Us again, and we do hope you’ve been chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool over the Christmas break. To help you along with that all the way through the new year, we’ve come up with a few great movie suggestions from the young adult dvd section, which are just 80c to issue with your young adult library card! Admittedly, you will have to get out of the house to issue them, but that’s a minor detail.
Tomorrow When The War Began
Based on the John Marsden book of the same name, the story follows eight high school friends whose lives are suddenly and violently upended by a war that no one saw coming. They must learn to escape, survive and fight back against a hostile military force. And blow up stuff, a lot of stuff. While looking beautiful.
Under The Mountain
When teenage twins Rachel & Theo investigate the creepy house next door, they discover the Wilberforces – shape shifting creatures that lurk beneath Auckland’s ring of extinct volcanoes. Guided by the mysterious Mr Jones and with the help of their cousin Ricky, the twins must rekindle the unique powers they once shared if they are to destroy this ancient evil. This film does Maurice Gee’s epic story justice with a decent amount of money spent on special effects for once. Forget that they have the same accents as the stars of Shortland Street, this film’s amaze-balls.
The entire collection of the groundbreaking series narrated by David Attenborough. With a budget of unprecedented proportions, Planet Earth has stretched the boundaries of natural history documentary making. This film has breathtaking shots of the planet we all know so well. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before with every frame fascinating or beautiful, usually both.
In hopes of wooing a beautiful girl, Tristan promises to bring her a falling star. Yeah it is as awesome as it sounds. This is more than your usual love story as Tristan is in for a magical adventure with wicked witches, scheming princes (who keep dying) and by far the coolest cross-dressing sky pirate you’ll ever see. Possibly the only one you’ll ever see as well. This is an exciting and witty tale along the same vein as The Princess Bride.
Brendan Frye is a loner, someone who knows all the angles but has chosen to stay on the outside. When the girl he loves turns up dead, he is determined to find out the “who” and “why” and plunges into the dark and dangerous social strata of rich girl Laura, intimidating Tug and the ominous Pin. But who can he really trust? Director and screenwriter Rian Johnson (of Looper and The Brothers Bloom) has invented a whole new lingo to fit into the film’s universe. It’s a stylish modern noir thriller at its best.
Dead Poets Society
When charismatic English teacher John Keating arrives at a strict boys academy, his unconventional teaching methods breathe new life into the curriculum steeped in tradition. With his wit and wisdom, Keating encourages his students to be true to themselves and make their lives extraordinary. Equal parts inspirational and heartbreaking – have the tissues ready. O captain! My captain!
We recommended the book, and here’s the film! Essentially the same story as the novel, following Bliss Cavendar on her quest to become a roller derby star while contending with her mother’s obsession with entering her in beauty pageants. Bliss learns a lot about herself and consequences of her actions along the way. Action packed with an awesome and energetic soundtrack and a healthy dose of girl power, Whip It is one of my absolute favourite movies.
Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful online community called Oz. His second life is the only one he has, until the girl of his dreams hijacks him for a starring role as her fake fiance at her family reunion. Things only get stranger. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematical riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using Oz to destroy the real world. Kenji and his new ‘family’ have to work together to save the worlds they inhabit.
A Town Called Panic
Based on the tv show of the same name, this movie is MANIC. That is the only word for it. The unlikely trio of Horse, Cowboy and Indian (plastic toys with no opposable limbs) live together in a crooked house on a hill. Cowboy and Indian realise with horror that they have forgotten Horse’s birthday and embark on a series of implausible adventures, taking a journey to the Earth’s core, discovering an aquatic parallel universe and taking part in a breakneck snowball ride across a frozen wasteland. Hilarious. You’ll be in stitches!
Mary and Max
A very clever claymation story of a pair of unlikely penpals – Mary, a lonely 8-year-old Australian girl and Max, a 44-year-old severely obese Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Their friendship grows and spans over twenty years with a lot of ups and downs, and covers a whole range of topics, from taxidermy to trust to agoraphobia.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Another of my absolute favourite films! Meet charming and jobless Scott Pilgrim. A bass guitarist for a garage band trying to make it big through the Battle of the Bands in Canada, the 22-year-old has just met the girl of his dreams – literally. But there’s one catch to winning over Ramona Flowers – he has to meet and defeat her seven evil exes! Based on the graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley, the film incorporates multimedia elements which make it feel like both a movie and a video game. Bright colours! Sounds! Flashing lights! This movie has it all.
