Thai-riffic!, by Oliver Phommavanh (190 pages) – Lengy’s parents run a Thai restaurant, but Lengy’s favourite food is pizza of all things. Lengy has a new high school to go to, with new friends, teachers, and adventures. Also! He comes to grips with his Thai heritage and perhaps lays off the pizza.
First line: ‘Same same, but different.‘
Morpheus Road : The Light, by D. J. Machale (341 pages) – This is the first book in a trilogy by the author of the fairly popular Pendragon series of books. Teen Marsh Seaver finds that he is being stalked by the Gravedigger, a skeletal horror that he had created in his sketchbook. His best friend disappears and his sister joins with Marsh to find him. “Spooky and fraught with peril”!
First line: ‘I believe in ghosts.‘
The Last Words of Will Wolfkin, by Steven Knight (373 pages) – Toby Walsgrove has been paralyzed since birth, and spends his life in a Carmelite convent in London. When his cat tells him that he is, in fact, the descendent of a great king and must travel to Iceland, oh and now he can talk and walk, Toby is off on a great adventure. BUT is he dreaming?
First line: ‘My name is Toby Walsgrove, and before I begin to tell you my story, I should give you a short explanation of who I am.‘
Virals, by Kathy Reichs (454 pages) – No cover to embed for this one, so allow me to describe it! It’s a girl running away from something. She is in a jungle, or maybe a forest, or even a gardening centre (probably not). Tory Brennan and her pals have grown up near the Loggerhead Research Institute and when they are bitten by a stray wolfdog pup from the lab, they are all altered on a DNA level, making them super-powered.
First line: ‘A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe.‘
The Legend of the King : The Squire’s Tale, by Gerald Morris (295 pages) – Here it is, the tenth and final installment in The Squire’s Tale series. Sir Terence is now a knight of the Round Table, and Camelot is under attack by dark magic. Will King Arthur and his knights defeat the forces of darkness? Well now, that would be telling. Great first line;
First line: ‘Sir Dinadan of Camelot, knight of Fellowship of King Arthur’s Round Table, emissary of Emporer Alis of Constantinople to the Seljuk Turks, sniffed cautiously at his left armpit.‘
The Web of Titan, by Dom Testa (255 pages) – A bunch of teens are sent off in the starship Galahad. Their mission is to colonise a distant planet, as Earth’s population is decimated by a virus that wipes out adults. This is the second in a series (the first is The Comet’s Curse) and they encounter alien (?) weirdness in the rings of Saturn.
First line: ‘The storm raged quietly along the surface, a swirl of colors colliding, mixing, weaving.‘
The Ghost and the Goth, by Stacey Kade (281 pages) – A misunderstood goth boy is haunted by a dead homecoming queen (she was hit by a bus full of ‘geeks’). He doesn’t want to help her because she was a pain when alive, which is fair enough I guess. A supernatural romance! Colleague Lauren is going to read it and write a review. She promised. The cover is a goth and a ghost, perhaps just as you’d expect.
First line: ‘Dying should have been the worst moment in my life.‘
Blindsided, by Priscilla Cummings (226 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Natalie learns that she is rapidly going blind, and is faced with two options; to hope for a miracle that mightn’t come, or learn the skills that she needs to adapt to blindness.
First line: ‘Like so many of Natalie’s early memories, this one is full of color: the fresh yellow straw, the red blood that was pooling way too fast, the silver bucket kicked aside, the damp, quivering brown fur.‘
Wicked Girls : A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, by Stephanie Hemphill (408 pages) – A fictionalised telling of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in the 1600s in America. Everyone in the town of Salem went a hysterical and started accusing people of being witches, which, at that time, carried the death penalty. Nineteen people were hanged and one especially unlucky man was crushed to death. Anyway, here’s a novel about it. It’s written in poems.
Is it Night or Day?, by Fern Schumer Chapman (205 pages) – Edith travels from her small German town – where Nazi anti-Semitism is in full swing – to Chicago, in the US, as part of the ‘One Thousand Children’ project. She can not go with her parents, who remain behind. Edith is only twelve, and has lost everything. Based on the author’s mother’s life.
First line: ‘The first long train trip I ever took in Germany was my last.‘
Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick (427 pages) – This is the sequel to Hush, Hush. Nora’s ‘gorgeous guardian angel’, Patch, is spending too much time with her enemy, Marcie, and Nora finds she is drawn to Scott, an old family friend. But he is hiding something! And she is haunted by images of her murdered father.
First line: ‘The fingers of the thorn-apple tree clawed at the windowpane behind Harrison Grey, and he dog-eared his page, no longer able to read through the racket.‘
Me And Death : An Afterlife Adventure, by Richard Scrimger (187 pages) – Fourteen-year-old amateur gangster Jim is hit by a car and dies. He experiences a ‘hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit’ to the afterworld. Then! He gets a chance to come back to Earth.
First line: ‘I was walking up Roncesvalles, the big street in my neighborhood.‘
The Interrogation of Gabriel James, by Charlie Price (170 pages) – In this murder-mystery, teen Gabe witnesses two murders and recounts what he saw to the police. The mysteries start to stack up and Gabe takes it upon himself to discover the truth.
First line: ‘I stood at the back of a small crowd in a bleak cemetary north of the Yellowstone River, the second funeral I had attended this week.‘
Center Field, by Robert Lipsyte (280 pages) – “Mike lives for baseball and hopes to follow his idol into the major leagues one day, but he is distracted by a new player who might take his place in center field, an ankle injury, problems at home, and a growing awareness that something sinister is happening at school.” ~ Library of Congress summary.
First line: ‘Mike backed up a the ping of the ball against the metal bat, sensing a long, high fly.‘
Sleepless, by Cyn Balog (215 pages) – Eron is a Sandman, a supernatural being who sends people to sleep. He is not supposed to communicate to his charges but feels drawn to recently bereaved Julia, who is at unknowingly at risk from dangers she doesn’t recognise. Basically he’s in love with her but it’s against the rules.
First line: ‘Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver’s seat.‘
Golden Web, by Barbara Quick (266 pages) – A fictional retelling of the life of Alessandra Giliani, who has a very interesting story! She was the first woman anatomist (she was born in 1307) and developed a method of draining blood from a corpse and replacing it with a dye. All before the age of 19!
First lines: ‘Nicco was scared. His tutor was going to burst through the door at any moment, and Alessandra was nowhere to be found.‘
Exit Strategy, by Ryan Potter (303 pages) – Zach is desperate to leave his ‘dump’ of a town, Blaine, Michegan, with his wrestler best friend Tank and Ivy League-destined Sarah, Tank’s twin sister. When he discovers Tank’s being given steroids by his coach, the ensuing scandal somehow diminish his chances of leaving the place.
