Forever for a year, B.T. Gottfred
When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice. (Goodreads)
First lines: It was my idea for us to start using our full names. It was going to help us take ourselves more seriously now we were starting high school. It’s like I used to be Carrie, this awkward eighth-grader, but now I was going to be Carolina, this amazing freshman. Oh my gosh, this sounds so dumb when I say it like that. Never mind.
No such person, Caroline B. Cooney
Murder. One of the Allerdon sisters has been charged with a pre-meditated killing and taken to jail. It doesn’t seem possible–but it’s happening. What was supposed to be a typical summer is anything but for this seemingly ordinary family. Shortly after they arrive at their cozy family cottage on the river, Lander meets and is smitten witha handsome young man, and they begin to date. Miranda has a bad feeling about her sister’s new boyfriend. And when the family must deal with an unimaginable nightmare, Miranda can’t help feeling that the boyfriend has something to do with it. The police say they have solid evidence against Lander. Miranda wants to believe in her sister when she swears she is innocent. But as Miranda digs deeper into the past few weeks of Lander’s life, she wonders why everything keeps pointing to Lander’s guilt.(Goodreads)
First lines: At first the police are casual. She too is casual. Puzzled, but not worried. The questions become more intense. The questions frighten her. Where are the police going with this? They are not giving her time to think. Her tongue is dry and tastes of metal. Her hands are damp. Her breath is ragged.
Silver in the blood, Jessica Day George
Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate… or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.(Goodreads)
First lines: Dearest Lou,
Whoever said that travel was exotic and full of adventure has clearly not sailed on the White Lady. Before you worry yourself sick that I am sitting in some squalid cabin, suffering from seasickness, fear not! Of course it is all that is respectable and luxurious, and I would never do anything so horribly undignified as become seasick.
Shadowshaper, Daniel Jose Older
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Sierra? What are you staring at?”
Blatant lie. Sierra glanced down from the scaffolding to where Manny the Domino King stood with his arms crossed over his chest.
“You sure?” he said.
The cut out, Jack Heath
Fero isn’t a spy. But he looks exactly like someone who is: Troy Maschenov – a ruthless enemy agent. But what starts as a case of mistaken identity quickly turns into a complicated and dangerous plan. Fero is recruited to fight for his country. He will have to impersonate Troy, enter enemy territory, hunt down a missing agent and bring her home in time to prevent a devastating terror attack. Fero is in way over his head. Hastily trained, loaded up with gadgets and smuggled across the border, he discovers the truth about espionage. Getting in is easy. Getting out alive is hard. (Goodreads)
First lines: “We shouldn’t be here,” Fero said.
“Will you relax?” Irla demanded. “It’s about to start.”
Irla didn’t look relaxed. She was shifting her weight from foot to foot on the cobblestones.
Adrift, Paul Griffin
Matt and his best friend, John, only came out to Montauk for the summer to make a little extra cash and then head back home. A seemingly basic plan for two guys from Queens.
And then Matt meets Driana. Because it’s always about a girl, right? The girl leads to a party, the party leads to a boat, which leads to being adrift at sea with three rich kids who have no clue about how to navigate a boat, let alone actually survive. Matt and John are used to creating stability in unstable situations, but Matt’s busy falling in love at the worst possible time, and John can rub people the wrong way when he’s focused on survival. Driana is trying to keep the peace, but her friends JoJo and Stef aren’t making it easy. The longer they are out there, the lower everyone’s reserves of mental and emotional strength, which is a problem since the biggest mistakes can happen when people are tired and hungry and have no hope. How far will each of them go to survive? (Goodreads)
First lines: The surfers called it The End for its killer waves. To Everyone else it was the end of Long Island. Montauk. It’s a town of beaches and bluffs on the tip of the south fork.
The glass arrow, Kristen Simmons
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning. (Goodreads)
First lines: Run. My breath is sharp as a dagger, stabbing through my throat. It’s all I hear. Whoosh. Whoosh. In and out. They’re here. The Trackers. They’ve followed Bian from the lowland village where he lives. The fool lead them right to us.
The accident season, Moira Fowley-Doyle
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? (Goodreads)
First lines: So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season,
To the river beneath is where we sink our souls,
To the bruises and secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling,
One more drink for the watery road.
Hit count, Chris Lynch
Arlo Brodie loves being at the heart of the action on the football field, getting hit hard and hitting back harder. That’s where he belongs, leading his team to championships, becoming “Starlo” on his way to the top. Arlo’s dad cheers him on, but his mother quotes head injury statistics and refuses to watch games. Arlo’s girlfriend tries to make him see how dangerously he’s playing; when that doesn’t work, she calls time out on their relationship. Even Arlo’s coaches begin to track his hit count, ready to pull him off the field when he nears the limit. But Arlo’s not worried about tallying collisions. The winning plays, the cheering crowds, and the adrenaline rush are enough to convince Arlo that everything is OK—in spite of the pain, the pounding, the dizziness, and the confusion. (Goodreads)
First lines: “All I ever wanted to do was hit people, is that so bad? Does that make me a bad guy?”
