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Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them




  • Classic novels, GLBT, Great Reads, Librarian's Choice, New, Nicola, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    YA classics (part one)

    12.11.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    I tend to feature a lot of new books on this blog but perhaps it’s time to highlight some YA “classics”.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Outsiders, S.E Hinton (1967)

    This is the archetypal story of young men living on the wrong side of the tracks, as defined by an often hostile society. Told from the perspective of Ponyboy, a member of a gang of Greasers who details their rivalry with the “socs” another gang, and the disaster and violence their conflict causes. There are plot elements which would be familiar to readers today; abusive or neglectful parents, class differences, crime and the strength people draw from their friends.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI am the cheese, Robert Cormier (1977)

    I’ve never read a book quite like I am the cheese. It’s a twisting, complex tale of identity and corruption, told through the eyes of a young boy who has witnessed something truly traumatic and must deal with the consequences. To describe it any further would spoil the plot, so if you are intrigued, I suggest you pick it up. I think the only book that comes vaguely close is E. Lockhart’s We were liars, although the stakes are much, much higher in Cormier’s book.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSkellig, David Almond (1998)

    Magical realism is a common genre for YA fiction at the moment but Skellig was a pioneer in the genre. It manages to capture the soaring heights of the “magical” whilst also effectively depicting the realism; the two are beautifully balanced. The main character, Michael, is struggling to cope in a new home and with a baby sister who is dangerously ill. Then he finds a strange creature – possibly angelic, but never defined- in his shed, the titular Skellig. The two plots interweave and it’s a particular favourite of mine.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnnie on my mind, Nancy Garden (1982)

    LGBTQ fiction has come along way since 1982 but Annie on my mind was groundbreaking when it was first published. That being said, the themes of love, heartbreak and identity are still being written about. It’s worth reading anyway, if only to see how far writing on these themes have come. It’s also 48 on the ALA’s most challenged books from 1990 – 2000.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNoughts and Crossses, Malorie Blackman (2002)

    Examinations of race and racism are coming to the forefront of YA fiction; The Hate u give by Angie Thomas is probably the most recent and most well-known of these books. But before then, the Noughts and Crosses series examined race relations with a twist – in this alternate universe, noughts (people with white skin) are disadvantaged and crosses (people of colour) occupy positions of ultimate privilege. It’s also a love story, thriller, and a brilliant read. It’s also the first book in a series.


  • Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Problems, realistic fiction, Sci Fi, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    18.09.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t stop thinking about tomorrow, Siobhan Curham

    Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie… As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe 48, Donna Hosie

    Twins Charlie and Alex Douglas are the newest time travelers recruited to the Forty-Eight, a clandestine military group in charge of manipulating history. The brothers are tasked with preventing Henry VIII from marrying Jane Seymour and arrive in 1536 feeling confident, but the Tudor court is not all banquets and merriment: it is a deep well of treachery, torture, lust, intrigue, and suspicion. That makes it especially dangerous for young people who refuse to “know their place”–young women who might, say, want to marry for love instead of status, or young men who would feel free to love each other, if it weren’t forbidden. Told in alternating perspectives among Charlie, Alex, and sixteen-year-old Lady Margaret, a ladies’ maid to Queen Anne Boleyn, The 48 captures the sights, smells, sounds, and hazards of an unhinged Henry VIII’s court from the viewpoint of one person who lived that history–and two teens who have been sent to turn it upside down. (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe buried ark, James Bradley

    Callie risked everything to get her little sister Gracie to the safety of the Zone. But Matt, the boy she loves, has been killed by Quarantine and Gracie has been absorbed into the Change. Now Callie must learn to survive in the alien landscape of the Zone, a place where the Change is everywhere, and nothing is what it seems. That is, until she stumbles on a secret from her past that may hold the key to defeating the Change. Hunted and alone, she finds refuge in the most unexpected of places. Only to find she is in more danger than ever. (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe second life of Ava Rivers, Faith Gardner

    Before was hot Junes and ice cream trucks, dancing in sprinklers, loud Christmas mornings and pancakes on Saturdays. The after is everything else: police officers, investigators, tips, theories, leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera’s Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities. Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and her family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital. Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home. Ava’s return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava’s estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?
    (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsProject Prometheus : an Assassin Fall novel, Aden Polydoros