First line: ‘If I have any advice after everything that’s happened it’s this: never fall for you best friend’s twin sister, especially when her brother is an overprotective psycho who also happens to be a three-time state champion wrestler.‘
Shadow, by Jenny Moss (377 pages) – Shadow is tasked with watching the princess, whose death was prophecised to occur when she turns sixteen. Unfortunately for Shadow (and the princess) the prophecy comes true, and Shadow must run for her life with a young knight, Sir Kenway. As the kingdom falls, romance blossoms.
First lines: ‘I stood at the queen’s tall arched window. A blast of cold wind chilled my face, but I kept looking.‘
Flash, by Michael Cadnum (235 pages) – Take it away, Library of Congress summary: “Relates one momentous day in the lives of five young people in the San Francisco Bay Area, including two teenaged bank robbers, a witness [who is legally blind] and a wounded military policeman just back from Iraq.”
First lines: ‘“When will you show them the gun?” asked Milton? He and his brother were sitting in lawn chairs in back of the house.‘
Fever Season, by Eric Zweig (254 pages) – David is orphaned by the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 (which killed 15 million people). To escape the orphanage he needs to find his uncle, who he thinks lives in Seattle. Fortunately David gets a job with the ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, and travels west with them to Seattle.
First line: ‘“Put your coat on,” David Saifert’s mother said.‘
Yes You Can Play Great Rock Guitar : Jam, Shred and Riff in 10 Foolproof Lessons, by Phil Capone and Paul Copperwaite (192 pages) – Can you play the rock guitar? Yes, you can! Accompanied by a CD.
As promised, here are some more new books. Maybe all of them. There are many! If there was an earthquake right now they would fall on me, perhaps injuring me slightly.
Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh (543 pages) – Isobel falls in lurve with the aloof and sarky (and gorgeous) Varen, whose dream world – based on the not-at-all-jolly stories of Edgar Allan Poe – have come to life. She must rescue him before his nightmares devour him!
First line: ‘By the end of fourth period, Isobel’s espresso buzz from that morning’s venti latte had long since worn off.‘
Annexed, by Sharon Dogar (329 pages) – Peter van Pels and his family went into hiding with Anne Frank, and there, in this (imagined) story, he finds himself falling in love with her. As history documents, it’s not a happy love story, and Peter’s experience continues into and beyond the Nazi death camps.
First lines: ‘I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure.‘
The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals Book Two, by Michelle Cooper (451 pages) – Diary-writer Sophie and her family’s home, an island kingdom!, has been overrun by the Nazis, and they all find themselves trying to navigate the English aristocracy while pretty much penniless and/or mad. A sequel (obviously!) to this book.
First line: ‘I write this sitting at an exquisite little Louis the Fifteenth secretaire in the White Drawing Room, using a gold fountain pen borrowed from the King of Montmaray and a bottle of ink provided by one of the footmen.‘
Demon Princess : Reign Check, by Michelle Rowan (292 pages) – Nikki is half human, and half demon, and ‘has had a lot to deal with’. A faery king enrols at her high school to investigate her potential for destroying the world, and Nikki is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council for some reason. And! She’s also madly in love with her Shadow Creature servant, Michael, but it’s forbidden.
First line: ‘Act normal, I told myself as I pushed through the front doors of Erin Heights High School.‘
The Hunt : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (262 pages) – Another supernatural romance, the genre du jour. Demons are on the hunt and Eve must use her powers to fight them. She’s also mad keen on ‘gorgeous’ Luke, who may or may not be something more as well. Do they have a future together? Do they have a future at all? Will anyone have a future?
First line: ‘“Dude, have you decided to give up showering?” Dave Perry called after practice on Monday.‘
Trash, by Andy Mulligan (215 pages) – Everyone seems to be reserving this book! It’s about three friends who live in a dumpsite somewhere in the third world,, making a living from trash. They find something – a deady secret – and shortly afterwards they are ‘hunted without mercy.’ But it has a happy ending; it is ‘utterly original and universal, it will touch the world.’
First line: ‘My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.‘
Kiss Me Deadly : Tales of Paranormal Romance, edited by Trisha Telep (430 pages) -Thirteen stories of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, fallen angels, zombies (ugh) and other instances of supernatural love. Actually really good even if you’re no fan of supernatural romance; Maggie Stiefvater’s The Hounds of Ulster is a cracking story.
Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (503 pages) – Going to copy and paste this synopsis; ‘In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.’
First line: ‘I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina back woods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.‘
Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, by Dori Hillestad Butler (196 pages) – When T. J.’s dad is injured she discovers that she was kidnapped by her father 10 years ago. Not only does she have a mother and a step-father, but also a twin sister. This book also arguably has the best title of any book, ever.
First line: ‘The little red light on our answering machine was blinking on and off when I wandered into the kitchen.‘
Mutation : The Phoenix Files, by Chris Morphew (311 pages) – This is the third book in the Phoenix Files series. We reviewed the first book a while ago. There were 100 days left before the world ends; now there are only 63 days left and (in addition to the whole major catastrophe thing) something weird is happening to the people of Phoenix.
First line: ‘My fists clenched in my lap as Shackletone approached the podium, a hint of his sick, grandfatherly smile still pulling at his lips.‘
Love Sucks!, by Melissa Francis (285 pages) – a sequel to Bite Me!, and if there’s a third book what do you think it will be called? Stake Out! maybe. Pass The Grave-y! probably not. Love at First Bite! Jack reckons. Vampire teen A. J. still suffers being in love with her gorgeous step-brother, and maybe her vampire trainer, who is also gorgeous, and her father wants to take over the world, AND she has to plan the prom.
First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.‘
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (329 pages) – Violet has the cheery ability to psychically detect dead bodies, as well as the imprint that remains on their killers. So now that a serial killer is stalking her small town, she realises that she’s the only one who can find the killer (and she’s being haunted quite a bit). She teams up with best friend Jay, who she’s developing feelings for (he is gorgeous).
First line: ‘Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her.‘
The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (328 pages) – James was a nerd at his old school, but now that he’s been enrolled in an exclusive academy for mathletes he can easily be the ‘cool guy’ – he makes up a tough background for himself and soon is lying about everything. Unfortunately there are consequences, and in his case they are quite destructive.
First line: ‘I was the guy no one noticed.‘
Once Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison (232 pages) – More supernatural romance. This one’s particular hook is dead teen Madison, who, with the help of a magic amulet, affects the illusion of a live body, and is involved in the battle between light and dark reapers. There’s also her cute crush, and a guardian angel. A sequel is in the works!
