This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman (December). This is a companion novel to These Broken Stars (in which Lilac and Tarver are stranded alone on a planet after a catastrophic spaceship crash (Lilac, unfortunately, in a very impractical green dress)). In This Shattered World, we are introduced to new characters, Flynn and Lee, who are on opposing sides in a war on Avon, a terraformed planet: “Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.” (goodreads.com) Post-exam reading.
The Iron Trial, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in a new series (Magisterium) from extremely popular YA writing friends. The Magisterium is an academy for students with a gift for magic. “In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.” (goodreads.com) Will it be as Harry Potter-ish as it seems, we want to know.
Atlantia, Ally Condie (November). From the author of the popular Matched trilogy. “For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above – of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self – and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden – she has nothing left to lose. Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths” (goodreads.com).
Ghost House, Alexandra Adornetto. “After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger… Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her. To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own” (goodreads.com)
Creature of Moonlight, Rebecca Hahn
As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her. (Goodreads)
First lines: All Summer long the villagers have been talking of the woods. Even those living many hills away can see it: their crops are disappearing; their land is shrinking by the day. We hear story after story.
Gifts, Ursula K. Le Guin
Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability–with a glance, a gesture, a word–to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill. (Goodreads)
First lines: He was lost when he came to us, and I fear the silver spoons he stole from us didn’t save him when he ran away and went up into the high domains. Yet in the end the lost man, the runaway man, was our guide.
The end or something like that, Anne Dee Ellis
Emmy’s best friend Kim had promised to visit from the afterlife after she died. But so far Kim hasn’t shown up even once. Emmy blames herself for not believing hard enough. Finally, as the one-year anniversary of Kim’s death approaches, Emmy is visited by a ghost—but it’s not Kim. It’s Emmy’s awful dead science teacher. Emmy can’t help but think that she’s failed at being a true friend. But as more ghosts appear, she starts to realize that she’s not alone in her pain. Kim would have wanted her to move forward—and to do that, Emmy needs to start letting go. (Goodreads)
First lines: One day my best friend named Kim died. Before she died, Kim made me promise to contact her. I didn’t want to. But she made me promise. So then I tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. Turns out I suck at talking to dead people.
Calypso Summer, Jared Thomas
After failing to secure employment in sports retail, his dream occupation, Calypso finds work at the Henley Beach Health Food shop where his boss pressures him to gather native plants for natural remedies. This leads him to his Nukunu family in southern Flinders Ranges and the discovery of a world steeped in cultural knowledge. The support of a sassy, smart, young Ngadjuri girl, with a passion for cricket rivalling his own, helps Calypso to reconsider his Rastafarian façade and understand how to take charge of his future.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was thirty-nine degrees, my boss hadn’t paid me and I was too broke to fix my piece of shit ten-speed. A woman in skirt and bathers walked around the corner and quickly sidestepped out the way. People are always doing that type of thing to me.
Scan, Sarah Fine and Walter Jury
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans. All Tate knows–like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid–may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. (Goodreads)
First lines: In my world, things are simple. At least, they are right now, The hard, pulsing beat of my music is all my head contains. My muscles are loose. My bare feet are flat on the hardwood. My ass is on this metal bench, but not for long. Any second now, they’re going to call me. I am ready.
September 17, Amanda West Lewis
September 17 is a novel that tells the story of three of the children that were on board the City of Benares, as they experience and survive the disaster and wait to be rescued. One lifeboat was not picked up by the destroyer sent to make the rescue, and was at sea with 46 passengers, children and adults for eight days until it was picked up near the Irish coast. Two teenaged girls held onto an overturned lifeboat for 18 hours before they were picked up, while another family, including two children not on the CORB program, floated on a tiny raft for hours before being rescued. The characters whose adventures are described are all real, though some conversations and encounters have been fictionalized by author Amanda Lewis. (Goodreads)
First lines: A heavy clod of wet earth fell on Ken’s head. His hands began to shake. It wasn’t the hideous and sickening lurch of the ground. It wasn’t the overwhelming, deafening crash. It wasn’t even the thought of death. No, it was the idea of being buried alive that most terrified Ken.
House of Ivy and Sorrow, Natalie Whipple
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.(Goodreads)
First lines: They say a witch lives in the old house under the interstate bridge. Always in the shadows, draped in ivy and sorrow, the house waits for child too daring for his own good. And inside, the witch sits with her black eyes and toothless sneer.
