasha Farrat (205 pages)Arianne knew Luc before he went away, of course she did. Everyone in Samaroux knows each other. When he returns after five years, the spark between them reignites and becomes something more. But will the war let them be together? As the two teens fall deeply in love, their world starts to crumble around them. German forces, reeling from defeats in the east, are closing in, and Luc, desperate to atone for his family’s past, wants to join the resistance. Arianne will do anything to keep him safe. But in such a small village, Luc is not alone in his love for Arianne. And Luc’s rival just might be a traitor. How far will they go to protect what they believe in? And what will they do for love?(Goodreads)
First lines: I should leave. I want to- I think- but it’s so difficult. I love it here. There’s the lake, look, surrounded by trees. And there’s the river going into it, where we used to swin because the lake is so muddy, and there’s the road curving around the hill uptowards the village. It’s so peaceful.
Dead and buried, Anne Cassidy (328 pages)It’s been five years since Rose’s mother Kathy went missing and, after recent events, all Rose wants to do is get on with her life. Which means taking a break from her complicated stepbrother, Joshua. Then police officer Henry Thompson comes calling with bad news: a body has been found buried in the garden of Rose’s old house. A body that has lain undiscovered for five years. The body of a missing teenage girl. With Kathy and Brendan implicated in her death, Rose and Joshua have one last chance to clear their parents’ names. But if they fail, the consequences will be deadly . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: Now, when Rose thought of her mother, the word killer came into her head. It conjured up pictures sje did not want to see, sounds that she did not want to hear. It was better not to think of her at all.
Graffiti Knight, Karen Bass (282 pages)After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But it’s exciting, too, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. Until one mission goes too far, and Wilm finds he’s endangered the very people he most wants to protect.(Goodreads)
First lines: The broken windows of the building to the right watched our progress with the hollow stare of someone defeated and beyond caring.
Year of mistaken discoveries, Ellen Cook (257 pages)As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared;they were both adopted. Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party. Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’;s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was clear that beer didn’t make my boyfriend a deep thinker.
“I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted.” Colton nodded slowly, as if realizing something very profound. Or he didn’t want to move too quickly in case he got the spins.
“Joseph was, like, his stepdad.”
Spirit of a mountain wolf, Rosanne Hawke (205 pages)Fourteen-year-old Razaq Khan lives in the Pakistani tribal area of Kala Dhaka, Black Mountain. When an earthquake devastates his family home, Razaqs dying father tells him to travel to his uncle Javaid. A man preying on orphans lures Razaq to the city with the promise of finding his uncle. But it is not long before Razaq realizes he has not been helped at allhe has been sold in to slavery. Losing hope while in captivity, Razaq meets Tahira, a young girl suffering just like him.(Goodreads)
First lines: Abdur-Razaq Nadeem felt the rumble in the earth- like a truck rushing underground. Then, an eerie heaviness, a sound almost, but there were no words to describe it -like a mourning song with no music.