    The Academy stole everything from Hades, their perfect assassin. Angry and leaving bodies in his wake, he finds two other ex-assassins doing the exact same thing.Tyler and Shannon once killed for The Academy and its now-defunct Project Pandora. Now they’re tracking and hunting down its scientists. So why is The Academy only after Hades? Shannon wants to flee and never look back. She knows that can’t happen, though, not with The Academy hot on their trail. Shannon will do whatever it takes to protect Tyler, even if it means teaming up with a former rival. While Shannon seeks answers to her past, Tyler wants to learn the truth about the mysterious white room, which no one has ever seen, except him. As for Hades? He simply wants revenge.They all seek answers, even if it means returning to the organization where it all started. (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThat’s not what happened, Kody Keplinger

    In the three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims, Sarah McHale, that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith–but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows what happened, and she has a choice: stay silent and let people believe in Sarah’s martyrdom, or tell the truth. (Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMirage, Somaiya Daud

    In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty–and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.(Publisher summary)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAre we all lemmings and snowflakes? Holly Bourne

    Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for her new friends, who are all dealing with their own battles. But as Olive settles in, she starts to wonder – maybe it’s this messed up world that needs fixing, and not them. And so she comes up with a plan. Because together, snowflakes can form avalanches . . . A trailblazing and painfully honest novel about mental health, friendship and making this crazy world a kinder place.(Publisher summary)


  • Classic novels, dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, Nicola, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    27.07.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStorm-wake, Lucy Christopher

    Moss has lived with her pa on a remote island for as long as she remembers. The Old World has disappeared beneath the waves – only Pa’s magic, harnessing the wondrous stormflowers on the island, can save the sunken continents. But a storm is brewing, promising cataclysmic changes. Soon, two strange boys wash up on the shore. As the clouds swell and the ocean churns, Moss learns to open her eyes to the truth about her isolated world … (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The story starts with a dream, and its dreamer.
    He was younger then, rolling in the belly of his boat, on rougher waters than expected inside those harbour walls. The first day of spring, and he felt at the end of the world. And still, the storms stayed.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOne small thing, Erin Watt

    Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems like a small thing, just for her. Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is… Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get. Now Beth has a choice to make–follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart… again. (Amazon summary)

    First lines: “Hey there, pupster.” I laugh as Morgan, the Rennicks’ dog, races across the lawn and jumps up on my khaki pants.
    “Sorry, Lizzie,” she says, rushing over to pull the big black mutt off without much success. She’s small and he’s so big that they’re about the same size.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsArthur: the seeing stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland

    In late twelfth-century England, a thirteen-year-old boy named Arthur recounts how Merlin gives him a magical seeing stone which shows him images of the legendary King Arthur, the events of whose life seem to have many parallels to his own. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Tumber Hill! It’s my clamber-and-tumble-and-beech-and-bramble hill! Sometimes, when I’m standing on the top, I fill my lungs with air and I shout. I shout.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAscension, Victor Dixen

    Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.
    Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
    She has signed up for glory.
    She has signed up for love.
    She has signed up for a one-way ticket.
    Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets. (Goodreads summary)

    First lines: “Léonor, how does it feel to be leaving the Earth for ever?
    “Léonor, are you looking forward to it?”
    “Léonor, are you scared?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWereworld: nest of serpents, Curtis Jobling

    War grips the seven realms. Young Werewolf Drew Ferran, rightful king of Westland, has rushed to the aid of the besieged Staglords, whose mountain stronghold is surrounded by the forces of the Werelion Prince Lucas. And deep in the haunted Dyrewood forest the Wereladies Gretchen and Whitley seek sanctuary within the city of Brackenholme. As Lyssia’s greatest war rumbles towards a thunderous climax, the lines between friend and foe are blurred. What if the enemy is one of their own? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Did you hit him, master?”
    The Lionguard scout lowered his bow, ignoring his apprentice. He stared out across the Longridings, squinting through the twilight at the evading Greencloak.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFugitive six, Pittacus Lore

    he Human Garde Academy was created in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth. It was meant to provide a safe haven for teens across the globe who were suddenly developing incredible powers known as Legacies. Taylor Cook was one of the newest students and had no idea if she’d ever fit in. But when she was mysteriously abducted, her friends broke every rule in the book to save her. In the process, they uncovered a secret organization that was not only behind Taylor’s kidnapping but also the disappearance of numerous teens with abilities. An organization that has dark roots in the Loric’s past, untold resources, and potentially even a mole at their own school. Now these friends, who have become known to other students as the “Fugitive Six,” must work together to bring this mysterious group to an end before they can hurt anyone else. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Duanphen watched the beggar as he scurried through traffic with his bucket and rag. The boy couldn’t have been more than twelve, small, with a mop of greasy black hair. He picked his cars smartly – shiny ones with tinted with windows and drunk passengers.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAfrika, Colleen Craig