First lines: ‘Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.‘
The Project, by Brian Falkner (343 pages) – Falkner’s last book, Brainjack, won this year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Award in the YA fiction category. So this book should be quite good! It’s about a book (the ‘most boring book in the world’) that hides a terrible secret; when it’s revealed the world may never be the same again.
First line: ‘“I reckon we would have got away with it if it wasn’t for that drunken chipmunk.”‘
Before We Say Goodbye, by Gabriella Ambrosio (144 pages) – Two cousins – Dima and Myriam – are Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Myriam is hopeful of visiting America with Dima, but Dima has no dreams of the future; she has ‘already accepted her destiny: today she will die.’
First line: ‘It was technically springtime on the day that Dima got up from her mattress after a long yet strangely brief and confused night.‘
Girl Saves Boy, by Steph Bowe (280 pages) – A romance, but not supernatural (refreshingly!). Sacha has a terminal disease, his mother has died, and his father is seeing his art teacher. He attempts to drown himself! But luckily is rescued by Jewel Valentine, and it’s all uphill from there.
First line: ‘My brother’s last word was: “Polo.”‘
The Runaway Dragon, by Kate Coombs (292 pages) – The sequel to The Runaway Princess, in which Princess Meg finds a baby dragon. Laddy, the dragon, runs away from home, so the Princess, her friends, and a group of guardsmen go on a quest to find him.
First line: ‘At first Meg visited Laddy a lot, riding her horse from the castle through the Witch’s Wood to Hookhorn Farm, where her friend Cam’s sister lived.‘
Token of Darkness, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (197 pages) – Gorgeous football hero, Cooper, has a car accident, and when he awakens he starts seeing a ghost. Samantha (the ghost) is attractive but is, you know, a ghost, so their relationship is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. Delilah, a clairvoyant cheerleader, and telepathic Brent realise that Cooper’s in trouble. Awoooh.
First line: ‘The darkness was a alive, and it was hungry.‘
There is also a new book about Glee, called 100% Gleek : The Unofficial Guide to Glee!, and a comic version of Anthony Horowitz’s Raven’s Gate called, well, The Power of Five. Book One, Raven’s Gate : The Graphic Novel.
Hi! Here are some new books.
Bait, by Alex Sanchez (239 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Diego is in trouble with the law, and has a deeply troubled past. His probabation officer, Mr. Vidas, is able to bust through Diego’s shell and help him out and ‘navigate his rocky passage to maturity.’
First line: ‘“This is Mr. Vodas,” explained Diego’s court-appointed attorney as they headed into juvenile court.‘
Wolf Squadron : Special Operations, by Craig Simpson (318 pages) – Secret agents Finn, Loki, and Freya must head into enemy territory to rescue downed aircrew, Wolf Squadron, and a British double agent. Finn & Co. have escaped from Nazi-occupied Norway and now work for Special Operations, a secret agency led by old Winston Churchill himself.
First line: ‘“Stop it! Leave hinm be, you two. Can’t you see you’re frightening him?” Freya reached out and grasped my arm.‘
Wayfarer, by R. J. Anderson (296 pages) – Linden is a teenaged faerie whose people – the Faeries of the Oak – are endangered. She has the last of her people’s magic, and with human Timothy, must save the humans and the faeries from a potent and ancient eeeeevil.
First lines: ‘The Queen is dying. The knowledge sat in Linden’s belly like a cold stone as she hunched over the tub of greasy water, scrubbing her thirty-ninth plate.‘
Other, by Karen Kincy (326 pages) – Gwen is an ‘Other’, in that she belongs to the barely-tolerated group of vampires, centaurs, and other mythical creatures. In her small town, however, Others are not tolerated at all, and when they start turning up dead she – and a sexy guy/Japanese fox spirit – must find the killer.
First lines: ‘I can’t last much longer. It’s been on week, three days, and I forget how many hours.‘
Leftovers, by Heather Waldorf (198 pages) – When Sarah’s abusive father choked to death on a piece of steak, it was the best day of her life. Shortly afterwards, after a brush with the law, she ends up doing community service at a camp for shelter dogs. There she meets Judy (a dog) and Sullivan (a human).
First lines: ‘Ah, summer. Lazy mornings in bed, flipping through back issues of People and munching on chocolate chip waffles.‘
Marrying Ameera, by Rosanne Hawke (292 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Ameera Hassan is falling for her best friend’s brother, Tariq. Her traditionalist father learns of this and send her to Pakistan, to get married to some guy she’s not met. Desperate to leave, she makes a bid for freedom.
First line: ‘“Ameera!” I head my name and then the single toot; Riaz was in his car already.‘
Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley (264 pages) – Lucy is desperate to find the graffiti artist, Shadow, whose secretive nature means no one know who he is (a la Banksy). Some guy named Ed, who Lucy doesn’t want to see, says that he knows where to find him, and he takes her on ‘an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.‘
First lines: ‘I pedal fast. Down Rose Drive where houses swim in pools of orange streetlight.‘
Split, by Stefan Petrucha (257 pages) – After his mother’s death, Wade can not decide whether to become a musician or a scholar. So he splits his mind into two and becomes both. But soon these two worlds begin to collide, and Wade will need to ’save himself’.
First line: ‘I’m staring at Mom’s face, a face I’ve seen at least as often as the sun or the moon, only something’s gone from it now.‘
Witch Breed, by Alan Gibbons (311 pages) – Book four in the aptly titled Hell’s Underground series, about the demonic entity under London. In this volume, Paul travels to the 1700s when it was an especially rough time for women accused of witchcraft.
First lines: ‘‘Tell me you will never forget me.’ The quill pen falters on the page.‘
Moment of Truth : The Laws of Magic Book 5, by Michael Pryor (442 pages) – I will quote a comment from Gill when we wrote about the fourth book in this series: ‘Laws of Magic is a wild steampunk fantasy adventure with nice touches of humour and even romance. It’s a world like ours just before WW1 but with magic. Lots of spying and plots and assassinations and misunderstandings. The main characters, Aubrey Fitzwilliam, is the son of the prime minister and he’s also sort of dead thanks to a magical experiment gone wrong. He’s involved with his friends in adventures. Great books!’
First lines: ‘Aubrey Fitzwilliam was on a mission. Determined, unwavering, purposeful, he would not be diverted from his goal, especially since spring was in the air.‘
Operation Ocean Emerald : A Luke Baron Adventure, by Ilkka Remes (307 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Luke Baron sneaks aboard the luxurious cruise ship, The Ocean Emerald, and encounters a criminal gang who have captured the ship. Only he can escape and save everyone. The cover (ominously!) features an exploding cruise liner!