City in the desert: the serpent crown, Moro Rogers (149 pages) Monster hunter Irro is perhaps the only person in Kevala making a good living. The city pays him and his tailed assistant, Hari, a bounty for each monster carcass they bring in. But one day a religious sect called The Way of the Sacred Peace comes to Kevala to solve the monster problem by capping the city’s Spirit Fountain. Out of a job with all the monsters gone, Irro and Hari are determined to prove that there is a more sinister plot behind the Sacred Peace’s plan. Irro and Hari leave the walls of Kevala to seek new lives elsewhere. However, when the Crown Serpent of Kevala tracks them down and informs them that the evils of the Sacred Peace have spread far beyond Kevala’s borders, our heroes decide to return and save the city they love. Before they can do that, though, they must journey across the wastelands to the prison of the Monster King, and release him in exchange for his help. (Goodreads)
Will o’ the Wisp, Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison (214 pages)After her parents’ accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps. Joined by her grandfather’s pet raccoon Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves. Along the way she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic. When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried.(Goodreads)
Today, one-word titles:
Gasp, Lisa McMann – the third book in the Visions series (after Crash and Bang). “After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and people around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the visions passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then they must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved. That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy – that the images are of something real. Something imminent. As the danger escalates more than ever before in the conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening – before it’s too late to prevent disaster.” (goodreads.com)
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (June/July) - the long-awaited new novel from the author of Liar and How to Ditch Your Fairy. “The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses – Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson – is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten. Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment. Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her. When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living…” (goodreads.com)
Exposure, Kathy Reichs – the fourth in the Virals series from the creator of the Bones TV series. “When twin classmates are abducted from Bolton Prep, Tory and the Virals decide there’s no one better equipped than them to investigate. But the gang has other problems to face. Their powers are growing wilder, and becoming harder to control. Chance Claybourne is investigating the disastrous medical experiment that twisted their DNA. The bonds that unite them are weakening, threatening the future of the pack itself. The Virals must decipher the clues and track down a ruthless criminal before he strikes again, all while protecting their secret from prying eyes. And everyone seems to be watching.” (goodreads.com)
And a book about the Divergent film:
Inside Divergent: the Initiates’ World, Cecilia Bernard. “This eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent. With more than 100 photographs – many never before seen – Inside Divergent will immerse you in the thrilling dystopian world of futuristic Chicago, where you’ll meet the initiates and discover the factions.” (goodreads.com)
Dead Silent, Sharon Jones (329 pages) When Poppy Sinclair and her boyfriend visit snowy Cambridge, she doesn’t expect to discover the body of a student – arms outstretched in the act of smearing bloody angel wings on the chapel’s floor. Suddenly, Poppy is faced with the possibility that the one closest to her heart might be the one committing the most malicious of crimes. Dodging porters and police, dreading what she might find, Poppy follows the clues left by a murderer bent on revenge… (Goodreads)
First lines: It had to be here. The soles of his shoes squeaked from marble to wood and he ran between the choir stalls, swinging the torch beam like a whip that could beat back the night. How could he have been so stupid as to lose the book? If he didn’t find it he was dead.
Dorothy must die, Danielle Page (452 pages) I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.(Goodreads)
First lines: I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday – one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started talking pills, and began exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.
Noggin, John Corey Whaley (338 pages)Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that. The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars. Oh well, you only live twice.(Goodreads)
First lines: Listen – I was alive once and then I wasn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m alive again. The in-between part is still a luittle fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.
Insanity, Susan Vaught (368 pages) Never, Kentucky is not your average scenic small town. It is a crossways, a place where the dead and the living can find no peace. Not that Forest, an 18-year-old foster kid who works the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, knew this when she applied for the job. Lincoln is a huge state mental institution, a good place for Forest to make some money to pay for college. But along with hundreds of very unstable patients, it also has underground tunnels, bell towers that ring unexpectedly, and a closet that holds more than just donated clothing….When the dead husband of one of Forest’s patients makes an appearance late one night, seemingly accompanied by an agent of the Devil, Forest loses all sense of reality and all sense of time. Terrified, she knows she has a part to play, and when she does so, she finds a heritage that she never expected.(Goodreads)
First lines: There was something wrong with the dog. I saw it when I left the store, nothing but a little thing. I would have stopped to give it some love, but I had to get back before Imogene started to worry. Don’t go out tonight, boy. Death’s walking on two legs.
Sorry you’re lost, Matt Blackstone (312 pages)When Denny “Donuts” Murphy’s mother dies, he becomes the world’s biggest class clown. But deep down, Donuts just wants a normal life—one where his mom is still alive and where his dad doesn’t sit in front of the TV all day. And so Donuts tries to get back into the groove by helping his best friend with their plan to get dates for the end-of-the-year school dance. When their scheme backfires, he learns that laughter is not the best medicine for all of his problems. Sometimes it’s just as important to be true to yourself.(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s a gum wrapped at my feet. Juicy Fruit. I wish I new who dropped it so I could tell him not to litter at my mom’s funeral. The room is musty and smells of lemon. My starchy shirt and stiff suit are drenched in sweat. The priest tells me it’s time. Not for telling people to pick up their gum wrappers, but time for the service.