This is a documentary about krumping. Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t know what krumping is? You have to see this film to believe it. Krumping originated in the early 1990s in inner city Los Angeles and evolved from another dance style called ‘clowning’. Those 90s kids were crazy with their dance names. This doco was made by the photographer David LaChapelle and as such it looks incredibly pretty and hyper-real.
We hope you’ve had a great Christmas, now kick back and relax with some fantastic film fun!
This week’s cornucopia of new books contains epic adventures, dark fairy tales, sky pirates, unforgettable, kickass characters, a shipwreck, and Joan of Arc!
Kill Me Softly, Sarah Cross (331 pages) – If you like the TV series Once Upon a Time and Grimm then you might like to read this! Mirabelle sneaks back to her birth town just before her sixteenth birthday, to find it’s a place where fairy tales are real. Trouble is (as you know) fairy tales aren’t lovely and sweet, and Mirabelle is drawn into one in particular, involving two brothers with fairy tale curses and “a dark secret”.
First sentence: Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage.
Where It Began, Ann Redisch Stampler (369 pages) – This one reminded me of the Jenny Han books (e.g. The Summer I Turned Pretty) and then I saw that she’s written “unputdownable!” on the cover! Gabby has reinvented herself for her senior year, with some success, as she has a perfect boyfriend in Billy. But eight months in, she wakes up on the ground next to Billy’s wrecked BMW with no memory, with no sign of Billy. Putting her life back together may mean facing some unpleasant truths.
First sentence: This is how it starts: some hapless girl in a skanky tank top lying on her back in the wet grass somewhere in Hidden Hills.
Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell (348 pages) – “Margo Crane, a beautiful and uncanny markswoman, takes to the Stark River after being complicit in the death of her father and embarks on an odyssey in search of her vanished mother.” (catalogue) This sounds intriguing! And the cover calls Margo “an unforgettable heroine”.
First sentence: The stark river flowed around the oxbow at Murrayville the way blood flowed through Margo Crane’s heart.
The Maid, Kimberly Cutter (287 pages) – The story of Joan of Arc! Jehanne d’Arc was a peasant girl, “whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her” (catalogue), in other words, she was awesome! Also, the cover painting is Joan of Arc, by Sir John Everett Millais.
First sentence: She awakes in darkness, curled on the cold stone floor of the tower.
Blind Sight, Meg Howrey (289 pages) – Luke Prescott has “spent a short lifetime swinging agreeably between the poles of Eastern mysticism and New England Puritanism” (cover), thanks to his mother and grandmother. You couldn’t blame him for being confused! But wait, there’s more: his father, a famous TV star, invites him to Los Angeles to spend time, so Luke finds himself in the elite world of celebrity, trying to figure out the difference between truth and belief.
First sentence: Names are just what we all agree to call things.
Losers in Space, John Barnes (433 pages) – “In 2129, hoping to bypass the exams and training that might lead to a comfortable life, Susan, her almost-boyfriend Derlock, and seven fellow students stow away on a ship to Mars, unaware that Derlock is a sociopath with bigger plans” (catalogue). They say that Susan is “kickass” though, so I have some hope for her against a sociopath!
First sentence: “This collection of losers and misfits will now come to order for a report from your activities chairman”.
There is no long distance now (very short stories), Naomi Shihab Nye (201 pages) – There are 40 stories in here! 40! The dust jacket says: “”In these forty life-altering, life-affirming, and extremely short short stories, the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye proposes that no matter how great the divide between friends, siblings, life and death, classmates, enemies, happiness and misery, war and peace, breakfast and lunch, parent and child, country and city, there is, in fact, no long distance. Not anymore.”
First sentence: Jane’s father announced their moves as if they were dinner menus.
Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding (461 pages) – This is sky pirates, with steampunk. Darian Frey is the captain of Ketty Jay. When an attempt to steal a chest of gems goes horribly wrong, he finds himself the most wanted person in Vardia, on the run from bounty hunters, the Century Knights, and the “queen of the skies”, Trinica Dracken. The punishment seems to outweigh the crime: Frey and his crew must flee to the pirate town of Retribution Falls, and find out what’s really going on. It’s like Stardust meets Firefly!
