… March next year! Here’s some stuff we will be expecting (some so new they don’t have covers yet):
Forever Geek, Holly Smale. This is the last in the really popular Geek Girl series. “Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is. Modelling isn’t a sure-fire route to popularity. Neither is making endless lists. The people you love don’t expect you to transform into someone else. Statistically you are more likely to not meet your Australian ex-boyfriend in Australia than bump into him there. So on the trip of a lifetime Down Under Harriet’s to-do lists are gone and it’s Nat’s time to shine! Yet with nearly-not-quite-boyfriend Jasper back home, Harriet’s completely unprepared to see supermodel ex Nick. Is the fashion world about to turn ugly for Geek Girl? It’s time for Harriet to face the future. Time to work out where her heart lies. To learn how to let go…” (supplier information).
The Width of the World, David Baldacci. This is the third book in the Vega Jane series. “Vega Jane continues her quest to understand her history and travel beyond her known world into a dangerous realm full of magic and mysterious beasts. Accompanied by best friend Delph, her dog, Harry Two, and a new accomplice, Petra, Vega Jane must take on the evil magical race of the Maladons, who are determined to wipe them out” (supplier information).
Defy the Stars, Claudia Gray. If you loved the Firebird series then consider reading this new novel; people are calling it “her most epic and ambitious work to date”, which sounds good. “Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic ‘mech’ armies for decades with no end in sight. After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis – even though her plan to win the war will kill him. Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming” (supplier information – thanks suppliers!). Intergalactic, even.
The fill-in boyfriend, Kasie West
When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley. The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship. (Goodreads)
First lines: In some part of my brain, probably the logical part that seemed to be missing at the moment, I knew I should let go and walk away, maintain some of my dignity. Instead, I gripped his waist more securely by wrapping my arms around him and pressed my cheek against his chest. Logic was definitely not ruling my brain right now. Desperation was.
Crimson bound, Rosamund Hodge
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat. Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night? (Goodreads)
First lines: “In all your life, your only choice,” Aunt Leonie said to her once, “is the path of needles or the path of pins.”
Rachelle remembered that, they day that he killed her.
Reborn, Jennifer Rush
The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can’t rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger–especially Nick’s. Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences. (Goodreads)
First lines: I never took to fighting like the others. I could do it well enough. Maybe I was even good at it. But I didn’t like it. Or maybe it was because I liked it too much.
Dorothy must die: stories, Danielle Page
A collection of three prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige! These three prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series follow the iconic characters from the beloved classic The Wizard of Oz as their lives intertwine to bring about the downfall of Oz. Dorothy begins a journey down a darker path. Glinda the Good Witch may not be so Good. And the Wizard realizes that Oz is his destiny. Kiss the land where troubles melt like lemon drops goodbye. Here there’s danger around every corner and magical shoes won’t be able to save you. Long before Amy Gumm got swept away from a Kansas trailer park . . . Dorothy Gale received a mysterious package on the night of her 16th birthday: a pair of red high-heeled shoes. And with a knock of her heels, Dorothy returned to the magical land that made her a star–and Oz would never be the same again. (Publisher’s summary)
First lines: They say you can’t go home again. I’m not sure who said that, but it’s something they say. I know it because my aunt Em has it embroidered on a throw pillow in the sitting room. You can’t go home again. Well, even if they put it on a pillow, whoever said it was wrong. I’m proof alone that’s not true.
Under a painted sky, Stacey Lee
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail. (Goodreads)
First lines: They say death aims only once and never misses, but I doubt Ty Yorkshire through it would strike with a scrubbing brush. Now his face wears the mask of surprise that sometimes accompanies death: his eyes bulge, carp-like, and his mouth curves around a profanity.
The tightrope walkers, David Almond
A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. (Goodreads)
First lines: I was born in a hovel on the banks of the Tyne, as so many of us were back then. It was a three-room dilapidated upstairs flat, in the same terraced row where Dad had been born, and just upriver from Simpson’s Shipyard. Rats slunk under the floorboards, mice scuttled in the walls. The bath hung on a nail on the wall, the toilet was the foot of steep steps outside.
The walls around us, Nova Ren Suma
On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one? (Goodreads)
First lines: We went wild that hot night. We howled, we raged, we screamed. We were girls – some of us fourteen and fifteen; some sixteen, seventeen- but when the locks came undone, the doors of our cells gaping open and no one to shove us back in, we made the noise of savage animals, of men.