Never come back, David Bell (411 pages)Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….
When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.(Goodreads)
First lines: I saw people in uniform first- two cops, two paramedics. They were standing in the living room of my mom’s small house, their thumbs hooked into their belts, muttering to one another. Small talk and jokes. One of them, a cop about my age, laughed at something, then looked up and saw me in the doorway.
“Ma’am?” he said. A question. It meant: Do you have any business here?
Angel de la Luna and the 5th glorious mystery, M. Evelina Galang (331 pages) Angel has just lost her father, and her mother’s grief means she might as well be gone too. She’s got a sister and a grandmother to look out for, and a burgeoning consciousness of the unfairness in the world—in her family, her community, and her country. Set against the backdrop of the second Philippine People Power Revolution in 2001, the contemporary struggles of surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” of WWII, and a cold winter’s season in the city of Chicago is the story of a daughter coming of age, coming to forgiveness, and learning to move past the chaos of grief to survive.(Goodreads)
First lines: The day my Father, Ernesto de la Luna, disappeared he gave me one thousand pesos. “I’ll be home in three days,” Papang said, counting the money. “but just in case. Take care of your inay, Angel.” It’s been two weeks. My mother is out of her mind.
The Great American Dust Bowl, Don Brown, (80 pages)A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America’s high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning. Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America’s most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.(Goodreads)
First lines: A speck of dust is a tiny thing. Five of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, 1935, a wild wind whipped up billions upon billions of specks of dust to form a savage storn on Amerinca’s plains. Panicked birds and rabbits fled. The temperature plummeted fifty degrees. Electricity coursed through the air. frightened pople raced to the nearest shelter. But the story of the Black Sunday monster started much, much earlier…
The Grey Girl, Eleanor Hawken (262 pages) Poor Suzy thought she’d never get over the terrifying events from her time at St Marks, but she’s resolved to put all thoughts of ghosts and murders (and school…) behind her as she sets off to stay in her aunt’s country estate for the summer. Unfortunately, that quickly looks unlikely. Almost as soon as she arrives Suzy begins to feel watched, and she starts to see strange things. Things like a mysterious grey girl running towards the abandoned boathouse in the dead of the night. Is the girl real – or something altogether more sinister?
Helped by the rather hunky Nate (not that Suzy’s letting herself get distracted, of course) Suzy sets out to discover exactly what happened to this girl. She’s determined not to let another ghost get the better of her, but she might not have any choice in the matter…(Goodreads)
First lines: I saw a ghost today. A grey girl. She was standing at the window of the top-floor dormitory, looking down at the world below. I’ve never seen the girl before and today was the start of my forth year at Dudley Hall.
Where the rock splits the sky, Philip Webb (266 pages)The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That’s not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad…The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, permanent sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, joined by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan is on the run from her Texas hometown, journeying across the vast, dystopic American West to hunt down her father. To find him, she must face the Zone, a notorious landscape where the laws of nature do not apply. The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it–and an alien showdown.(Goodreads)
First lines: Leaning against the doorpost of the smithy, I pretend it is a normal day. For the thousandth time in the last hour, I wonder whether I should say goodbye to Luis or just slip away. The boardwalk outside is as bright as the forge -it always is0under the light of a sun that sits on the horizon and refuses to set.
Sea of Shadows : Age of legends book 1 , Kelley Armstrong, (406 pages)n the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: After three days of tramping across endless lava fields, Ronan quickened his steps at the sight of the forest. He swore he could soft earth under his feet, hear birds in the treetops, even smell icy spring water. If one had to pick a place to die, he supposed he could do worse.