First line: ‘Luke was looking at the computer games and didn’t notice a thing when Toni slipped the DVD into his shoulder bag.‘
And this week’s magazines:
Transworld Skateboarding October 2010 – Skateboarding | skateboarding | skateboarding! | skateboarding? | shoes
Dolly October 2010 – What to do when your friends ditch you | Bonus! Quiz book inside | Denim again, but with polka dots?!
Entertainment Weekly #1122 – Modern Family | Reviews, and more
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.‘
Yes. There are lots of new books! Read them all, that’s my challenge.
Legacies : A Shadow Grail Novel, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (320 pages) – This is the first book in the Shadow Grail series, about a teen girl named Spirit White, whose family die and she’s shipped off to Oakhurst Academy. Everyone there is some sort of magic user! Students start disappearing, and a mystery has got to be solved.
First lines: ‘Someone was moaning. Spirit wished whoever it was would be quiet.‘
Dark Life, by Kat Falls (297 pages) – The oceans have risen, and people either live on the tiny pieces of land or deep under the ocean. The ocean is a rough, dangerous place to live! Ty and Gemma find themselves venturing into this underwater frontier (for noble reasons!) and discover some dark secrets.
First lines: ‘I peered into the deep-sea canyon, hoping to spot qa toppled skyscraper. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty.‘
Juggling Fire, Joanne Bell (171 pages) – Rachel grew up in the mountains in Yukon, but she has to move to the city. Then her father disappears, and Rachel – wanting to know why – hikes back through the mountains, where she must confront danger (bears!) and the past.
First line: ‘Mom doesn’t cry when I heave the packs from the pickup; she only blinks hard, squeezes my shoulders and whirls around, like she has to get away from me fast.‘
Crawlers, by Same Enthoven (261 pages) – Nine kids go to the theatre to see a play and in one evening of sheer horror they encounter some sinister and disgusting mind-controlling hairless, blubbery spidery-octopus things. I will never eat takoyaki again!
First line: ‘In the dark pit that had been my prison for almost three hundred and fifty years, Steadman’s latest victim was regaining consciousness.‘
Indigo Blues, by Danielle Joseph (231 pages) – Adam is an indie music sensation, and Indigo is the girl who dumped him. He subsequently wrote a song about her, and now she is almost as famous as he is. She’s not too pleased! And he’s still calling her, and she’s like, no way.
First line: ‘When I found out that “Indigo Blues” hit number one on the Billboard charts this morning, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.‘
The Alchemist and the Angel, by Joanne Owen (224 pages) – It is the 16th century, and Jan, an alchemist’s apprentice, is searching for the elixir of life. He travels to Prague, a city rich with alchemy and corruption, and while there he meets a mysterious girl (the ‘Angel of the Ghetto’). This book is beautifully illustrated!
First line: ‘Emperor Rudolf II – Ruler of the World, Aficionado of Alchemy, Collector of Curiosities – shifted in his throne.’
My Rocky Romance Diary by Kelly Ann, (really) by Liz Rettig (313 pages) – The saga of Kelly Ann’s romantic life continues in this, the fourth of her diaries.
First line: ‘First day of term and Mum woke me up at eight but I’d two free periods first thing so I mumbled ‘Leavemealoneandgoaway’.
Reality Check, by Jen Calonita (277 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When a television executive signs Long Island sixteen-year-old Charlie and her three best friends to be the stars of a new reality television show, their lives are suddenly not the same.’
First line: ‘It’s only 3:47 PM. How can that be? It feels like I’ve been here for hours, not just forty-seven minutes.’
The Fire Opal, by Regina McBride (293 pages) – ‘While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own.’ Thanks, Catalogue!
First line: ‘When I was seven years old, my mother and I spent a July afternoon on the foreshore collecting kelp, which we planned to dry and burn for summer fires.‘
Notes From The Dog, by Gary Paulsen (133 pages) – Okay, this is from the Catalogue again: ‘When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.’
First line: ‘Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.’
So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), by Micol Ostow (Art by David Ostow) (246 pages) – Ari Abramson’s band, made up of four teens from a wealthy Jewish school, suddenly become popular overnight. They now must navigate the ‘minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism.’ Comedy!
First line: ‘There are many things that Jonas Fein does well.‘
Freak Magnet, by Andrew Auseon (297 pages) – Gloria is a ‘freak magnet’, and in fact keeps a record of all the weirdos who talk to her. Charlie is a freak, so it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in her Freak Folio. However! They’re both burdened by grief and loss*, and so form a connection.
First line: ‘When the world’s most beautiful woman walks into the room, it’s hard to keep from throwing up.‘
Runaway Storm, by D. E. Knobbe (223 pages) – This is the first in a series (there’s an excerpt of the next book included). Nate has stolen a kayak and has run (paddled?) away from home to some remote Canadian island. He encounters smugglers, real runaways, and a massive, deadly storm.
First lines: ‘Nate slouched out of the elevator and crossed the lobby of the apartment building. The apartment, this building, New York – they had never felt like home.‘
Beyond Evie, by Rebecca Burton (200 pages) – Charlotte’s life is pretty swell, apart from having lost her father and later falling in love (obsessively!) with Evie, who breaks her heart. ‘Perceptive,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘psychologically intense’ (yet ‘optimistic’ also!).
First lines: ‘You, Evie, told me I was beautiful. I thought you meant you liked me, but I was wrong.‘
Two Good Thieves, by Daniel Finn (386 pages) – In the Third World slums in a city somewhere in South America, Demi and Baz fight for a better life in a ‘city of thieves’ in this fast-pace, gritty thriller. (It’s also published as She Thief, which we have as a new book this week.)
First lines: ‘The city’s burning. The city is always burning.‘
Tripwire, by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter (238 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Felix Smith is a soldier, a spy, and a covert bomb disposal expert. He works for ATLAS, who use teenagers for military operations (the enemy don’t expect teenagers!).
First line: ‘Got you. The sight of the bomb hit Felix like a punch in the guts.‘
Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, by Eric Luper (293 pages) – Seth’s girlfriend dumps him and his father is spotted out on a date with a woman who is not Seth’s mother. So Seth begins an anonymous podcast about the mysteries of love. Soon his life is picking up – he holds a job, makes new friends, and tracks down his father’s mystery date.
First lines: ‘“Come on Seth. Say something.” Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining – like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.‘
Rush, by Jonathan Friesen (295 pages) – Jake loves taking risks, just to feel the rush. He’s offered a job with a group of firefighters who rappel into wildfires. Very risky! His friend and secret crush, Salome, gets caught up in taking risks also, and the consequences are devastating.
