Forbidden, Eve Bunting
Sixteen-year-old Josie Ferguson has just lost both her parents. She is sent to live with an unknown aunt and uncle in a town on the stormy northwest coast of Scotland. But the townspeople, including her relatives, are as cold and hostile as the sea. Josie has never felt so alone. Then Eli appears. Mysterious but kind—and handsome—he sparks a desire in Josie unlike anything she has ever experienced. Even though she’s been warned that Eli is forbidden, she can’t stop thinking about him. And the locals are harboring a secret. When curious, determined Josie sets out to uncover it, the truth is more horrific than she could have imagined. (Goodreads).
First lines: We had arrived.
I’d taken two traps, a coach, and a carriage to get here from my old, beloved home in Edinburgh. It was sad and strange to think of myself as an orphan now that my parents had died. But that was what I was. Sorrow threatened to overwhelm me. But I told myself to be brave and to consider myself fortunate to have an aunt and an uncle to go to. Though an orphan, I would have a family again.
Thicker than water, Brigid Kemmerer
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years. The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers. Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden… (Goodreads).
First lines: I hate this suit. Mom bought it two weeks ago, and I hated it then. But she started with the whole please and for me and just this once and I gave in. Because she knows my buttons. Knew. She knew my buttons. I hate the past tense. I’m definitely not a suit guy. She knows that. Damn it.
Hide and seek, Jane Casey
It’s Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. Jess wasn’t sure how she felt about moving to Port Sentinel when her mom dragged her there right in the middle of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There’s a Christmas market complete with mini ice-rink and fairy lights, and the bare trees stand stark against the sky. But for Gilly Poynter, one of Jess’s classmates, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She’s disappeared, leaving behind only her diary and a lot of questions. Has she run away from her unhappy home, or has something more sinister happened? And will Jess be able to find her before it’s too late?(Goodreads).
First lines: As parties went, it was a fairly typical Port Sentinel night out: too many people crammed into a large, expensive house, most of them determined to have fun. If there was one thing I’d learned in the five months I’d been living in Port Sentinel, it was that any excuse for a party would do. The mere fact it was Friday night counted.
Black widow: forever red, Margaret Stohl
Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives. Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments—until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type. Until now.
When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned—and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams…(Goodreads).
First lines: Natasha Romanoff hated pierogies – but more than that, she hated lies. Lying she was fine with. Lying was a necessity, a tool of her tradecraft. It was being lied to that she hated, even if it was how she had been raised.
Truthwitch, Susan Dennard
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others. In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well. Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness. Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.(Goodreads).
First lines: Everything had gone horribly wrong. None of Safiya fon Hasstrel’s hastily laid plans for this hold up were unfolding as they ought. First, the black carriage with the gleaming gold standard was not the target Safi and Iseult had been waiting for. Worse, this cursed carriage was accompanied by eight rows of city guards blinking midday sun from their eyes.
Sound, Alexandra Duncan
As a child, Ava’s adopted sister Miyole watched her mother take to the stars, piloting her own ship from Earth to space making deliveries. Now a teen herself, Miyole is finally living her dream as a research assistant on her very first space voyage. If she plays her cards right, she could even be given permission to conduct her own research and experiments in her own habitat lab on the flight home. But when her ship saves a rover that has been viciously attacked by looters and kidnappers, Miyole—along with a rescued rover girl named Cassia—embarks on a mission to rescue Cassia’s abducted brother, and that changes the course of Miyole’s life forever. (Goodreads)
First lines: The butterflies keep dying. Their gossamer corpses line the back wall of Dr. Osman’s office -spotted swallowtails and the dark-tinged bird-wings-all suspended in squat acrylic resin cylinders behind her desk.
“It has to be a genetic disorder.” I hold the latest casualty, a common blue, out to Dr. Osmani in my gloved hand. “They can’t handle the atmosphere.”