The tragic age, Stephen Metcalfe
This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counsellor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college. Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul. With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities. Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at. The tragic age. (Goodreads)
First lines: Pick a subject. Grab a word or headline or rumour. Read about it. Google it. Wiki it. Search and surf it. Stuff it. One site leads to another and then another. A new subject or word or phrase grabs your attention. It takes the place of the first one and you follow that trail, moving on and one, subject to subject, site to site, skimming the surface, never really digging deep, adhesive picking up lint, on and on until you’ve forgotten what it is that got you started in the first place.
The trap, Steven Arntson
In 1963, when twins Henry and Helen and their best friends, Alan and Nicki, try to find Alan’s missing brother, Carl, they stumble into the knowledge of their “subtle forms” that can separate from their physical bodies, and into a criminal’s plot to make himself immortal–at any expense. (Publisher)
First lines: The last day of summer break before the start of my seventh grade year was the first time I ever got punched in the face.
Eye of Newt, Michael Hague (Graphic Novel)
Legendary fantasy illustrator Michael Hague takes readers on a strange and fantastic journey in “Eye of Newt”! As a young wizard’s apprentice, Newt, embarks on a wonderful and perilous quest through the mysterious Netherworld and beyond, he learns a dark secret that could shape his entire destiny. (Goodreads)
Beware the wild, Natalie C. Parker
It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.
Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. (Goodreads)
First lines: It’s no secret, ours is the meanest swamp in Louisiana. Regular swamps are dangerous enough. Loud, stinking things, they hide their claws in the mid between cypress knees, beneath the surface of stale, brackish waters. There are a hundred ways to die all cloaked in the twist of pale trees – gators fast enough to catch a grown man, mosquitoes teeming with disease, stinging plants, hungry black bears, and nasty cotton mouths all filled with spire and patience.
Sweet reckoning, Wendy Higgins
It’s time. Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways. The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk. (Goodreads)
First lines: Not a soul in the Vegas cocktail lounge had any idea demons were in their midst. Not a soul would believe that the four gentlemen receiving appreciative stares and envious glares were some of the best workers of hell ever to walk the earth.
Eternal, C.C Hunter
All her life, Della’s secret powers have made her feel separated from her human family. Now, she’s where she belongs, at Shadow Falls. With the help of her best friends Kylie and Miranda, she’ll try to prove herself in the paranormal world as an investigator—all the while trying to figure out her own heart. Should she chose Chase, a powerful vampire with whom she shares a special bond? Or Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees? When a person with dark connection to her past shows up, it’ll help her decide which guy to choose–and make her question everything she knows about herself.
First lines: Della Tsang swung one leg outside her bedroom window. The sun had risen but hung on the eastern horizon, spilling just enough light to paint that strip of sky a blood-red. The colour had her mouth watering. Her empty stomach rumbled. She needed blood. Later. First things first.
Faking it, Gabrielle Tozer
Things are looking up for Josie Browning. Her boyfriend, James, is crazy about her, and she’s scored a writing job at indi. Now the pressure is on for Josie to prove she’s got what it takes to help plan indi’s launch. Plus, she’s battling with flatmates, frenemies and confusing feelings for travel writer Alex. High on the perks at indi, Josie’s doing a pretty good job of faking her way in the industry – even though she still hasn’t mastered her hair straightener. But when Josie is invited to a media junket, she accidentally sets off a string of lies that threaten to ruin her reputation, love life and career forever. (Goodreads)
First lines: We still hadn’t done it. You know: it. James and I had been together for approximately three months, two weeks, one day, ten hours and five minutes and we still hadn’t said “I love you.” I figured the words would come eventually, and when they did I wanted everything to be perfect.
The new enemy, Andy McNab
Liam Scott has joined Recce Platoon, and it looks like he will be heading for Somalia. His mission is to gather intelligence from behind enemy lines, carrying out top-secret surveillance and dead-letter drops. But he’s new to the game and there’s a lot to learn.Soon Liam is monitoring a den of Al Shabaab militants and hunting a key terrorist target. Can Recce Platoon find their man and get out undiscovered? If the militants find them first, it’s game over…
First lines: The night sky was a grumbling black mass of boiling clouds, rain poring onto an already sodden earth. Liam Scott had been on the run for most of the night now and he was starting to lose track of time. But all he was really concerned about was staying one step ahead of those who were out to catch him. Because when they did, the real pain would start.