First lines: ‘“Pure insanity.” I whisper at the sky as sheets of rain sting my face.‘
Sea : A Novel, by Heidi R. Kling (327 pages) – A romance set in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. Sienna Jones travels with her father to Asia to help with an internation relief team, and she meets the ‘most handsome boy she’s ever seen,’ Deni. He though his father died in the disaster but he learns that mightn’t be the case; together, they make the heartbreaking journey to the epicentre of the tsunami’s destruction.
First line: ‘I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.‘
The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti (321 pages) – Scarlet spends all her time worrying about others, and trying to help them and fix their lives. Often when it means ignoring her own needs! But then she falls in love with her newly pregnant sister’s husband, and finds herself at the centre of a drama (and then some!) for the first time.
First line: ‘You could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of the truck.‘
Smiling Jack, by Ken Catran (271 pages) – Robert’s well-respected father and uncle are killed in a road accident. He finds a defaced playing-card Jack at the accident site. Soon more people are dying, and the same card is found near each death. A murder mystery with a startling and unexpected twist!
First line: ‘Smiling Jack came into my life about ten-thirty, one November night.‘
Lies : A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (447 pages) – This is the follow up to Gone and Hunger, about a world where all adults disappear and the remaining kids get all Lord of the Flies/Mad Max on one another. They also have powers! There are mutants, and dark supernatural forces.
First line: ‘Obscene graffiti. Smashed windows. Human Crew tags, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.‘
Daniel X : Demons and Druids, by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (243 pages) – Alien hunter Daniel X travels to England with his friends to find Beta, an outlaw that takes the form of fire and who killed Daniels parents when he was a wee toddler. Daniel can create anything, has superspeed, can shapechange, and has superstrength! He travels through time as well, and meet Merlin.
First lines: ‘I bet I can see London from here, I was thinking. I was literally 150 feet in the air above a grassy field, outside a charming little village called Whaddon.‘
Classy : Be a Lady, Not a Tramp, by Derek Blasburg (230 pages) – This is a manual for older teen girls who want to be a classy; how to dress, etiquette to adopt, even what to read and watch. A modern Miss Manners!
Here are the latest magazines:
Entertainment Weekly #1115 – Always good for a twenty-minute read, for it is Quite Interesting.
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #58 – Mafia II | Mortal Kombat | Loads of other games | Wouldn’t it be cool if we had games?
Seventeen September 2010 – Beauty Master Class | Secrets to the Best Date Ever! | 823 (!) Fashion and Beauty Ideas
Girlfriend September 2010 – perfumes | prints | Perry | Patterson | pin-ups
We Hear The Dead, by Dianne K. Salerni (422 pages) – The Fox sisters – Maggie and Kate – became famous in the 19th century for their ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Of course, they were really faking it! But as their fame increased, the burden of lies becomes a, well, burden. A true story!
First lines: ‘My earliest memories always include Kate. With three years between us, there must have been a time when she was a toddling child in infant’s clothes and I an independent youngster, but I do not remember this.’
Restoring Harmony, by Joelle Anthony (307 pages) – It is 2041; oil, food, and law and order are all in short supply. Sixteen-year-old Molly must leave the safety of her remote farm in Canada and travel through the U.S., which has fallen into chaos. Also, there is romance.
First line: ‘When the plane’s engine took on a whining roar, my grip tightened on my fiddle case.‘
Tell Us We’re Home, by Marina Budhos (297 pages) – Three best friends – Jaya, Maria, and Lola – are all daughters of maids and nannies. They go to the same school as their mothers’ employers’ kids, and when Jaya’s mother is accused of stealing, things turn nasty.
First line: ‘Meadowbrook, New Jersey, looks like it’s right out of an old-time postcard.‘
Whisper, by Phoebe Kitanidis (281 pages) – Joy and her sister, Jessica, can hear ‘Whispers’, or the thoughts of other people. Joy uses her ability to make people happy, whereas Jessica uses her power to make others miserable. Joy hears Jessica thinking about ending it all and - being the nice sister! - she sets out to save her from herself. Also, there might be romance.
First lines: ‘My sister showed me how to Hear a Whisper when I was three. “All you have to do,” she said, “is touch somebody else, and if you don’t Hear one right away, just hold on.“‘
The Water Seeker, by Kimberly Willis Holt (309 pages) – Amos, born in 1833, is the son of a trapper and dowser (someone who tries to locate water with sticks). His mother dies in childbirth, which is only the beginning of a hard life ‘filled with losses, adversity, and adventure’. And finding water!
First lines: ‘Jake Kincaid was known as the dowser. With a forked branch, he’d made his way from the Arkansas Territory to Missouri, stopping at farms to find water for new well.‘
Oracle : Ancient Greece, An Acrobat Brother and a Sister with the Gift of Truth, by Jackie French (342 pages) – Thetis can only tell the truth, and after she and her brother, Nikko, awe the Mycenaean court, Thetis puts a damper on things when she tells the King something about his future he doesn’t want to hear. She’s sent to Delphi, and Nikko and the horse dance, Euridice, travel across Greece to find her.
First line: ‘The wind smelled of rock and ice the night their father took Nikko’s sister out to die.‘
Somebody Everybody Listens To : A Novel, by Suzanne Supplee (245 pages) – Retta Lee Jones leaves high school dreaming of becoming a country music star. She has the name for it, I guess! She goes to Nashville, and begins to ‘forge her own path’.
First line: ‘Even on graduation day, the Starling High School gymnasium smelled just like it always did – a combination of old sweat and dust masked somewhat by cherry-scented disenfectant and floor polish.’
Zen and Xander Undone, by Amy Kathleen Ryan (212 pages) – Zen and Xander are sisters; Zen is a karate blackbelt, and Xander is a scientific genius, who is going off the tracks a bit and Zen can only protect her for so long. Their mother died a year ago! And they go on a road trip to try to solve a mystery.
First lines: ‘My sister, Xander, causes a scandel practically everywhere she goes. Even funeral receptions, I now know.‘
Fen Runners, by John Gordon (136 pages) – A long time ago, when Jenny’s grandfather was a boy, he fell through the ice and into the icey black water of the fens. He returned without a skate and with nightmares of something down there. Now Jenny too feels haunted, and when her friend Kit feels a presence there they decide to unravel the (frankly quite spooky!) mystery.