Young man with camera, Emil Sher
T– is used to getting grief. He gets it from his mom, who blames herself for his accident years earlier. He gets it from Mr. Lam, who suspects every kid of stealing from his shop. Worst of all, he gets it from Joined at the Hip, a trio of bullies so vicious that they leave T– terrified of even using his entire name. But T– has his own strength too: his camera, which captures the unique way he sees the world. His pictures connect him to Ms. Karamath, the kind librarian at school; his friend Sean, whose passion for mysteries is matched only by his love for his dog; and especially Lucy, a homeless woman who shares his admiration for the photographer Diane Arbus. When Lucy is attacked by Joined at the Hip, T– documents the assault on film. But the bullies know he has the photographs, and their anger could be deadly. What’s the right thing for T– to do? Do pictures ever tell the whole truth? And what if the truth isn’t always the right answer? (Goodreads)
First lines: This is not a fire hydrant. And the truth is, a hydrant isn’t always a hydrant. Sometimes it’s a perch. I stood on my perch to take a picture of Ruby. Ruby is Mr. Lam’s daughter. Mr. Lam is the owner of McCreary’s Corner Store, which is a lie, since the store is in the middle of the block and should be called McCreary’s Nowhere-Near-the-Corner Store.
Gathering deep, Lisa Maxwell
When Chloe Sabourin wakes in a dark, New Orleans cemetery with no memory of the previous days, she can hardly believe the story her friends tell her. They say Chloe was possessed by a witch named Thisbe, who had used the darkest magic to keep herself alive for over a century. They tell her that the witch is the one responsible for the unspeakable murders that nearly claimed the life of Chloe’s friend, Lucy. Most unbelievable of all, they say that Thisbe is Chloe’s own mother. As she struggles with this devastating revelation and tries to rebuilt her life, Chloe wants nothing to do with the magic that corrupted her mother…especially since she feels drawn to it.
Now, a new series of ritualistic killings suggests that Thisbe is plotting again, and Chloe is drawn unwillingly back into the mystical underworld of the French Quarter. To stop Thisbe before she kills again, Chloe and her friends must learn what they can from the mysterious Mama Legba. But when her boyfriend Piers vanishes, Chloe will have to risk everything and embrace her own power to save the one person she has left… even if that means bringing down her mother. (Goodreads)
First lines: Hair don’t weigh no more than a soul, but taken all together, it’s got the sort of gravity that anchors a person. Shh. Shh. The scissors whispered their sharp commands, and pieces of who I was fell all around me. I wanted to scream, to tell them I’d changed my mind. But I couldn’t seem to make my mouth form the words.
The suffering, Rin Chupeco
Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price… (Goodreads)
First lines: I’m no hero, believe me. I’ve never rescued babies from burning buildings. I’ve never volunteered to save humpback whales or the rain forest. I’ve never been to protest rallies, fed the hungry in Africa, or righted any of the eighty thousand things that are wrong with the world these days. Heroism isn’t a trait commonly found in teenage boys.
The rosemary spell, Virginia Zimmerman
Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam’s older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.(Goodreads)
First lines:For ten years, my father’s furniture and books lurked in the study he abandoned. I don’t remember a time when we thought he might come back, but his belongings were like a bookmark, holding a place in our lives, until Mom found out he’d moved to London.
This raging light, Estelle Laurie
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother.(Goodreads)
First lines: Mom was supposed to come home yesterday after her two-week vacation. Fourteen days. Said she needed a break from everything (See also: Us) and that she would be back before the first day of school.
Through the woods, Emily Carroll (Graphic novel)
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss. These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll. Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…(Goodreads)
First lines: When I was little I used to read before I slept at night. And I read the light of a lamp clipped to my headboard. Stark white and bright, against the darkness of my room. I dreaded turning it off. What if I reached out…just past the edge of bed and something waiting there, grabbed me and pulled me down, into the dark-
The mystery of hollow places, Rebecca Podos
All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when Imogene was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as “troubled waters.”
Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.
First lines: The bedtime story my dad used to tell me began with my grandmother’s body. Back when my dad wasn’t yet my dad, but a young forensic pathologist at Good Shepherd Hospital the city, a dead woman landed on his table. She was middle-aged and unremarkable, her hair colourless, her face like a vacant moon.
We’ve just ordered these almost this very minute!
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire, Dan Howell and Phil Lester. Or rather, danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. “From YouTube sensations Dan Howell… and Phil Lester… comes a laugh-out-loud look into the world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the Internet. More than 8 million YouTube subscribers can’t wait for this book! Since uploading their first ever videos as teenagers, Dan and Phil have become two of the world’s biggest YouTube stars. Now they invite you on a behind-the-scenes journey, filled with absolutely essential advice, tons of humor, lots of awkwardness, and TMI honesty that they will probably regret… In The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire, Dan and Phil are candid, heartfelt, and hilarious. Their struggles and success haven’t changed their strong friendship or their core belief that it’s okay to be weird. The cat whiskers come from within!” (Vendor website)
Cruel Crown, Victoria Aveyard. From the author of Red Queen comes two novellas featuring two new (we think) characters, one red, one silver: ‘Queen Song’, featuring Queen Coriane, and ‘Steel Scars’, featuring Diana Farley. This also includes a sneak peek into Glass Sword, the next book in the series (due out this month, all things being equal).