That would have been funny if Lloyd was trying to be funny but he wasn’t.
“That’s not so bad, Lloyd,” I told him, “And you are not a bad guy. I think you should stop that though.”
Reawakened, Collen Houck
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind. But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. (Goodreads)
First lines: In the great city of Itjawy, the air was thick and heavy, reflecting the mood of the men in the temple, especially in the countenance of the king and the terrible burden he carried in his heart. As King Heru stood behind a pillar and looked upon the gathered people, he wandered if the answer his advisers and priests had given was their salvation or instead, their utter destruction.
Lair of Dreams, Libba Bray
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer? (Goodreads)
First lines: Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each skinny steel beam, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or a filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new façade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park.
Legacy of Kings, Eleanor Herman
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise. Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters. (Goodreads)
First lines: Katerina races across the meadow, scanning for any roots or rocks in her way. Her heart thumps wildly in her chest. Her legs ache. The gazelle leaps slightly ahead of her, its hooves barely touching the grass. it is a blur of tan and white, with long, black-ringed horns; a creature not fully of the earth, but also of the sky.
Gotham Academy (graphic novel), Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits… Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude…and an unexplained fear of bats. Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals. Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled? (Goodreads)
To this day: for the bullied and the beautiful, Shane Koyczan
In February 2013, Shane Koyczan’s passionate anti-bullying poem “To This Day” electrified the world. An animated video of the lyric narrative went viral, racking up over 12 million hits to date and inspiring an international movement against bullying in schools. Shane later performed the piece to sustained applause on the stage of the 2013 annual TED Conference.
Now this extraordinary work has been adapted into an equally moving and visually arresting book. Thirty international artists, as diverse as they are talented, have been inspired to create exceptional art to accompany “To This Day.” Each page is a vibrant collage of images, colors and words that will resonate powerfully with anyone who has experienced bullying themselves, whether as a victim, observer, or participant. Born of Shane’s own experiences of being bullied as a child, “To This Day” expresses the profound and lasting effect of bullying on an individual, while affirming the strength and inner resources that allow people to move beyond the experience. A heartfelt preface and afterword, along with resources for kids affected by bullying, make this book an invaluable centerpiece of the anti-bullying movement. (Goodreads)
I’ve read a few awesome books this year, but these are my favourites. Surprise, surprise: two of them are graphic novels.
Lies, knives and girls in red dresses , by Ron Koertge.
Reimagings of Fairytales are a dime a dozen these days, but this collection of poetry is one of the few that retains the bite of the originals. What happens to the Ugly stepsisters after Cinderella’s happy ending? What does the orge-queen have to say for herself? This is not a collection for those who like their fairy stories light and fluffy. The last poem, told from the perspective of the wolves who prowl through the stories eating the unwary and terrifying humans, really captures what this book is all about. “This is our forest. Perfect before you came.Perfect again when all your kind is dead.”
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Liuetenant , by Tony Cliff
Selim, the titular Turkish Liuetenant, would like a quiet life, enjoying tea (he’s a true connoisseur) and getting on with his job in the Janissary Corps. Unfortunately, his meek and bookish demeanour seem to be working against him, and his superiors find his loquaciousness annoying. Luckily – or unluckily- his slow paced world is interupted by the appearence of Delilah Dirk, an adventurer of no mean skill and reputation. Due to a seires of misunderstandings, Selim gets entangled in Delilah’s latest endevour: stealing back treasure from an evil pirate warlord. This is the sort of graphic novel I really love: a glorious, silly romp through a unique setting with gorgeous art and interesting characters. It plays pretty fast and loose with the historical setting – I doubt that there were female Indiana Jones types stampeding across Istanbul in 1807 – but it’s an amazing adventure story.
Templar, by Jordan Mechner ; illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland
Templar comes highly recommended by David Benioff and D.B Weiss, creators of the TV show Game of Thrones. I was a little sceptical about it at first: there are plenty of rather fanciful stories about the Knights Templar, the heroes of this book. However, this book is light on the conspiracy theories, but not a dry out and out reconstruction of historical events.What I really loved about the characters in this book was that they were, for their time, pretty normal people. There’s an epidemic of “Chosen One” in YA fiction at the moment, so this is a refreshing change.
We at the teen blog salute poetry (especially in haiku form), and we’re good for a poetry challenge, so we love Book Spine Poetry (see here, here and here for some references). It is oddly satisfying (and a particularly good way to waste pass time, as it involves staring at bookshelves in a contemplative fashion).
Here are our first attempts:
Thank you to Steph for the pinterest link, and to Brooklyn library for the inspiration.