    Thirteen-year-old Kim, travels to South Africa with her journalist mother and must come to terms with the country’s diverse and often shocking history with the realization that she is not as removed from this powerful story as she thought. (Publisher information)

    First lines: “Let’s go,” said Kim as the plane came to complete stop on the runway,
    Her mom, the sort who could not stay still for a moment, sat like a statue beside her.
    “I can’t,” she said.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAdam and Eve and Pinch-Me, Julia Johnston

    “If you don’t want your heart broken, don’t let on you have one.” Sara Moone is an expert on broken hearts. She is a foster child who has been bounced from home to home, but now she is almost sixteen and can not live in the system forever. She vows that she will live in a cold, white place where nobody can hurt her again. But there is one more placement in store for Sara. She is sent to live with the Huddlestons on their sheep farm. There, despite herself, Sara learns that there is no escape from love. It has a way of catching you off guard, even when you try to turn your back. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Just shut up. I’d like to tell my brain to just shut up. Have you ever noticed how you can’t make your mind stop thinking even though you try to think about absolutely nothing?


  • Comedy, dystopia, Environment, Fantasy, Mysteries, Nicola, realistic fiction, Sci Fi, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    19.07.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEve of man, Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

    They had predicted the end of the world would be epic – a nuclear war, a plague, an asteroid. But it came with a whisper, not a bang. For over fifty years, no girls have been born – only boys. The youngest and last generation of women alive are now in their fifties. Not only are their looks fading, but these greying women are humanity’s only hope for survival. Until there is sudden hope- a girl is born. And in that moment, she instantly becomes the most important person in history. She is their saviour. Her name is Eve. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: On the first day no one really noticed. Perhaps there was a chuckle among the midwives at the sight of all of those babies wrapped in blue blankets, not a pink one in sight. They wouldn’t have known that this day of blue was only the beginning.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMercy point, Anna Snoekstra

    Emma knows that her parents are hiding a secret, and she’s sure she knows what it is: she’s adopted. Thanks to an online group of similarly minded teens, she’s gotten used to the idea. They chat all day and into the night, and Emma knows that when she meets the other members she’ll have a new family; a place where she truly belongs. When they finally meet, they are all horrified to discover the people they’ve been sharing their souls with are the people they hate. They decide to never speak again. But it’s tough to ignore each other when they’re determined to discover what their parents are hiding – something they soon find is much more sinister than just adoption. It is a secret that goes to the very heart of the town itself. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: They are all liars. He watches them from the shadows as they huddle together, arms folded against the cold. He hates them.
    “How long do you think they’ll be?” one of them asks, voice angry. “I’m not waiting here all night.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe boyfriend bracket, Kate Evangelista

    Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of–starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket. Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Big brothers suck, Stella thought as she pouted, scowled, and crossed her arms all throughout the ceremony. Not even the California sun and the scent of fresh-cut grass made a difference to her current mood. She should have been ecstatic that Cameron James Patterson, spawn of Satan sent to make her life a living hell, was graduating high school that day. Instead the seat reserved for her boyfriend of officially one week remained empty.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe life and death parade, Eliza Wass

    One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead. She sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate, but finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade– a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic– and Kitty’s late mother. When they locate the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The Start of Summer party was a fairy-lit affair in the back garden of a historic estate. They had a pony ride for the kids, a lighted shooting range for the teens, and a bar for the adults – so they covered all the bases of food, old-fashioned country living.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCopycat, Hannah Jayne

    Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, she’s thrilled when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, giving her inside information others would kill for. Addison’s always dreamed of what it would be like if the books were real…But then she finds the most popular girl in school dead. Murdered. And realizes that life imitating fiction is more dangerous that she could have imagined. As other terrifying events from the books start happening around her, Addison has to figure out how to write her own ending–and survive the story. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: There was something inordinately creepy about being at school after dark. The place was deserted – the benches and picnic tables in the quad looked ominous and foreboding under the flickering yellow lights.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourt of shadows, Madeleine Roux