Want to be the creator of the next Flappy Bird?
Book your place at our free coding and game making workshops in February. Places are limited, so register quickly! The awesome folk over at Gamefroot will be running the workshops, and will cover topics like programming and coding, game strategy, creating characters and artificial intelligence, and game design and principles.
We know, we know; it sounds great -right?
Friday 26th February
9.30am – 3.30pm
Wellington Central Library, Mezzanine Meeting Room
Register at PublicLibraries.org.nz
Here’s a small selection of upcoming YA fiction: some dystopian Sci Fi, a Greek mythology reworking, and an alternate history fantasy of a gangster given a second go at life.
Surfacing, Mark Magro. Featuring an A.I. character, which is cool. “After a nuclear war has ravaged the planet, children of the few survivors are sent to renowned scientist Dr. Parkman and his subterranean Parkman Institute of Science and Solutions. There, they learn, create, and test the latest technologies until they turn 18 and are sent back to the surface to help rebuild society. Sixteen-year-old students Balt and Zoe have begun to realize something is amiss when Zoe is given a glimpse of an entirely different reality during a freak accident, one completely foreign to what Parkman has always described to his students. With the help of Balt and his midterm robotics project, the talkative head of an A.I. called Smith, the three devise a plan to escape the institute and travel through the ruins of the old labs to get to the surface. As they draw closer to their destination, they begin to see that their biggest threat might be each other. The old lab is full of secrets, and some answers are perhaps better left buried.” (goodreads.com)
Arrows, Melissa Gorzelanczyk. “A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom,” is the summary (goodreads.com). A story about Cupid’s son (Aaryn) basically having an incompetent time with one of his arrows (he was supposed to shoot the guy as well as the girl) should be a sort of comedy, but this book looks at some serious themes like teen pregnancy, responsibility, hopes for the future.
At the Edge of Empire, Daniel Kraus. Volume 1 in The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch. “May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected. His second life will be nothing like his first. Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares – and from poverty – in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. Love, hate, hope, and horror – Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?” (goodreads.com)
Rolling on from last week, here are some interesting books due to be published this May.
A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J. Maas. This is the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses by the author of the Throne of Glass series (who is super busy since the next one of those is also due out a bit later in the year!). “Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world cleaved in two” (goodreads.com)
The Crown, Kiera Cass. This is the next in the crazy popular Selection series. “Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult – and more important – than she ever expected” (goodreads.com)
The Rose & the Dagger, Renée Ahdieh. The sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn. “In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse – one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love” (goodreads.com)
The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson. “Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?” (goodreads.com).
So recently we looked at what’s being published in March; here’s April, with an interesting selection (May next week is a bit wow).
The Glittering Court, Richelle Mead. This is a new series by the author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books. The Glittering Court is described as “A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance” (goodreads.com). Adelaide, a countess, poses as her servant in order to escape an arranged marriage. In order to start a new life in the New World she must join the Glittering Court, a place where underprivileged girls go to be transformed into potential upper-class elite (Adelaide should therefore ace this).
Lady Renegades, Rachel Hawkins. The third book in the Rebel Belle series, by the author of the popular Hex Hall series. “Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend, her world goes crazy all over again. Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins – and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from. Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again. Now, it’s a desperate race for Harper to find and rescue David before she backslides from superhero to your garden-variety type – A belle” (goodreads.com).
The Mirror King, Jodi Meadows. The sequel to The Orphan Queen. “Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule” (goodreads.com).
This year’s been a great year for graphic novels and horror, among other things. Here are my top ten picks for the best reads of 2015.
1) The singing bones, Shaun Tan
2) Baba Yaga’s assistant, Emily Carroll
3) Nimona, Noelle Stevenson
4) Part-time Princesses, Monica Gallagher
5) Gotham by midnight, Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith
6) Frozen Charlotte, Alex Bell
7) Calvin, Martine Leavitt
8) When Mr. Dog bites, Brian Conaghan
9) Our endless numbered days, Claire Fuller
10) Silver in the blood, Jessica Day George
Is coming to a movie theatre near you very soon! We’ve just ordered extra copies of the book by Rick Yancey. ‘Mindblowing,’ people say. ‘Unputdownable.’ We shall read it and see!