Resurrection, Amy Carol Reeves
When she catches Edmund Wyatt following her through the streets of London, Abbie Sharp learns that every British monarch for hundreds of years has known about—and financially supported—the Conclave. Furious that the monarchy would cooperate with such a nefarious group, Abbie refuses Wyatt’s request for help in catching the person who is blackmailing Queen Victoria with this secret information. But a far greater threat emerges when the Ripper, Max, returns and brings a string of new murders with him. Abbie must choose whether to help the Queen she now despises or stop Max from succeeding at his most diabolical plan yet—the creation of a whole new Conclave aimed at usurping the British throne. (Goodreads)
First lines: By the time he stepped outdoors to escape the stifling billiard game conversation, young Lionel Millbrough the Third’s head swam from the three brandies he had unwisely consumed.
A time to dance, Padma Venkatraman
Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.
Clinging to the free end of Ma’s sari,
I follow the tired shuffle of other pilgrims’ feedt
into the cool darkness of the temple,
where sweat-smell mingles with the fragrance of incense.
One man guy, Michael Barakiva
Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan. Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again. (Goodreads)
First lines: Alek stared at the menu suspiciously. He smelled mrinara sauce and a trap.
“Welcome to Trattori dell’Arte. My name is Lizzy. Can I start you off with something to drink?” The waitress was young, maybe a college student alreadt home for the summer, with a kind, round face framed by bangs the curled up at the bottom. Alek pitied her. She had no idea what she was in for.
The drowned Forest, Kristopher Reisz
Losing Holly is the hardest thing Jane has ever had to endure … until Holly comes back.
Best friends Jane and Holly have jumped off the bluff over their Alabama reservoir hundreds of times. But one day, Holly’s jump goes wrong. Her body never comes up, yet something else does—a sad creature of mud, full of confusion and sorrow. It’s Holly, somehow, trapped and mixed up with the river. And if Jane can’t do something to help, Holly will take everybody down with her—even the people they love the most. (Goodreads)
First lines: But it’s a beautiful day, Holly, It’s the most beautiful day. Pastor Wesley stands in the river, frog-green water swirling around his thighs. Sunlight ripples in his outstretched hands and across the robes of those about to be baptised.
Always, Emily Michaela MacColl
Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed. (Goodreads)
First lines: The minister pronounced the final benediction for Elizabeth Bronte, aged 10. The funeral was finally over. The surviving Brontes huddled in the family pew. Charlotte, the eldest child at nine, sat stiffly, her back perfectly straight. She frowned at her younger sister, Emily, who had fidgeted unconscionably during the long service. Then she clutched her eight year old brother Branwell’s hand.
I have a bad feeling about this, Jeff Strand
Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors–but that doesn’t make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn’t agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp. Strongwoods isn’t exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the “camp director” is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry’s sure he saw a sign written in blood…(Goodreads)
First lines: “Hi everybody. This is Rad rad Roger here at the world premiere of I Have a Bad Feeling About This, and let me tell you, this par-taaay is wild! You can’t spit without hitting a celebrity! Watch – I’m gonna try it right now! Hoccccccccchhhhh-patoo!”
Nowhere boys, Elise McCredie
Four teenage boys are hiking in the bush when they are caught in a freak storm. After surviving the night, the boys expect a hero’s welcome, but instead they find that nobody knows who they are. Not their family. Not their friends. They are faced with a town of blank faces and are trapped in a world where they don’t exist. Sam, Jake and Andy are desperate to right their lives. They need to figure out how to make things go back to the way they used to be. Only Felix is conflicted: there are certain things about this new world that he likes. But as they grapple with their situation, it becomes clear that other things have been disturbed. A dark force has been unleashed and suddenly the situation becomes desperate. The boys must find a way to right their lives before evil destroys them. (Goodreads)
First lines: Felix’s fingers thrashed at the strings of his electric guitar as if he were trying to do it damange. The chords screeched out of his amp in ragged harmony with his vocals.
“Water, fire, earth and air
Elements that we all share.”
We haven’t done a Trailer Tuesday in a while! So let’s get right down to it with space battles, some dystopias and a tearjerker.