    After the frightful events of last autumn, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton has settled into her role as a maid at Coldthistle House, but she has not settled into what that means for her humanity. As Louisa struggles to figure out whether she is worthy of redemption, the devilish Mr. Morningside plans a fete- one that will bring new guests to Coldthistle House. From wicked humans to Upworlders, angelic beings who look down upon Mr. Morningside’s monstrous staff, all are armed with their own brand of self-righteous justice. Even a man claiming to be Louisa’s father has a role to play, though what his true motive is, Louisa cannot tell. The conflicts will eventually come to a head on the grounds of Coldthistle House-and the stakes include Louisa’s very soul. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: They emerged from the tree like worms from the earth. More shadow than mass, they slithered out from between the cracks in the trunk before making their way to the clearing.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSummer of salt, Katrina Leno

    No one on the island of By-the-Sea would call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you need the odd bit of help, such as a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight, they are the ones to ask. Georgina Fernweh waits for the tingle of magic in her fingers– magic that has already touched her twin sister, Mary. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of her last summer on the island, Georgina fears her gift will never come. She meets and falls in love with Prue Lowry, a visitor to the island. When a three-hundred-year-old bird, Annabella is found violently murdered, suddenly the island doesn’t seem so magical. Georgina turns to the Ouija board to discover the dark secrets of Annabella’s death. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: On the island By-the-Sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic. The first was obvious. It came crashing ashore in the blue waves; it sat heavy and thick in our hair and out clothes; it stained our bedsheets and made our pillows damp. The second – the scent of magic – was harder to pin down.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNot the girls you’re looking for, Aminah Mae Safi

    Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if –especially if–you love them. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Lulu swatted her way through the unfamiliar coat closet. After tearing down several of what felt like rather expensive fur coats and a couple of potentially cashmere jackets off their hooks, she managed to hit her head against a dangling light switch chain.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsClean, Juno Dawson

    When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: Face-down on leather. New car smell. Pine fresh.
    I can’t move.
    I’m being kidnapped.
    But I can’t move.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLittle do we know, Tamara Ireland Stone

    Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken since the fight where they said things they couldn’t take back. Emory is trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Hannah is dealing with her family’s financial problems, turning to unexpected people for answers while she questions her faith. Then Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house– and a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately to light. In alternating chapters, they tell the story of their relationship with help from the boy caught somewhere in the middle. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: There were thirty-six steps between Emory’s bedroom window and mine.
    The first time we counted, we were six years old (forty-two steps). The second time, we were twelve (thirty-nine). The last time, we were fifteen.


  • Comedy, Fantasy, GLBT, New, Nicola, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    05.07.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOnyx and Ivory, Mindee Arnett

    They call her Traitor Kate. Cast out of the nobility after her father’s attempt to assassinate the high king of Rime, Kate now works for the royal courier service. At night the drakes– flightless dragons– come out to hunt. But Kate was born with a forbidden magic, one that allows her to influence the minds of animals. Her job brings her to the scene of a drake massacre– and to Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. With their paths entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat– and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Out here, darkness meant death.
    Kate Brighton urged her weary horse ever faster as night crept over the land of Rime. The gelding labored with the pace already, his pants like whipcracks in the air, and his shoulders and neck lathered with foamy white stripes. But they couldn’t stop, and couldn’t slow down.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow we roll, Natasha Friend

    When the McAvoy family moves to Gull’s Head, Massachusetts, it’s for 14-year-old Quinn’s autistic younger brother’s education. Quinn, however, is eager to start anew after an alopecia areata totalis diagnosis left her bald as a cue ball and the butt of her classmates’ cruel jokes. No one in Gull’s Head knows she’s wearing a wig, so once freshman year starts, Quinn is thrilled to be welcomed by the hip girls, but the once-popular and promising football player Nick Strout is a tough sell. Unlike Quinn’s ability to hide her alopecia under a wig, Nick can’t hide the fact that an accident has left him an amputee. Slowly, a friendship blossoms between Quinn and Nick, and they turn each other’s messed-up world right-side up. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: On the first day of seventh grade, Quinn, Paige, and Tara wore matching outfits. Oxford shirts, capri jeans, Keds. They took turns sitting on a stool in Paige’s kitchen while Paige’s mom did their hair. Three matching french braids, three matching bows.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBig bones, Laura Dockrill

    Meet Bluebelle, aka BB aka Big Bones. She’s bold, beautiful and beginning her summer holiday. But instead of relaxing she’s forced to write a food diary and an accident upturns her family. And then there’s Max – will they ever move beyond latte art and chamomile tea? (Publisher summary)

    First lines:The first thing I ate after my asthma was a crumpet. Ok. Not a crumpet. It was more a set. A set of crumpets.
    “Can you push them down again please? They still look raw.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl made of stars, Ashley Herring Blake

    Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie. As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie come together in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits into her future. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Charlie refuses to answer my texts. Or she has on her phone on silent. Or she forgot to charge it. Or she had a rare fit of temper and tossed into a toilet, thereby rendering it unusable.