First sentence: The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the storeroom.
Thief’s Covenant, Ari Marmell (272 pages) – “Once she was Adrienne Sati, an orphan with a rags-to-riches story until a conspiracy of human and other forces stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Now she is Widdershins, a thief with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and help from the mystical god Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdenshins. But now something horrid, something dark, is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go.” (catalogue)
First sentence: The girl watched, helpless, as the world turned red beneath her.
Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch (295 pages) – In 19th Century London, Jaffy, a street urchin, is taken under the wing of the great Charles Jamrach, famed owner of exotic creatures (including the tiger that tried to kill Jaffy). Jaffy is recruited by Jamrach on a trip to the Dutch East Indies to catch a “fabled dragonlike creature”. The creature is caught, but is it bad luck? The fierce storm and resulting shipwreck seem to suggest so.
First sentences: I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.
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.‘
Here they are! Some new books! Yay!
Numbers 2 : The Chaos, by Rachel Ward (345 pages) – Adam has inherited his mother’s gift; he can see the date of a person’s death in their eyes. In an especially interesting twist (I think!) everyone’s death date is the first of January, 2027.This is the sequel to the thriller, Numbers.
First line: ‘June 2026: The knock on the door comes early in the morning, just as it’s getting light.‘
Closer, by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (508 pages) – This is the fourth book in the Tunnels series. Each volume is massive! Lots of reading. Basically, it’s about a fifteen-year-old boy who discovers a city in the middle of the earth ruled by the nasty, expansionist Styx. But one sentence can not adequately encapsulate 2,000 pages!
First lines: ‘Waves of flame, red through white. Hair singes, skin contracts.‘
Spirit Hunter, by Katy Moran (279 pages) – Shaolin assassins, the Empress of China, the Silk Road, Horse Tribe shamans, war and bloodshed. This is the third book in the Bloodline series, a Google search informs me.
First line: ‘Chang’an, capital of the T’ang Empire, around AD 665: Swiftarrow knelt at the Empress’s feet, bowing low.‘
Darkwater, by Georgia Blain (278 pages) – Grim! It’s 1973, and a school girl has been found dead by a river. Fifteen-year-old Winter, who knew the girl, investigates and discovers that the ‘answers she is looking for are closer than she ever wanted to believe.’
First lines: ‘I’m not sure who found Amanda Clarke’s body. I think it was her mother, but I may be wrong.‘
Jekel Loves Hyde, by Beth Fantaskey (282 pages) – Jill Jekel and the ‘gorgeous, brooding’ Tristen Hyde get together to recreate the experiments from the classic novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, who certainly didn’t love one another but goodness what an interesting book that would be. Anyway! Jill tries some of the formula and it unleashes her ‘darkest nature’, risking everything (esp. Tristan’s love).
First line: ‘I buried my father the day after my seventeenth birthday.‘
White Crow, by Marcus Sedgwick (265 pages) – This book has a very interesting trailer! ‘There are still gothic elements to White Crow, but this feels like something of a new direction for Sedgwick. This is essentially a contemporary tale of two girls’ friendship in a long, hot, tense summer, but it is interwoven with a 17th century tale of bizarre experiments into the afterlife. It is an original and exceptional novel of tragedy, angels, devils and friendship’ (yoinked from The Bookseller via Amazon.co.uk.)
First lines: ‘She could have been anyone. She could have been any girl who arrived in Winterfold that summer.‘
Dead is So Last Year, by Marlene Perez (192 pages) – ‘Smart pyschic teens’, the Giordano sisters, solve mysteries in the ‘notoriously spooky’ town of Nightshade, California. This is the third in a series about the sassy psychic sisters surmounting supernatural strangeness.
First line: ‘“Daisy, you’re back!” Chief Mendez saud when he answered the front door.’
The Wake of the Lorelei Lee : Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, on Her Way to Botany Bay, by L. A. Meyer (554 pages) – Jacky is rich! And so goes to London, thinking that she’s no longer wanted by the crown. She lands, is arrested, and promptly shipped off to the convict settlements in Botany Bay, Oz.