Laurinda, Alice Pung
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.
Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity. (Goodreads)
First lines: Dear Linh, remember how we used to catch the 406 bus after school, past the Victory Carpet Factory and the main hub of Sunray, through to Stanley? What an adventure, we used to think them. What a waste of time, looking back now.
The blue castle, L.M Montgomery
Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. (Gooodreads)
First lines: If it had not rained on a certain May morning, Valancy Stirling’s whole life would have been entirely different. She would have gone, with the rest of her clan, to Aunt Wellington’s engagement picnic and Dr. Trent would have gone to Montreal. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it.
Blackfin sky, Kat Ellis
When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened. Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it. (Goodreads)
First lines: Silas’s spirit had inhabited the rusted weathervane for many years. From his perch on the school roof, he watched the townsfolk of Blackfin through his empty eye sockets as they buzzed through their lives, no more significant that the grains of sand piling up against the shoreline and on the struts of Blackfin pier.
Famous last words. Katie Alender
Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message. Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer. All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.
First lines: Nothing glittered. I’d never been to Hollywood before, but like any other person with eyeballs and a television, I’d seen it a thousand times. I expected wide, palm-tree-lined roads and mansions that overflowed with fabulous movies stars. What I got was a normal city.
Girl on a wire, Gwenda Bond
A ballerina, twirling on a wire high above the crowd. Horses, prancing like salsa dancers. Trapeze artists, flying like somersaulting falcons. And magic crackling through the air. Welcome to the Cirque American! Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies. Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist in the Cirque. As more mysterious talismans believed to possess unlucky magic appear, Jules and Remy unite to find the culprit. And if they don’t figure out what’s going on soon, Jules may be the first Maroni to do the unthinkable: fall. (Goodreads)
First lines: I planted my feet on the wire that ran parallel to the rafters. My new act involved a series of ballet-inspired moves, building to a trio of slow but tricky pirouettes, and the barn was the best place to practice. If I mastered these moves today, I’d be showing them off at the next show our traveling family circus offered- Fridays and Saturdays, entry for twelve bucks.
Get even, Gretchen McNeil
Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers. When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose. (Goodreads)
First lines: Bree sat back against the chain-link fence, bouncing her tennis racket lightly against the toe of her black Converse.
“Why do we still have physical education in school?”
John snatched the racket out of her hand. “It’s a political conspiracy to repress the youth of America through enforced humiliation.”
How it went down, Kekla Magoon
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.
In the aftermath of Tariq’s death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.
Tariq’s friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down. (Goodreads)
First lines: Red. Black. White. That’s all I remember. It was a blur, like a dream sequence in the sort of movie that comes with subtitles. Red. Blood, spilling like red link. Black, His hair and skin, and the tar beneath him. He was kind of sprawled out, and it seemed almost right for him to be down there, like he blended in. White. I couldn’t make sense of it at first. It wasn’t a clean white, like snow. More of a wispy, dirty white, like clouds on an average winter day.
Valhalla, Ari Bach
Violet MacRae is one of the aimless millions crowding northern Scotland. In the year 2330, where war is obsolete and only brilliant minds are valued, she emerges into adulthood with more brawn than brains and a propensity for violence. People dismiss her as a relic, but world peace is more fragile than they know. In Valhalla, a clandestine base hidden in an icy ravine, Violet connects with a group of outcasts just like her. There, she learns the skills she needs to keep the world safe from genetically enhanced criminals and traitors who threaten the first friends she’s ever known. She also meets Wulfgar Kray, a genius gang leader who knows her better than she knows herself and who would conquer the world to capture her. Branded from childhood as a useless barbarian, Violet is about to learn the world needs her exactly as she is. (Goodreads)
First lines: Of the million people in Kyle City, there was none so aimless as Violet MacRae. That’s not to say she walked into walls or spoke in tangents, only that she lacked a purpose in life. Every night since she could speak, her parents asked her the same question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Vivian Apple at the end of the world, Katie Coyle
Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth. (Goodreads)
First lines: There came a time when the American people began to forget God. They turned away from His churches and grew arrogant and stupid. God needed a Prophet, and He chose a man called Beaton Frick. Frick was pure of heart and mighty of resources; he lived in a kingdom called Florida.