  • Books, Comedy, Espionage, Fantasy, GLBT, New, Nicola, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    26.06.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe murderer’s ape, Jakob Wegekus

    Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she’s an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja’s turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief’s name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: For those of you who don’t know me, the first thing I need to say is that I’m not a human being, I’m an anthropoid ape. I’ve learned from scientists that I belong to the subspecies Gorilla gorrila graueri. Most of my kind live in Africa, in the thick jungle along the banks of the Congo River, and that’s probably where I originally came from.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBring me their hearts, Sara Wolf

    Zera is a Heartless, the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly. The witch asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles. Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him: every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. When Zera arrives, the two begin a game between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all. Winner takes the loser’s heart. Literally. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: King Sref of Cavanos watches me with the deadened eyes of a raven circling a corpse – patient, waiting to devour me the second I let my guard down. I briefly debate telling him that humans don’t taste that good, until I remember that normal girls don’t eat people.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShattered glass, Teresa Toten

    Toni has always had nightmares about fire, and she also has burn scars but no idea how she got them. So when fire destroys the orphanage she has grown up in, she is ready to make her way to Toronto, where she hopes to discover the truth about the mother she believes hurt and then abandoned her. Toronto proves to be both daunting and exciting for Toni, whose charm and innocence attract attention, not always positive, wherever she goes. Buoyed by the music she hears at the folk club where she finds a job, and encouraged by her glamorous landlady, Toni unearths shocking information that contradicts everything she believes and makes her re-evaluate what she feels for all the new people in her life. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Fire!!!
    It was the fire dream again, always the same dream. But this time it was different. This time, despite the fear that was worn and familiar as a threadbare shirt, I knew that I had to save Betty. Then I was washed in shame. How did shame sneak into my dread?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe colour of the sun, David Almond

    One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar – the little Tyneside town that has always been his home – but as the day passes, it becomes ever more mysterious. A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. He turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit hills above the town. As the day goes on, the real and the imaginary start to merge, and Davie knows that neither he nor his world will ever be the same again. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: It’s an ordinary summer day, the day that Jimmy Killen dies and comes to life again. It’s the middle of the holidays, when it sometimes seems like time stands still, when it seems there’s nothing at all to do.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGeorgia peaches and other forbidden fruit, Jaye Robin Brown

    Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Come on Eileen” is a terrible song at any wedding. But when the wedding is being held at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta – the bride’s overpriced choice – one might expect better tunes, even if they are being spun for my dad’s evangelical masses.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSmoke in the sun, Renee Ahdieh

    After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice–to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead. With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and the very safety of the empire.

    First lines: Somber clouds waited above, like specters.
    Most of the people had donned funereal grey. Their heads were lowered in respect, their voices hushed. Even the smallest children of children of children knew better than to ask why.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOut of darkness, Ashley Hope Pérez

    New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion–the worst school disaster in American history–as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: From far off, it looks like hundreds of beetles ringed around a single dome of light. Then the shiny black backs resolve into pickups and cars and ambulances. The bright gloves divides into many lights. Work lamps. Spotlights. Strings of Christmas bulb. Stadium floodlights borrowed from the football field nearby.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove and luck, Jenna Evans Welch

    Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken–and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother–and her problems–behind. So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.> And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Dear Heartbroken,
    What do picture when you imagine travelling through Ireland? Belting out drinking songs in a dim, noisy pub? Exploring mossy castles? Running barefoot through a field of four-leaf clovers? Or maybe that old Johnny Cash song: green, green, forty shades of green.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA reaper at the gates, Sabaa Tahir

    The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power… the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance. Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight. And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. He has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion– even at the cost of his humanity. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: You love too much, my king.
    My queen spoke the words often across the centuries we spent together. At first, with a smile. But in later years, with a furrowed brow. Her gaze settled on out children as they tore about the palace, their bodies flickering from flame to flesh, tiny cyclones of impossible beauty.