If you want to get ahead, the second book is called The Infinite Sea. The third instalment will be out in May, so we’ll be ordering this soon and we’ll let you know when you can reserve it.
Mean time, the movie website is quite cool and features pictures of Chloe Grace Moretz looking like ‘huh?’ a lot.
I thought to end the year with a couple of fantasy-type novels that are the third in a series, which is sort of where the similarity ends. Apart from the stories both being excellent!
Half Lost, Sally Green. This is the last book in the Half Bad trilogy. “Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet – an ancient artifact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle. But the amulet’s guardian – the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger – has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with the Gifts he has inherited from Marcus, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…” (goodreads.com)
A Tangle of Gold, Jaclyn Moriarty. This is the third book in the crazy and cool Colours of Madeleine series, which began with A Corner of White. “Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko’s deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King’s attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months. Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she’s about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she’ll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there’s nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound. Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.” (goodreads.com)
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The distance from me to you, Marina Gessner
McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives. (Goodreads)
First lines: McKenna couldn’t believe it. Maybe her ears were malfunctioning. Or her brain was playing tricks on her. Either option-deafness or insanity-seemed better than believing the words coming out of her best friend’s mouth.
If you’re lucky, Yvonne Prinz
When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life? Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying. (Goodreads)
First lines: The phone rang at four o’clock in the morning. Someone on the other end said that Lucky was dead. And just like that I was big brotherless. I didn’t cry. Life without my brother had never even occurred to me. Not once.
Dangerous lies, Becca Fitzpatrick
After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.
But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows. As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks… (Goodreads)
First lines: An angry rap shook the motel room door. I lay perfectly still on the mattress, my skin hot and clammy. Beside me, Reed drew my body to his. So much for 10 minutes, I thought.
Dark metropolis, Jaclyn Dolamore
Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules. Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own. Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.(Goodreads)
First lines: “I’m glad you girls are all here; by the looks of the crowd outside we’ll be busy, even for a Saturday.” Mr. Kortig raked his hand through his hair. “Lotties – I’d like you in the front. Nan, the private rooms. Thea, the balcony.” Who would Thea serve tonight?
The peony lantern, Frances Watts
When Kasumi leaves her remote village for the teeming city of Edo, her life is transformed. As a lady-in-waiting in a samurai mansion she discovers a rare talent for art and falls in love with a young samurai. How could she ever return to the life of a simple mountain girl? But Kasumi must set aside her own concerns. Her country is on the brink of change and Edo is simmering with tension. And her mistress has a dangerous secret-a secret that Kasumi is gradually drawn into…(Goodreads)
First lines: “Kasumi, I need you to go to the forest,” my mother called as I was putting the last futon into the cupboard.
“Have a lovely walk.” Hana was polishing the walls, which glowed a deep amber from years of smoke and soot. “Don’t spare a thought for those of us who have to work around here.”
No true echo, Gareth P. Jones
Nothing ever happens in idyllic Wellcome Valley, much to Eddie Dane’s dismay. Then, one day, Scarlett White steps onto the school bus. She’s a stranger but somehow familiar. Equal parts smitten and intrigued, Eddie tries to get to know her but finds she has more questions about him. Curious questions about his dead mother. One day he follows Scarlett to a remote house, where he witnesses a brutal murder, and suddenly he’s back on the school bus the day he first met Scarlett! Caught in a repeating time loop, Eddie learns the truth about his mother’s death, the nature of his connection to Scarlett, and how his past has shaped a dangerous future…one that he can prevent if he lets go of a person he loves.(Goodreads)
First lines: Since the trial, Liphook had found herself feeling increasingly nostalgic. She didn’t like it. All the other pensioners on the coach might have been content to natter on about the old days, but Liphook had never been interested in looking back. Only now that her memories were shifting and twisting did it feel important to try and cling to the truth. A part of her hoped that by remembering, she would be able to make it more real.
All the major constellations, Pratima Cranse
Laura Lettel is the most beautiful girl in the world. . . and Andrew’s not-so-secret infatuation.
Now he’s leaving high school behind and looking ahead to a fresh start at college and distance from his obsessive crush. But when a terrible accident leaves him without the companionship of his two best friends, Andrew is cast adrift and alone—until Laura unexpectedly offers him comfort, friendship, and the support of a youth group of true believers, fundamentalist Christians with problems and secrets of their own. Andrew is curiously drawn to their consuming beliefs, but why? Is it only to get closer to Laura? And is Laura genuinely interested in Andrew, or is she just trying to convert him?(Goodreads)
First lines: He stood at the top of the stairs and listened. A single note. A vibrational pull. A silk string. Laura.