First line: ‘They stood with their toes curled over the edge of the bridge and looked briefly into the distance.‘
Crown of Acorns, by Catherine Fisher (281 pages) – No synopsis seems to be available, so here’s what the back cover says: ‘Who can escape their past, in a place where it curves and comes up behind you? The Circle is the oldest magic. Three lives exho in a ring of stone …’
First lines: ‘Stop now. To go further is dangerous. The circle is the oldest magic. If you enter it it will enfold you.‘
Fifteen Candles : an Amigas novel, by Veronica Chambers (187 pages) – This is the first in a new series written by Veronica Chambers, created by Jane Startz, and inspired by Jennifer Lopez. It is set in Miami and is ‘a warm celebration of Latin culture, especially the traditional quinceañera,’ (a kind of big coming-of-age party for girls).
First line: ‘Alicia Cruz has the good fortune of being born into wealth, but not spoiled by it.‘
Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater (362 pages) – The much-awaited follow-up to Shiver; ‘As Grace hides the vast depth of her love for Sam from her parents and Sam struggles to release his werewolf past and claim a human future, a new wolf named Cole wins Isabel’s heart but his own past threatens to destroy the whole pack.’
First line: ‘This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.‘
Here are the New Magazines for the week fortnight month! This is the best new books post ever!
Entertainment Weekly #1112 – Ryan Reynolds is as GREEN LANTERN | Tron! | Thor! | New Buffy?!
Transworld Skateboarding August 2010 – Cab backtail bigspin | Frontside feeble | Fakie hardflip! | Cab to backside lipslide! | Backside tailslide frontside shove-it out!
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #56 – Gears of War 3 | The Force Unleashed 2 | a whole lot of other games reviewed/previewed
Playstation August 2010 – Grand Turismo 5 | 18 page E3 coverage | games reviewed/previewed
Girlfriend August 2010 – ‘The pretty myth’ | Can you spot a bully? | ‘What his gaming style says about him’
Creme September 2010 – 10 ways to boots your self-confidence and happiness | What does your hair say about you?
Seventeen August 2010 – Fitness insert, ‘Get your best body’ | Ultimate jeans guide | Dude drama
Compromised, by Heidi Ayarbe (452 pages) – After Maya’s con-man father goes to prison, and she finds no joy in foster homes, she decides to try to find a long-lost aunt. It’s a long, dangerous journey (400 miles!) and the aunt mightn’t even exist.
First line: ‘First they take our flat screen.’
My Boyfriend’s Dogs : The Tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley, by Dandi Daley Mackall (265 pages) – High-school senior Bailey Daley turns up at a diner soaking wet and leading three wet dogs. The diner’s owner invites her in and listens to her story of searching for the perfect boyfriend (and obtaining three dogs).
First line: ‘“My mother says that falling in love and getting dumped is good for you because it prepares you for the real thing, like it gets you ready for true love and all, but I’m thinking it’s more like climbing up the St. Louis Arch and falling off twice.“
Paper Daughter, by Jeanette Ingold (215 pages) – Maggie Chen’s journalist dad is killed in a hit-and-run accident, and her research (for she is a journalist also) soon uncovers illegal activity that may be connected to him. She is determined to uncover the truth, and discovers more about her family’s past than she expected.
First line: ‘“Your, Maggie.” Mom pushed an envelope from the Herald down the counter where I was putting out bread for sandwiches.‘
Sweet 15, by Emily Adler and Alex Echevarria (240 pages) – Destiny Lozada is turning 15, and so a traditional quinceañera (a religious ceremony with party, tiaras and ballgowns) is planned by her parents. Her older sister thinks it’s an outdated and misogynistic ritual. So! Destiny doesn’t want to take sides and, in fact! would rather be skateboarding and watching TV.
First line: ‘Here’s how it went down, the beginning of The End. Breakfast: out of the blue, my mom, in a red bathrobe, with her makeup already on, making coffee in our big yellow kitchen, hit me over the head with “Destiny is having a quinceañera!”‘
Home Beyond the Mountains : A Novel, by Celia Barker Lottridge (224 pages) – It is 1918, and the Turkish army is eradicating the Assyrian and Armenian peoples in the eastern parts of the Ottoman empire. Nine-year-old Samira and her surviving family members are forced from camp to camp for many years before the opportunity to return home presents itself. Based on a true story.
First line: ‘A sound, a very quite sound, woke Samira.‘
Little Miss Red, by Robin Palmer (254 pages) – A summary prepared earlier: ‘Sixteen-year-old Sophie’s dream of meeting her soul mate during spring break in Florida seems to have come true, but she must determine if Jack is really the romantic hero he seems to be, or if ex-boyfriend Michael could be.’
First line: ‘I’m very big on signs. So when the captain announced that our flight to Florida would be delayed because of some last-minute passengers, I took that as yet another sign that this trip was going to be a disaster.‘
For Keeps, by Natasha Friend (267 pages) – Josie lives with her mum, and her father has never been part of the family. Until suddenly he turns up! And Josie also may have found her first, real boyfriend. ‘A fresh, funny, smart story.’
First line: ‘It’s the last Friday night in August, and instead of dancing on a table at Melanie Jaffin’s party with the rest of the soon-to-be junior class, I am crouched behind a tower of Meow Mix in the pet-food aisle of Shop-Co, watching my mother hyperventilate.‘
The Hunchback Assignments, by Arthur Slade (278 pages) – Modo is rescued from a freakshow by the mysterious Mr Socrates as a wee baby. He is subsequently trained as a first-class secret agent for the Permanent Association, who are pitted against the evil Clockwork Guild. Steampunk in a Victorian setting! Based on a true story (just kidding).
First line: ‘Six hunting hounds had perished in previous experiments.‘
Only the Good Spy Young, by Ally Carter (265 pages) – This is the fourth Gallagher Girls book. Gallagher Girls are spies-in-training! Cammie ‘The Chameleon’ is being hunted by an ancient terrorist organisation, and might not be able to trust even her classmates! Ever the way, I suppose.
First line: ‘“Target’s acquired, ten o’clock.” My best friend’s voice was as cool as the wind as it blew off the Thames.‘
The Demon’s Covenant, by Sarah Rees Brennan (442 pages) – This is the sequel to The Demon’s Lexicon, about a world of magicians and demons (obvs).
First line: ‘“Any minute now,” Rachel said, “something terrible is going to happen to us.”‘
Happy as Larry, by Scot Gardner (291 pages) – ‘An extraordinary tale of an ordinary family’, says the cover. ‘Laurence Augustine Rainbow is born into an ordinary family, and seems set for an ordinary life. But as the world around him changes, so does the happiness of his own family,’ says the catalogue, which points out that it is also ’unique, dark and ultimately uplifting.’ We can trust the catalogue, I feel.