  • Comedy, Mysteries, New, Nicola, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    15.06.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMonday’s not coming, Tiffany D. Jackson

    Monday Charles is missing, and Claudia seems to be the one person who notices. They’ve always been inseparable, and when Monday doesn’t show up for school for two weeks, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and her sister April is even less help. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: This is the story of how my best friend disappeared. How nobody noticed she was gone except me. And how nobody cared until they found her…one year later.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe way you make me feel, Maurene Goo

    Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: This paper plane was near perfect.
    Crisp edges, a pointy nose, and just the right weight. I held it up, closing my left eye to aim toward the stage. Rose Carver and her short-brimmed hat were in fine form today, a perfect target, her face lit up beatifically the stage lights.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPuddin’, Julie Murphy

    Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a little girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream of being a newscaster–and to kiss the boy she’s crushing on. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing that they might have more in common than they ever imagined.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I’m a list maker. Write it down. (using my gel pens and a predetermined color scheme, of course. Make it happen. Scratch it off. There is no greater satisfaction than a notebook full of beautifully executed lists.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRoyals, Rachel Hawkins

    Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady…but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: Ever since Prince Alexander of Scotland was spotted with the blond American beauty, we’ve been nuts for all things Ellie! But do you know everything about this maybe-princess-to-be? We bet at least a few will surprise you!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA big dose of lucky, Marthe Jocelyn

    Malou has just turned sixteen–hardly old enough to be out in the world on her own–and all she knows for sure is that she’s of mixed race and that she was left at an orphanage as a newborn. When the orphanage burns to the ground, she finds out that she may have been born in a small town in Ontario’s cottage country. Much to her surprise, Parry Sound turns out to have quite a few young brown faces, but Malou can’t believe they might be related to her. After she finds work as a cleaner in the local hospital, an Aboriginal boy named Jimmy helps her find answers to her questions about her parents. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: It begins with the fire.
    Or maybe a few hours earlier, when I walk into town on a Saturday afternoon to buy, you know, girl products.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAftermath, Kelley Armstrong

    Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was a shooter. Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don’t heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend–Skye. Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can’t resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I will not say the day Jesse Mandal asked me out was the best of my life. That’s silly, trite, foolish. But I was thirteen, which means I was all of those things.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll the little lights, Jamie McGuire

    The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town. Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart. Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The old oak tree I’d climbed was one of a doze or more on Juniper Street. I’d chosen that particular wooden giant because it was standing right next to a white picket fence – one just tall enough for me to use as a step to the lowest branch.


  • Comedy, dystopia, Environment, Fantasy, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Sci Fi, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them, zombies

    New books

    02.05.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDread nation, Justina Ireland

    Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Now laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. But it’s not a life Jane wants. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy… and the restless dead are the least of her problems. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me. I guess it should have been obvious to everyone right then that I wasn’t going to have a normal life.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fates divide, Veronica Roth

    The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth were spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates are inescapable. Akos is in love with Cyra in spite of his fate. He knows he will die in service to Cyra’s family. When Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek– a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead– reclaims the Shotet throne, he ignites a barbaric war. Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost– and in the process they discover an unexpected fate. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Why so afraid?” we ask ourself.
    “She is coming to kill us,” we reply.
    We were once alarmed by this feeling of being in two bodies since the shift occurred, since both our currentgifts dissolved into one.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe heart forger, Rin Chupeco

    No one know death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life … and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her–and took the life of her one true love. But there are those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die … War is brewing among the kings, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: She wore the corpses for show. They trailed behind her, grotesque fabrics of writhing flesh and bones, spreading across the plain for miles around us. Those bereft of legs and feet used hands and elbows; those lacking jaws and tongues moaned from the hollows of their throats. Those onlookers who drew close grasped at the train of her gown until I was no longer certain where her dress ended and they began.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStormcaster, Cinda Williams Chima

    Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move wind, waves, and weather, but his magical abilities can’t protect him forever from the brutal Empress Celestine. As Celestine’s relentless bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom that an invasion is imminent. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall, and his last sanctuary will be destroyed. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose. Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship, sailing east. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled stronghold. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Evan of Tarvos stood at the stern rail, his eyes fixed on the ship had been following them for the better part of a day. The sleek three-master stayed just at the horizon, neither approaching nor losing ground. Strange. Most ships fled in a hurry when they spotted Captain Latham Strangward’s stormlord standard.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMisfit, Charli Howard (non-fiction)

    So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do. Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal – but for some reason, she couldn’t quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it – and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn’t quite as glamorous as she’d hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough. When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she’d had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I am not normal.
    From the ages of four to six, I though I was a dog. A German shepherd to be precise, though I could also be a Dalmatian, depending on my mood. The dogs I grew up with were spoiled and loved, and played around all day, so that’s what I decided I wanted to become.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAs she fades, Abbi Glines