First: Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s out already so you can go see it any time you like! It’s the newest installment in the Marvel universe and we get introduced to a whole gang of new characters we’ve never seen before. And it’s in space! With awesome ships, battles and creatures. If you watched to the end of the credits of Thor: The Dark World (which is something you should know to do if you’re a Marvel movie fan!) you may recognise The Collector in GotG. This movie is a lot of fun, but you definitely don’t need to be a Marvel fan to enjoy it. If you read the comics though (which we have in our collection!) there are plenty of insider goodies for you to spot in this film too.
Following on from the President-Snow-addressing-the-Capitol teasers, the new teaser trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 has been released! It features Katniss leading the rebels against the Capitol, and I expect a lot of tears to be shed watching this movie. If you’d like to refresh your memory of what happened in this book, you can reserve it here. Mockingjay Part 1 will be released on November 20th 2014. See you at the premiere!
Next up is the newest trailer for The Maze Runner starring Dylan O’Brien who you may recognise from Teen Wolf. It follows Thomas, who wakes up in a glade surrounded by a colossal maze. He has no memories of his previous life or how he got to the glade except for his own name. Each day boys from the glade venture into the maze to try and find an escape, but the gates close every night to keep the horrific Grievers at bay. If the maze “runners” aren’t back by the time the gates close at night, well, “no one survives a night in the maze”. Thomas joins the runners, determined to find an escape from the maze, but is he ready for the truth? This one looks like it is going to be epic on the big screen and I can’t wait to see it! Check out the trailer below and read the book while you’re waiting for the movie, if you haven’t already.
And finally is If I Stay, an adaptation of the book of the same name by Gayle Forman. Mia is a talented seventeen-year-old cellist with family, friends and a boyfriend. But a car crash sends Mia into a coma, and she has a sort of out-of-body experience observing the lives of those she loves. Mia has to decide whether she should stay, or go forever. Check out the book here and keep the tissues handy!
Some good-looking things this week:
Black Ice, Becca Fitzpatrick (October) - from the author who brought you Nora and Patch in the Hush, Hush series comes a new romantic thriller involving tramping and murder. “Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants – but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there.. and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?” (goodreads.com)
Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers (November) – the next book in the series about assassin nuns I have to admit I am crazy about. “Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has. But across Brittany, the tides of war are drawing ever nearer, with France pressuring the beleaguered duchess from all sides. Annith’s search for answers threatens to rip open an intricate web of lies and deceit that sit at the heart of the convent she serves. Yet to expose them threatens the very fabric of her existence and risks an unforeseen chance at love, one that she can no longer deny. Annith must carefully pick a path and, gods willing, effect a miracle that will see her country – and her heart – to safety.” (goodreads.com)
Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (September) – Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies trilogy, and Leviathan) has been quiet for ages, so we’re happy to hear about this new novel-within-a-novel! “Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.” (goodreads.com)
Donnel’s Promise, Anna MacKenzie (New Zealand author) - the sequel to Cattra’s Legacy. “When Risha takes up her mother’s throne there is celebration – for some. In the murky world of politics, how can you know who to trust, when to fight, when to run? As war between the Five Duchies threatens everyone Risha loves, the hidden truth of Cattra’s legacy is revealed – but for Risha there is no time to learn to use her arcane talent, even less to save those sacrificed in her name.” (goodreads.com)
Following on from my last post, you may remember that I mentioned Jaclyn Moriarty often writes in an epistolary style, meaning the narrative is constructed of letters, emails, memos, newspaper clippings, blogs, text messages… You get the idea. Books written in this style can be very quick reads because they can be very casual and conversational, particularly with diary entries. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite epistolary novels (I read quite a lot of them…)
Sloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated when her best friend Hope leaves their hometown of Pineville, New Jersey. Jessica is hyper-observant and without Hope to communicate with, Jessica feels more out of her depth than ever. Now she has to work out how to deal with the craziness of her classmates, her dad’s obsession with Jessica’s track meets and her mother’s obsession with Jessica’s sister Bethany’s lavish wedding – all without any help from Hope, bar the occasional email. And then Jessica begins to strike up an unlikely friendship with the biggest rebel in school Marcus Flutie… Jessica’s diary entries are hilarious, but balance out the humour well by dealing with serious issues, such as death and family drama. And it’s the first in a series of 5!
Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
Georgia Nicholson is vain, a bit hysterical and boy-crazy. She has a lot of wild tales to tell about her mad little sister Libby, her feral cat Angus and the time she shaved her eyebrows and dressed up as a stuffed olive. Georgia’s just trying to be a regular 14-year-old girl but it’s not so easy. Set in England, this book (the first in a series) is fabbity fab fab and you’ll be speaking in Georgia’s completely made up slang and bent over in stitches by the time you’re finished with it! We also have this as an Overdrive eBook.
The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior has never felt like the rez life fitted him, so he takes matters into his own hands and leaves the rez school in order to go to the all-white local high school. Being Indian makes him stand out enough in the school, but he also has “an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, ten more teeth than normal, a stutter, and a lisp” but Junior is not a complainer! He just wants to get through school and break away from the life he has been destined to live. The novel is interspersed with drawings and is based partly on the author’s own experiences. It’s a must read!
Letters From The Inside, John Marsden
“Mandy wants a pen-pal. Tracey answers the ad. The two girls write to each other about their families, their lives, their ambitions and their fears. But there are dark secrets surrounding Mandy and Tracey – secrets they can hardly bear to confront, let alone share.” Goodreads
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives with her family in a ramshackle castle in England. Over a turbulent six months, Cassandra attempts to hone her writing skills by chronicling in her diary the changes within the castle and her own first experience in love. I Capture the Castle is a “classic” novel that is timeless and the humour stands up today just as it did when it was first published.
This is Lauren. As you can see, she is pretty enthusiastic about book character tshirts! Below is her rather extensive collection, including Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Star Wars characters and also some Disney ladies.
These books we ordered recently look interesting:
Wild, Alex Mallory – this is a retelling of Tarzan, with a sort of dystopian twist. “The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving - that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger… Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy - he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion. Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it. As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?” (goodreads.com)
Guardian, Alex London – the sequel to Proxy. “In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger. People are falling ill – their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure… and what he discovers leaves him stunned.” (goodreads.com) This – it is suggested – will interest people who enjoyed Alex Rider, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, which leads nicely to:
The Young Elites, Marie Lu (October) – the new series by the author of Legend. “Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars – they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.” (goodreads.com)
Who doesn’t love a good fairytale? Handsome knights, beautiful princesses, wicked witches, gingerbread cottages…but these books offer a much darker different take on classics such as the Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping beauty, and many others besides. Many of these are truer to the original spirit of the stories than those pretty Disney movies you might have watched as a kid. And a warning: there’s not always a “happily ever after”…
Lies, knives and girls in red dresses, Ron Koertge
I’ve featured this book before; it’s one of my favourites. It’s a collection of poetry, that often deals with the twisted consequences of the “happily ever after.” It’s nothing you’ve ever read before. Ron Koertege pulls no punches; these poems are often brutal but still beautifully written. The first lines perfectly capture the eerie spirit of this book.
Do you want to sleep? Find another storyteller. Do you
want to think about the world in a new way?
Come closer. Closer, please.
I want to whisper in your ear.
The stepsister scheme, Jim C. Hines
This is another book that deals with a “happily ever after” that’s gone wrong, but The Stepsister Scheme’s tone is a bit lighter. After Cinderella’s Prince Charming is kidnapped, she teams up with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to kick some Fae buttock and rescue her husband. Despite this focus on action, there are some cool dark threads that run through the book.
Book of a thousand days, Shannon Hale
Maid Maleen is a rather obscure Brothers Grimm fairytale, which documents the imprisonment of a Princess in a tower for seven years. Unlike Rapunzel, however, no rescuer is immediately forthcoming. Book of a Thousand days transplants the story from Europe to the Asian Steppes, and it’s a fascinating and engrossing story that neglects the “magical” elements of faiytales for a more realistic tone.
The rose and the beast:fairy tales retold, Francesca Lia Block
This is an awesome collection of short stories, told in Block’s unique voice. It’s a potent mixture of realism and Americana – the fey, somewhat feral heroines run away from home, go to L.A, or the desert, or wherever – only to find that the monsters have followed them. These haunting stories that stay with you, right until after you’ve closed the book.