“Jeeeesus, Jesus saves. He saves…me,” she sang. And then the single note returned, a wordless mmmm. Like the sound you make when you’re kissing someone, or pretending to kiss someone when you’re actually just pressing your face into your pillow.
Concentr8, William Sutcliffe
In a future London, Concentr8 is a prescription drug intended to help kids with ADD. Soon every troubled teen is on it. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Keep the undesirable elements in line. Keep people like us safe from people like them. What’s good for society is good for everyone. Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze have been taking Concentr8 as long as they can remember. They’re not exactly a gang, but Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet, watchful sidekick – the only one Blaze really trusts. They’re not looking for trouble, but one hot summer day, when riots break out across the city, they find it. What makes five kids pick a man seemingly at random – a nobody, he works in the housing department, doesn’t even have a good phone – hold a knife to his side, take him to a warehouse and chain him to a radiator? They’ve got a hostage, but don’t really know what they want, or why they’ve done it. And across the course of five tense days, with a journalist, a floppy-haired mayor, a police negotiator, and the sinister face of the pharmaceutical industry, they – and we – begin to understand why …This is a book about what how we label children. It’s about how kids get lost and failed by the system. It’s about how politicians manipulate them.
First lines: You want to know how I got famous? This is how. Weren’t proper famous. Didn’t last more than a few days. Weren’t popular famous neither. I mean most famous is we-love-you-famous or you-done-something-good famous – this was the opposite. For a few days me and Blaze and the others was the official scumbags of the universe. But what I’m saying is – we ain’t. We ain’t and we weren’t.
Until we meet again, Renee Collins
Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it’s his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence’s life—into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.
First lines: The beach is empty. In the fading glow of twilight, the waves roll up to the rocks in sweeping curls of white foam. The sand glistens like wet steel. The grass bends low in the briny night wind. Always changing, yet always the same. I imagine the beach has looked like this since the beginning of time.
The firebug of Balrog county, David Oppegaard
Dark times have fallen on remote Balrog County, and Mack Druneswald, a high school senior with a love of clandestine arson, is doing his best to deal. While his family is haunted by his mother’s recent death, Mack spends his nights roaming the countryside, looking for something new to burn. When he encounters Katrina, a college girl with her own baggage, Mack sets out on a path of pyromania the likes of which sleepy Balrog County has never seen before. (Goodreads)
First lines: A firebug has woken inside my heart. He feeds on smoke and char and he is always hungry, even when it appears he’s asleep and his flaming eye turned inward. I have done my best to feed him well, slinging him a diet of fires both large and small, yet this has not always held him in check. In fact, nourishing my inner firebug only made him stronger, increasing his appetite tenfold and bringing all manner of calamity to myself and the semi-innocent inhabitants of Balrog County.
Calvin, Martine Leavitt
As a child, Calvin felt an affinity with the comic book character from Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even had a best friend named Susie. Then Calvin’s mom washed Hobbes to death, Susie grew up beautiful and stopped talking to him, and Calvin pretty much forgot about the strip—until now. Now he is seventeen years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hobbes is back, as a delusion, and Calvin can’t control him. Calvin decides that Watterson is the key to everything—if he would just make one more comic strip, but without Hobbes, Calvin would be cured. Calvin and Susie (is she real?) and Hobbes (he can’t be real, can he?) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track down Watterson.
First lines: Dear Bill,
This is Calvin again. I hope it’s okay if I call you Bill. Meaning no disrespect at all, but Bill is easier to type than Mr. Watterson and this is going to be a long letter. I am writing this letter for two reasons. One is because it has to be my English project, which is worth 50 percent of my final grade. My teacher gave me the idea but said it better be a long letter if it’s going to be worth 50 percent.
Modern Monsters, Kelly York
Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went…
And wished he hadn’t. Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler’s life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic is responsible. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie’s best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon. But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened at the party, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…(Goodreads)
First lines: Aaron Biggs leans over me to ask, “How’s it going, Vic?”
His freckled face and dyed black hair obscure my light. I squint at the page of algebra equations on the cafeteria table, decide they aren’t going to make any more sense to me whether or not I pause to see what Aaron wants, and look up at him. “Um. F-fine?”