    On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken. Slate Allen, a college friend of Vales brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she cant deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship. Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved fairy tales. And I’ve believed in true love. It was easy for me, though, because I feel in love at six years old. Not many people find love so young. Crawford and I believed we were special. That fate shined on us and gave us each other early so we’d have a lifetime together. He was my very own Prince Charming.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDefy the worlds, Claudia Gray

    Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. When a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi is the only soldier to have ever left the planet. It’s up to her to save its people — if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap. On the run to avoid his creator, Burton Mansfield, Abel hears that Noemi has been captured — by Mansfield. Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Noemi Vidal walks through the two long lines of starfighters in the hangar, helmet under one arm, head held high. She doesn’t wave to her friends like she always used to – until six months ago. Now no one would wave back.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe continent, Keira Drake

    For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire–a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a talented apprentice cartographer and a descendant of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land. But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined–and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home–but first, she must survive. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: This must be the most magnificent party in the history of the Spire.
    I’ve never felt quite like this before; my mind is awhirl, my senses dazzled, and there’s a bounding joy spiraling up within me. I wonder where it’s coming from, this feeling of inexhaustible delight?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI have lost my way, Gayle Forman

    Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in helpƯing the others out of theirs. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I have lost my way.
    Freya stares at the words she just typed into her phone.
    I have lost my way. Where did that come from?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite night, Ellie Marney

    In Bo Mitchell’s country town, a ‘White Night’ light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden? As Bo is drawn away from his friends and towards Rory, he gradually comes to believe that Eden may not be utopia after all, and that their group leader’s goal to go off the grid may be more permanent – and more dangerous – than anyone could have predicted. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Three things are all over my feed on the first day of school: the skate park’s being shut down, Mr Showalter is losing his nut, and the new girl is a feral skank. Teo saw Mr. S talking to himself at the I.G.A. Lozzie’s avatar is a dancing tulip.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSal, Mick Kitson

    Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs, and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the ‘SAS Survival Handbook’ and watched loads of YouTube videos. And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits, and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her. Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, ‘Sal’ is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Peppa said “Cold” and then she went quiet for a but. And then she said “Cold Sal. I’m cold.” Her voice was low and quiet and whispery. Not like normal. I started to worry she had hypothermia. I saw a thing about how it makes you go all slow and quiet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNice try, Jane Sinner, Lianne Oelke

    The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out. Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange , a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother , but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight. As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world–or at least viewers of substandard TV–that she has what it takes to win.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I’m not a particularly good daughter, but I sat through a month of therapy for my parents’ sake. I’d like to think they got more out of it than I sis. Couldn’t have been too hard. Any system that requires the patient’s family to pay someone else to care about her is fundamentally flawed. But I digress. If my decision to stop attending therapy means James Fowler High School no longer welcomes me as a student, I guess that’s on me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLeah on the offbeat, Becky Alberti

    When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat–but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends–not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting–especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

    First lines: I don’t mean to be dramatic, but God save me from Morgan picking our set list. That girl is a suburban dad’s midlife crisis in a high school senior’s body.


  • Fantasy, Mysteries, New, New Zealand, realistic fiction, Sci Fi, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them, Western

    New books

    24.04.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVengeance Road, Erin Bowman

    When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit , the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: It weren’t no secret Pa owned the best plot of land ‘long Granite Creek, and I reckon that’s why they killed him. I was down at the water, yanking a haul ‘cus the pump had gone and stuck dry again, when I saw the smoke.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDawn raid, Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

    Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: Dear Diary,
    I can’t believe the first McDonald’s in the WHOLE country is here – in Porirua! – at the shopping centre in Cobham Court. They had all sorts of problems with the date for the official opening though. Dad said it was because of ‘red tape’ and had to do with them putting in the wrong benches or something. So it just had its opening ceremony last Saturday, and Mum said when she drove past, there were people lined up out the door and down the footpath!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe wicked deep, Shea Ernshaw

    Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: Three sisters arrived in Sparrow, Oregon, in 1822 aboard a fur trading ship named the Lady Astor, which sank later that year in the harbour just beyond the cape. They were among the first to settle in the newly founded costal town, and they strode onto the new land like thin-legged birds with wavy caramel hair and pastel skin. They were beautiful – too beautiful, the townspeople would later say.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHonor among thieves, Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

    Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell. Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan–a race of sentient alien ships–to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers. Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I feel the stars,
    Energy pulses against my skin, murmuring secrets about this small galaxy, about obits and alignments and asteroids streaming in space. Impulse makes me want to dive and cruise those currents, but I control these urges.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIda, Alison Evans

    How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?Ida struggles more than other twentysomethings to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths. One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My shift is finally over and I want to scream. The thing about hospitality is that you always have to be switched on, always nice, welcoming, smiling. Even when someone’s yelling at you because their three-quarter soy latte is too cold.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sacrifice box, Martin Stewart

    Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice… Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings. Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact. As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town’s history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Sep knelt beside the box. The forest was tight with heat, and sweat prickled on his skin. The clearing around him was a blanket of root and stone, caged by silent trees and speckled by dark, leaf-spinning pools that hid the wriggling things of the soil.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnveiling Venus, Sophia Bennett

    In the gossip-fuelled world of Victorian London, Persephone Lavelle is the name on everyone’s lips. As Mary’s secret identity is exposed and rumours fly, she flees the scandal by escaping to Venice. Lost among the twisting alleyways and shadowy canals she encounters a mysterious, masked young man. He offers her the world, but at what price? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My dearest Persephone,
    Oh, how you must curse me, and how sorry I am! I haven’t written to you in an age. All I can say is I have been so busy! And I have much news. More of which in a minute…

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe diminished, Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

    In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone. The singleborn A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him. The diminished. When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace. As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures–one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The first queen built the Alskad Empire from scorched earth and ash after the goddess Dzallie split the moon and rained fire from the sky. The god Hamil called the sea to wash away most of what was left of humanity, but the people who managed to survive gathered in the wild, unforgiving north, calling on Rayleane the Builder to help them shape an idyllic community that would be home and have to descendants of the cataclysm.


  • dystopia, Mysteries, New, Nicola, poetry, Real Life, Real Problems, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    20.03.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

    Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The summer is made for stoop-sitting
    and since it’s the last week before school starts,
    Harlem is opening its eyes to September.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo kill a kingdom, Alexandra Christo

    Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. Hearts are power, and with the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. When a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own, the Sea Queen transforms Lira a human as punishment. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever. Hunting sirens is Prince Elian’s calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good– but can he trust her? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.
    There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRestore me, Tahereh Mafi

    It’s been sixteen days since Juliette Ferrars killed the supreme commander of North America and took over as ruler of the Reestablishment on the continent … Juliette thought she’d won. She took over sector 45 and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch–and with so much power in her young hands, the world is watching her every move, waiting to see what happens next. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I don’t wake up screaming anymore. I do not feel ill at the sight of blood. I do not flinch before firing a gun.
    I will never again apologize for surviving.
    And yet-

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe case for Jamie, Britanny Cavallaro

    A year after August’s death, Jamie and Charlotte are manipulated into reforming their detective team by someone who wants to see them suffer. Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for. Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her. Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time. Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It was January in Connecticut, and the snow hadn’t stopped falling in what felt like forever. It gathered in the windows wells, in the hollows between the bricks of the rebuilt sciences building. It hung from the boughs of trees, tucked itself up the root systems below. I shook it from my wool cap before every class, ruffled it out of my hair, pulled it from my socks.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInto exile, Joan Lingard

    Catholic Kevin and Protestant Sadie have married and escaped to London to start a new life together, away from their disapproving families and the fighting on the streets. But news from Belfast brings loneliness and heartache – will they ever really be free of the Troubles back home? (Publisher information)

    First lines: Sadie McCoy stood by the window looking out into the dingy street. It was Sunday morning, early, and few people were about, which made the street look even worse than usual. She was used to dingy streets, it was not that in itself that was bothering her, but the streets she had known were Belfast ones, with rows red-bricked houses built back to back. This was a London street, and even after a month it still looked foreign to her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA girl like that, Tanaz Bhathena

    In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sixteen-year-old half-Hindu/half-Parsi Zarin Wadia is the class troublemaker and top subject for the school rumor blogs, regularly leaving class to smoke cigarettes in cars with boys, but she also desperately wants to grow up and move out of her aunt and uncle’s house, perhaps realizing too late that Porus, another non-Muslim Indian who risks deportation but remains devoted to Zarin, could help her escape. When the two end up dead in a car on a highway in Jeddah, it becomes clear she was far more than a “girl like that.” (Publisher information)

    First lines: The wails Masi let out were so heart-wrenching you would think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead, of the parasite from her sister’s womb, as she once called me. She should have been a professional funeral crier.


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