First line (of chapter 2): ‘The final carpentry changes to the Lorelei Lee being completed, Amy and I are off in the Morning Star for a weekend at Dovecote.‘
Carter’s Big Break, by Brent Crawford (231 pages) – This is the follow-up to Carter Finally Gets It. Will Carter has survived his freshman year at high school, and has somehow been cast in a film opposite Hollywood teen actress, Hilary Idaho.
First line: ‘On the last day of school, I’m happily strolling down the hall after Mr. Rumpford’s ridiculously hard algebra final.‘
Somewhere in Blue, by Gillian Cummings (334 pages) – Sandy’s father has died and she wallows in grief. Her mother seems to be coping a bit too well, and Sandy also distances herself from her best friend, who in turn has a difficult relationship with her mother. “An intense story of loss and shifting relationships.”
First line: ‘Something about the waves, something about their blue-gray depths, had been flowing down into Sandy, rushing in to fill a gaping hole.‘
The Selected, by Patrick Cave (405 pages) – This is a prequel/sequel to Sharp North (or is it the other way round? or both?). The setting is a futuristic Britain ruled by Great Families who keep spare clones of themselves. Climate change and a fascistic government mean life is a raw deal for everyone else.
First lines: ‘Dawn in the mountains. The first iron heat gathering, shimmering in bands across hard, thirsty slopes.‘
Anastasia’s Secret, by Susanne Dunlap (330 pages) – Anastasia Romanova was a daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, who, along with his family, were killed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution. History is grim! However! There is some doubt as to their fates, and this book is “a haunting vision of the life – and imagined love story – of Russia’s last princess.”
First lines: ‘We are surrounded by guards. Not the nice ones; the ones we don’t like, who make us bow to them, make us show our identity cards and take a long time to examine them, even though they know perfectly well who we are and that we haven’t been anywhere outside of the Governer’s House in Tobolsk for months.‘
Stravaganza : City of Ships, by Mary Hoffman (348 pages) – The fifth book in The Stravaganza Sequence, about time travelling teens who end up in Talia, a country in a parallel world, much like 16th-century Italy. But with pirates!
First line: ‘If she raised herself slightly from the stool she sat on, Flavia could see the masts of ships in the harbour.‘
Radiance, by Alyson Noël (183 pages) – Riley Bloom dies in a car crash, and ffins herself in an afterlife where she gets a job as a Soul Catcher. Some spirits don’t want to move on, and her first task to to find one such spirit. Also! Her dog died with her so he’s there as well.
First line: ‘Most people think that death is the end.‘
I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (249 pages) – The latest in a long line of Discworld novels. Tiffany is a witch, and isn’t finding the job too glamorous. The fightin’ Nac Mac Feegles aren’t helping either.
First line: ‘Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much? Why was noise so important?‘
Burning Mountain, by L. J. Adlington (315 pages) – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Italy during WWII and the Afghan War are all connected in this book.
First line: ‘Drenched in grey ash, grazed by a rain of rock, Gaius Justinius Aquila staggered along the beach, eyes wide at all the horrors.‘
Fierce September, by Fleur Beale (358 pages) – Book two of the Juno series. ‘Juno and the Taris inhabitants must leave their dying island to live on the Outside, a seemingly hostile place of pandemics and conflict. Juno enjoys the new freedoms and choices now available to her in a future New Zealand. But Taris doesn’t give up its hold so easily, and she is shocked to find the island held more secrets than any of them knew.’
The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller (410 pages) – Not a reference to vampires, thank goodness, but rather people who are reincarnated repeatedly. I think! Take a gander at the official website and watch the trailer.
First line: ‘Haven was back.‘
There aren’t many new books this week. No doubt there will be LOADS next week. Most of this week’s books’ covers have similar colouring! Weird, eh.
Withering Tights : The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, by Louise Rennison (351 pages) – Louise Rennison is the author of the always-popular Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. This is the first in a new series about Tallulah Casey, who has just enrolled in a Performing Arts College in Yorkshire (hence the title, if you know your classics). The back blurb made me laugh! “Alex had everything a dream boy should have. Back, front, sides. A head.”