First line: ‘Laurence Augustine Rainbow was born in July 1990.‘
The Mission, Jason Myers (361 pages) – When Kaden’s older brother is killed in Iraq, he follows his late brother’s advice and heads to San Francisco to visit his cousin. His previously sheltered life hasn’t prepared him for what he encounters there, and family secrets further rock his world.
First line: ‘The car creeps to the end of the driveway and turns onto the gravel road, the tires kicking up a small cloud of dust that whips into a spiral in the dead air before disappearing just as quickly as it came.’
Sugar Sugar, by Carole Wilkinson (337 pages) – Jackie leaves Australia and heads to Paris, dreaming of becoming a world-famous fashion designer. Somehow she ends up in Afghanistan! With New Zealanders!
First line: ‘I was dreaming of the sea when the moonlight woke me.‘
The Resurrection Fields : Book Three of The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus, by Brian Kearney (158 pages) – The final installment of this ‘concoction of science fiction, horror, and fantasy’ – ‘Although beset by otherworldly perils, Dante and his best friend Bea continue to be dedicated to the overthrow of Sigmundus and the dark powers that have latched on to his methods of authoritarian mind-control.’ Not based on a true story, but it would be cool if it was.
First line: ‘The storm that had raged over the south of Gehenna had finally blown itself out.‘
The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa (363 pages) – Meghan Chase, the back cover says, has a secret destiny. She is about to learn why she’s never really fit in, and why there’s a stranger watching her… and find love in the process.
First sentence: Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.
The Keening, A LaFaye (163 pages) – Set in 1918 which, Twilight fans might know, is when an influenza pandemic roared across the United States. Lyza feels like she’s the talentless member of an artistic family, but when her mother dies and she (Lyza) must help her father find his feet, uncovering her own gifts in the process.
First sentence: As a child who waded in the head-high grass of our cliffside home, I’d harbored a peculiar fondness for funeral marches – the sight of all those people in one long line, each face holding a memory.
The Complete History of Why I Hate Her, Jennifer Richard Jacobson (181 pages) – “Wanting a break from being known only for her sister’s cancer, seventeen-year-old Nola leaves Boston for a waitressing job at a summer resort in Maine, but soon feels as if her new best friend is taking over her life,” says the catalogue.
First sentence: Song is hanging on my arm, afraid I’m going to slip onto the bus and out of her life as quickly as I made the decision to go.
Toads and Diamonds, Heather Tomlinson (276 pages) – a fairytale set in India (in fact a retelling “of the Perrault fairy tale set in pre-colonial India” to be precise (the catalogue comes to the rescue yet again!)). Diribani and Tana both receive something from a goddess, one a blessing and the other a curse, at least this is how it first appears, but “blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem” (book cover).
First sentence: Diribani ran toward the stepwell.
Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, Mark Salisbury – to the movie, that is. Full of interesting photos and other graphics, and info about how this visual symphony was made.
Not too many this week. Sorry, bibliophiles!
Monsters of Men : Chaos Walking Book 3, by Patrick Ness (602 pages! Massive) – This is the third and final volume in the Chaos Walking trilogy, which are all always out and have a hefty reserve queue. It’s won awards! This is a ‘heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.’ Awesome.
First line: ‘“War,” says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting. “At last.”‘
When Courage Came to Call, by L. M. Fuge (326 pages) – This was started by the author when she was 10, and finished when she was 14. It’s set in the fictional city of Zamascus, just as it is invaded by the nasty Inigo, and Imm and his brother must do whatever they can to survive.
First line: ‘I was in the teaching house when the first bomb hit.‘
Slice : Juicy Moments from my Impossible Life, by Steven Herrick (222 pages) – ‘Darcy can cope with parents, parties, punch-ups, his infatuation with the beautiful Audrey, even the misadventures of kayaking on a school excursion. If only he’d learn to keep his mouth closed.’ (Pulled from the back blurb.)
First lines: ‘My name is Darcy Franz Pele Walker. Ignore the middle names. I do.‘
Possessing Jessie, by Nancy Springer (88 pages) – Jessie’s popular brother died a week ago, and when she starts imitating the way he cut his hair, wearing his clothes, and even copying the way he walked, her mother seems to brighten and she (Jessie, not the mother!) becomes the centre of attention at school. But soon this ‘weird obsession’ take over! A remarkably complex story for a book of only 88 pages.
First line: ‘Jessie put on her brother’s True Athlete T-shirt.‘
Jack Flint and the Dark Ways, by Joe Donnelly (276 pages) – This is the third Jack Flint book. Sorcerers, gargoyles, nightshades, giant spiders, and all kinds of evil badness get in Jack’s path as he continues his search for his old man.
First line: ‘Jack Flint had never felt so completely alone in his life.‘
Darke Academy : Blood Ties, by Gabriella Poole (288 pages) – This, the second Darke Academy book, has vampires, fairies, and (obviously!) supernatural content, according to the subject headings in the catalogue.
First lines: ‘“Hey kiddo. Are we keeping you up?” The voice sounded familiar, but somehow muffled and distant.‘
Montacute House, by Lucy Jago (278 pages) – A boy is found dead, and Cess’s friend disappears; are they connected? Cess thinks so, and attempts to solve the mystery, becoming involved in a ‘terrible intrigue’. Set in 1596, and there may be witches.
First lines: ‘“Ugh, droppings between my toes.’ Cess kicked off her clogs anyway, because they were rubbing.‘
Checkered Flag Cheater, by Will Weaver (198 pages) – Trace Bonham (not Tracy Bonham! Let’s be clear) is the teen driver for a professional Super Stock racing team. He always wins on the track and off the track, but does he deserve it? Let the title offer a clue.
First line: ‘Trace Bonham poked the Seek button.‘
Breathless, by Jessica Warman (311 pages) – Katie Kitrell is a swimming prodigy, and at her new school she tries to become popular as well as a swimming star, all the while she’s trying to cope with the recent death of her older, institutionalised brother.
First line: ‘There’s a man feeding the koi in our fishpond because my parents don’t want to do it themselves.‘
Harmonic Feedback, by Tara Kelly (280 pages) – Drea has ‘a touch of Asperger’s’, and is obsessed with music. When she moves to a new town AGAIN she – at long last! – makes some friends, and even finds love maybe.
First lines: ‘One in thirty-eight. Bet on a single number in roulette, and those are the odds of winning.‘
Boys That Bite : A Blood Coven Vampire Novel, by Mari Mancusi (262 pages) – Looks like we’ve got a new (and ‘refreshingly different’) vampire series. Sunny is dragged to something called Club Fang by her sister, Rayne, and finds out that the members are not just playing dress-up – she gets bitten and has a week to undo it.