Troll’s-eye view: a book of villainous tales, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
For something much darker, you can’t go past this collection, which features some of the best YA authors writing today. Each tale shows the other side of the fairy-tale’s primary encounter: what does the giant’s wife have to say about the young man who climbed up her beanstalk? The answer may surprise you…
The replacement, Brenna Yovanoff
This should be compulsory reading for those who think that faeries are sweet and gentle creatures who spend their time rescuing princesses in distress. The faeries of The Replacement are implacable, inhuman creatures who have made a deal with the town of Gentry: economic security for the life of one child. The story is narrated by Mackie, a “replacement” changeling, who was swapped out for a human child and now dying because of his allergies to blood and iron, a nice nod to traditional superstitions about faeries. It’s a an interesting take on a slightly overdone subject, that retains the grimness of the original stories.
Ash, Malinda Lo
Ash is not your typical Cinderella story, although it begins the same: Ash’s father dies and the main character is reduced to a mere servant. Ash does receive help from the faerie, but his intentions may not be entirely benevolent. Then she meets the King’s huntress, the enigmatic Kaisa, and has to decide between her fairytale ending or one, more uncertain, that may end in true love. I like this particular retelling because it avoids the traps of many; getting too caught up in the glitter and not enough time spent on character development. The lesbian romance at its heart also separates it, and adds an interesting twist on a very old story.
Too busy to read? Audiobooks are a great alternative, particularly if you want to do more than one thing at a time. You can listen to many of the best and most popular YA authors on CD:
(plus many many more)
If you want to be more mobile, you can also get eAudiobooks from our eLibrary page using Overdrive and Borrowbox.
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Jaclyn Moriarty is awesome. She is highly endorsed by Grimm (here and here) and let me tell you, Grimm’s in-person enthusiasm about Jaclyn is very infectious!
I first read Feeling Sorry For Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy (of which we have the eBook only) a few years ago and absolutely loved them. They are both from Jaclyn’s Ashbury/Brookfield “series” although the books are more like companion novels than a series. That series also includes The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie and The Ghosts of Ashbury High. These books revolve around a number of students who attend either the exclusive and private Ashbury High or Brookfield High, the local public school. Each book has characters that cross over to the other novels, but each one is a separate story to the others. All four books are told in epistolary style, which means they are written as a series of documents, such as diary entries, emails, exam papers, notes etc.
More recently I read the first two books in Jaclyn’s Colours of Madeleine trilogy (although you will find it under colors, not colours). These books are written in Jaclyn’s trademark style, often subverting “facts” that you thought you knew and revealing that events or ideas that seemed incidental at the time are in fact central plot points. They also use epistolary elements to tell the story although these are lesser, and the narrative swaps between two main characters in each chapter. This series also marks a shift into fantasy writing, and it suits Jaclyn’s writing style very well.
In A Corner of White, fifteen-year-old Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, The Farms in the Kingdom of Cello. Here, seasons roam as they please and bells warn citizens of dangerous colour attacks. Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England in The World, our world, and lives by the laws of Isaac Newton. They live apart in their own worlds, unaware even of the existence of other worlds until one day they discover a connection. Just a crack, enough for a letter to get through. Elliot and Madeleine begin to write to each other through the crack between their worlds. Elliot writes to Madeleine about his missing father who was taken in an attack by a rogue purple which also killed his uncle, about the deftball final he’s about to compete in, and about the Butterfly Child he rescued from a glass jar. At first Madeleine doesn’t believe Elliot is even real, but she still writes to him about her own absent father, about how she misses the life of luxury she used to live and about the laws of Isaac Newton.
A Corner of White contains a lot of world-building elements with a building mystery behind it all. The second book, The Cracks in the Kingdom dives straight into the adventure having already set up the world in which it all takes place.
It may sound like a lot to take in, but Jaclyn’s writing takes you under its wing and makes you comfortable. She never over-explains, she will always let you come to your own conclusions. For example she never actually describes what the attacking colours look like, only their effects. Giving the reader so much input is part of what makes her writing so effective and powerful.
We have most of Jaclyn’s books available as eBooks as well as in print. She has also written I Have A Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes and The Spellbook of Listen Taylor (only available as eBooks), a rewritten adaptation of the former. Lots of Jaclyn’s books have been published under alternate titles, so you may need to check which is which if you come across an unfamiliar title. I hope you have fun exploring the worlds of Jaclyn Moriarty!