First lines: ‘Wow. This is it. This is me growing up. On my own, going to Performing Arts College.‘
Swapped by a Kiss, by Luisa Plaja (344 pages) – Rachel sees her boyfriend, David, kissing their friend Jo, who is the nicest girl at the school. Rachel, enraged, wishes she was Jo and suddenly she finds herself in Jo’s body. Being Jo isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Shouldn’t you just be yourself? Yes.
First line: ‘I am in the doorway of a dance tent and my boyfriend is inside, kissing a girl who is not me.‘
To Catch a Pirate, by Jade Parker (228 pages) – Annalisa Townsend is discovered hiding in the hold of a ship by James Sterling, pirate and charmer. Determined to find her father’s treasure she sets out a year later to try to find Sterling. Will she get the treasure? Or will he also capture her heart with his suave seadog stylings?
First line: ‘Annalisa Townsend didn’t know which terrified her more: the razor-sharp edge of the dagger pressed against her throat or the ruthless glare of the pirate who’d shoved her against the wall with the harsh words, “Hold your tongue or I’ll remove it.”‘
Rebel Girl : Secrets at St Jude’s, by Carmen Reid (289 pages) – Four girls at St Jude’s School for Girls face different problems of various magnitude (Niffy wants to be gorgeous! Min is studying too much and missing out on fun! Amy’s rich dad goes broke! Gina’s got a wandering eye!). So they get in touch with their inner rebel.
First line: ‘Long after midnight, Gina lay wide awake in her narrow dorm bed.‘
Boyology : A Teen Girl’s Crash Course in All Things Boy, by Sarah O’Leary Burningham (167 pages) – This is non-fiction! And it intended to assist teens who want to understand the male psyche. Chapter headings include, ‘The Firsts of First Dates: And the Rest of the Dating Game‘, ‘You Wear the Pants: Setting Your Boundaries‘, and ‘Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.‘
Sam Stern’s Eat Vegetarian, by Sam Stern and Susan Stern (187 pages) – This is the Sterns’ fifth book, and is packed with some very nice-looking recipes. Meat-free, so are probably cheaper to make if you’re on a budget! Which is good.
Chocolate Cake With Hitler, by Emma Craigie (204 pages) – Helga Goebbels, daughter of the Nazi’s head of propaganda, spent the last ten days of her life (she was twelve) stuck in Hitler’s bunker. Her parents and the other adults become more and more tense and Helga soon begins to realise that her childhood wasn’t the fairytale it seemed.
First lines: ‘I’m sitting with Papa on a bench beside the sea. I must be about three years old.‘
Spells, by Aprilynne Pike (425 pages) – Laurel is a faerie, placed among the humans when she was a baby. A baby faerie! She still lives in the human world (a boyfriend you see) but the faerie realm is threatened, so she’s got to do something about it.
First line: ‘Laurel stood in front of the cabin, scanning the tree line, her throat constricting in a rush of nerves.’
f2m – The Boy Within, by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy (330 pages) – Skye is in an all-girl punk band, and her world is turned upside-down when she decides to transition to male. Skye becomes Finn, and his family and friends will need to come to terms with this.
First line: ‘Tick the box. M or F.‘
Where I Belong, by Gillian Cross (340 pages) – Human smuggling, Somalia, and supermodels!
First line: ‘Spin the globe, boy,’ my father used to say.‘
Jaguar Warrior, by Sandy Fussell (212 pages) – Atl is an Aztec boy who runs from captivity (and human sacrifice I think?) towards freedom. Who can blame him!
First line: ‘“Why isn’t that boy dead yet?” When the captain shouts, even the temple walls shiver.‘
Shadow of the Dragon: Book 2 – Elspeth, by Kate O’Hearn (374 pages) – The king’s ‘First Law’ is an incredibly restrictive bunch of rules preventing girls from going anywhere near dragons (torture then execution you see) but Elspeth and her sister Kira aren’t having any of it.
First line: ‘The heavy rain that fell from the stormy skies around them did little to dampen the celebrations of the dragon riders cutting through the thick dark clouds.‘
Witchfinder : Dawn of the Demontide, by William Hussey (337 pages) – The Demontide is coming, and Jake Harker is ‘the only one who can stop it.’ Sounds pretty grim! This is the first book in a planned trilogy. There is an official website here.