First line: ‘You know, being bitten by a vampire one week before prom really sucks.‘
90 Packets of Instant Noodle, by Deb Fitzpatrick (307 pages) – Joel and his chum Craggs drink, steal, and generally cause havoc together. SO Joel’s dad, with the police, send them off to a remote bush shack for 90 days. Where, presumably! all they have to eat are noodles.
First line: ‘It was Dad who finally snapped over what had been going on.‘
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman (296 pages) – Jacob Fielding is given the rather enviable power of indestructability, and begins to use his new power for good. BUT there’s a curse to the ability, and he has thirteen days to sort it out.
First line: ‘Jacob Fielding stood in a small room and stared at a body.‘
The Prince of Mist, by Carlos Ruis Zafon (202 pages) – A ‘haunting story of magic, mystery and adventure’, about a boy who moves to a house overlooking the sea and the mysterious (and terrifying!) Prince of the Mist. And a weird, staring cat.
First line: ‘Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic.‘
Every Little Thing in the World, by Nina de Gramont (282 pages) – Sydney is sixteen, and going off the rails. So her parents send her to one of those ‘hard-love’ wilderness camps in the Canadian wilds for four weeks of Bear Grylls-lite survivalism. But! She is pregnant. Whatever will she do?
First line: ‘Natalia and I stole her mother’s new blue Cadillac and drove out to Overpeck to find Tommy.‘
The Cardturner : A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker, by Louis Sachar (336 pages) – Alton’s rich, old and blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him. Which is a good plan when there’s an inheritance to think about! Alton soon learns a lot about his family history and himself as one mystery after another are discovered.
First line: ‘Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had it drilled into me that my uncle Lester was my favourite uncle.‘
With a Sword in My Hand, by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Pat van Beirs (266 pages) – An ‘enthralling medieval adventure’ about Marguerite, who refuses to conform to type, and learns how to use a sword, ride horses, and outwit the boys. The Court of Flanders has other ideas! This has won loads of awards, and is based on the real Marguerite van Male.
First line: ‘The knights of Flanders and Brabant will swear allegiance to the infant in its cradle.‘
The Beastly Bride : Tales of the Animal People, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (500 pages) – This is a large collection of original stories and poems about shapechangers – werewolves, vampires, and so on – with illustrations by Charles Vess.
I Love You Zelda Bloo, by Gretel Killeen (183 pages) – Zelda Blookwell is the daughter of famous parents. She gets kidnapped when she goes with her mother to interview child soldiers, and while trying to survive she meets – and falls in love with! - Saro.
First line: ‘Help me. Can you help me? Please!‘
Palace Beautiful, by Sarah DeFord Williams (232 pages) – Sadie and best friend Bella find a secret room in the attic of their house, and there they discover a diary written one Helen during the 1918 ‘flu epidemic (which killed 50 million people worldwide!). As the girls try to find out what happened to Helen, Sadie’s ‘worries about her own family come closer to reality.’
First line: ‘My sister Zuzu says no one can remember the day they born, but I do.‘
Dancing in the Dark, by Robyn Bavati (290 pages) – Ditty’s very religious parents forbid her to take ballet lessons. So she starts ballet in secret! Of course the will come a point when the two world clash.
First line: ‘I’m lying on my bed, staring at the peeling paper on the wall in my room.‘
Henrietta Hornbuckle’s Circus of Life, by Michael de Guzman (152 pages) – Twelve-year-old Henrietta is a clown, as are her parents. In fact! Everyone she knows is a clown, because she is with a small travelling circus. She (and the other clowns) are on their way to New York City for a ‘climactic performance’, but first life throws a pie right in her kisser.
First line: ‘She stood at the stern of the ferry as it pulled away from the Connecticut shore.‘
The Alpha Bet, by Stephanie Hale (233 pages) – The admirably-named Grace Kelly Cook is only sixteen when she graduates from high school, and decides to join the Alpha Sorority at college. She lies a little bit on her application! So now she’s fearful of being discovered. And also she has to do something called the ‘Alpha Bet’, a super-secret series of tasks.
First line: ‘“It’s a dorm, Mom, not the Playboy Mansion,” I whisper in her ear, hoping she’ll stop throwing her evil eye looks around at all the kids in my new dorm.‘
Beautiful Monster, by Kate McCaffrey (231 pages) – All this typing! I will just C&P this book’s synopsis. “Tessa’s brother is dead, and her Mum is so deeply enmeshed in grief she might as well be too. Tessa is left with no-one to turn to but Ned. He’s been her staunchest ally, privy to her deepest secrets. But even Ned has a dark side. He knows all her weak spots and will exploit every one to keep her by his side.”
First lines: ‘The school bus hisses to a stop. Tessa Edwards looks up from her maths book as Camilla lifts her bag onto her shoulder.‘
Choppy Socky Blues, by Ed Briant (259 pages) – Jason’s father is a movie stuntman and a karate blackbelt. He’s also a liar who left his family, according to Jason, who vows to never do karate as a consequence. But then Jason meets Tinga, who is gorgeous and is going for her blue belt – Jason (rashly!) says he is too, and the only one who can help him is his dad.
First line: ‘My name is Jason Smallfield, I’m fourteen, and my father is an Imperial storm trooper.‘
Raven Speak, by Diane Lee Wilson (254 pages) – Asa and her horse Rune make a run for it when her clan’s wise man – who is hungry for power (and horsemeat) while Asa’s Viking chief father is away – demands Rune be sacrificed. Asa finds shelter with an old, one-eyed woman with a pair of ravens. The old woman also demands a sacrifice …
First line: ‘In the pale light of a wintry morning seven men saddled their ship across bucking white waves.‘
Split, by Swati Avasthi (282 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Jace is thrown out of his home by his abusive father, and goes to live with his older brother, who long ago left to escape the abuse.
First line: ‘Now I have to start lying. While I stare through the windshield at the building my brother lives in, I try to think up a good lie.‘
A Wizard of Mars, by Diane Duane (549 pages) – This here book is number nine in the Young Wizards series, in which Kit and Nina ‘manage to wangle their way onto an elite team sent to investigate the mysterious, long-sought “message in a bottle” that holds the first clues to the secrets of the ancient Martian race‘
First lines: ‘The problem, Kit thought, scowling at the paper, isn’t the basic shape, so much. It’s what to do with the legs …‘
My Private Pectus, by Shane Thamm (278 pages) – ‘A story about footy, cars and a young man who discovers that revealing his greatest secret is the only way to hold on to the people he loves.‘ (I just copied that from the back cover.)
First line: ‘Dad just landed the job as assistant rugby league coach at St Philip’s College.‘