First line: ‘“HELP! Someone – anyone – please, help me!”‘
Thief Eyes, by Janni Lee Simner (259 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Haley goes to Iceland with her father to try to find her mother, who disappeared there some time ago. She touches a magic coin Hallgerd (Haley’s ancestor – and a sorceress!) that curses her. Haley now needs to break the spell, and sets off with the gorgeous but dangerous Ari.
First line: ‘ Icy rain blew into my hood and dripped down my neck as I knelt on the mossy stones.‘
Bead, Boys, and Bangles, by Sophia Bennett (304 pages) – This is the second book in the Threads series, which is about four girls and ‘their amazing adventure with fashion.’ In this installment Crow’s designs may be manufactured by children in India!
First line: ‘I’ve never seen Crow look so scared. And this time she’s got a point.‘
First line: ‘They say home is where the heart is. I believed that, once.‘
Borderline, by Allan Stratton (298 pages) – Sami is the only Muslim at his private school. When is father is implicated in a terrorist plot, Sami’s ‘must fight to keep his world from unraveling.’ A thriller!
First line: ‘I’m next door in Andy’s driveway, shooting hoops with him and Marty.‘
Alchemy and Meggy Swann, by Karen Cushman (167 pages) – Meggy is sent from her country village to Elizabethan-era London. From a dire beginning she works her way to improve her lot in the same way that her father, an achemist, attempts to turn base metal into gold.
First line: ‘“Ye toads and vipers,” the girl said, as her granny often had, “ye toads and vipers,” and she snuffled a great snuffle that echoed in the empty room.‘
Burned : A House of Night Novel, by P. C. and Kristin Cast (323 pages) – Book seven in the series, and one of the Most Wanted books this month. Having not read this I do not know what is going on. High Priestesses! Neferet! Bringing back Zoey!
First line: ‘Kalona lifted his hands. He didn’t hesitate.‘
Sources of Light, by Margaret McMullan (233 pages) – Mississippi, 1962, and fourteen-year-old Sam ‘learns to use her camera to look for the shades of gray’ in a black and white world.
First line: ‘The year after my father died, my mother took a job teaching at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi.‘
Spirit Bound : A Vampire Academy Novel, by Richelle Mead (489 pages) – This is the fifth novel in the series. And what happens? ‘Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s and to her best friend, Lissa. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere. He has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him–forever.’ So says the catalogue.
First line: ‘There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.‘
Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins (323 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Sophie discovers she’s a witch, but after screwing up a love spell she’s sent to Hecate ‘Hex’ Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters, and faeries. Also ghosts and a vampire. There’s a mystery predator also.
First line: ‘Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom. Again.‘
The Reckoning : The Darkest Power, by Kelley Armstrong (391 pages) – Book three! Chloe is fifteen and is a genetically engineered necromancer, and has feelings for a sorcerer and his brother, a werewolf, all the while on the run from the corporation that created her (and the others).
First line: ‘After four nights on the run, I was finally safe, tucked into bed and enjoying the deep, dreamless sleep of the dead … until the dead decided they’d really rather have me awake.‘
Koh Tabu, by Ann Kelley (260 pages) – A group of girls are stranded on an island after their boat is blown off course. It’s all an adventure to begin with but quickly becomes an all-girl Lord of the Flies + Man Vs Wild mashup.
First line: ‘It all began with my mother changing her mind.‘
Rich and Mad, by William Nicholson (341 pages)
The Island, by Sarah Singleton (294 pages)
Ondine : The Summer of Shambles, by Ebony McKenna (291 pages)
Because I Am Furniture, by Thalia Chaltas (352 pages)
Tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day, perfect for unleashing yer inner pirate. Instead of saying ‘hello’, say ‘ahoy!’; instead of ‘yes’, say ‘aye aye!’; and say ‘arrrr!’ for no reason whatsoever, me mateys. Here be a few steps towards talking like a pirate. And here be this ‘ere website, translated into pirate for ye scurvy dogs.
Also, tomorrow is NZ’s annual Loud Shirt Day, which benefits deaf children. So while you’re talking like a pirate you can wear your brightest, most colourful shirt. You won’t regret it!