The great Greene heist, Varian Johnson
Jackson Greene has reformed. No, really he has. He became famous for the Shakedown at Shimmering Hills, and everyone still talks about the Blitz at the Fitz…. But after the disaster of the Mid-Day PDA, he swore off scheming and conning for good. Then Keith Sinclair — loser of the Blitz — announces he’s running for school president, against Jackson’s former best friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby hasn’t talked to Jackson since the PDA, and he knows she won’t welcome his involvement. But he also knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the election whatever the vote count. So Jackson assembles a crack team to ensure the election is done right: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess and cheerleader. Charlie de la Cruz, point man. Together they devise a plan that will bring Keith down once and for all. Yet as Jackson draws closer to Gaby again, he realizes the election isn’t the only thing he wants to win. (Goodreads)
First lines: As Jackson Greene sped past the Maplewood Middle School cafeteria – his trademark red tie skewed slightly to the left, a yellow No.2 pencil balanced behind his ear, and a small spiral-bound notebook tucked in his right jacket pocket -he found himself dangerously close to sliding back into the warm confines of scheming and pranking.
Like no other, Una LaMarche
Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did. When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? (Goodreads)
First lines: There’s a story my mother tells about the night my grandmother got lifted up by the wind. After the first time I heard it, when I was about four, I would demand it constantly, sometimes every night.
One past midnight, Jessica Shirvington
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other. With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?(Goodreads)
First lines: I am a liar. Not compulsive. Simply required. I am two people. Neither better than the other, no superpowers, no mystical destinies, no two-places-at-one-time mechanism – but two people. My physical attributes, my memory and my name follow me. For the past eighteen years, everything else, everything, about me is different.
Shimmer, Paula Weston
Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated. She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the nineteen-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim – a 140-year-old half-angel – whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all. But now Rafa—sexy, infuriating Rafa—is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all. It’s a race against time – and history. And it may already be too late.(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s a lot I don’t know about my life. But here’s what I do know. Eleven days ago I was living in Pandanus Beach with my best friend, Maggie, holding down a job at the library, grieving for my twin brother Jude. I thought I was a backpacker; I thought I’d watched Jude die in a crumpled mess of metal and petrol and dust.
Summer scandal, Marilyn Kaye
Experience the swinging sixties in the second book in this brand-new teen series. It’s the summer of 1964 and the four Gloss interns are back in New York. Sherry is working at Gloss when she gets involved in the civil rights movement and finds herself falling in love with someone she never expected to, Donna is caught up in the world of high fashion and Upper East Side rich kids, Pamela is desperate to become an actress, no matter what it takes, and Allison is finding out that going steady with a teen heart-throb isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The girls are discovering that following your heart sometimes means that you can’t follow your dreams. (Goodreads)
First lines: Sitting behind her desk, Sherry Forrester looked down at the photo of the four grinning young men with shaggy hairstyles. John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The Beatles. There hadn’t been a music phenomenon like this since Elvis Presley.
Trapped, Isla Whitcroft
Have you ever thought of working for a famous celebrity in the south of France, in a yacht? 16-year-old Cate Carlisle lands a glamorous summer job, working for a famous supermodel Nancy Kyle. But the temperature rises, and Cate finds herself in the middle of a very mysterious conspiracy as she discovers smuggled animals with a terrifying fate ahead of them… (Goodreads)
First lines: Deep down, below sea level, was a room so secret that only five people in the entire world knew of its existence. Carefully regulated artificial daylight, air supply and temperature made it perfect for long-term survival and indeed the walls of the room were lined with animal cages of varying sizes, stacked high on top of one another.
Trial by fire, Josephine Angelini
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe. What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.(Goodreads)
First lines: Lily Proctor ducked into the girls’ room, already yanking back her rebellious hair. Aiming for the toilet through a blur of tears, she vomited until her knees shook.
Remembrance, Theresa Breslin
Scotland, 1915. A group of teenagers from two families meet for a picnic, but the war across the Channel is soon to tear them away from such youthful pleasures. All too soon, the horror of what is to become known as The Great War engulfs them, their friends and the whole village. From the horror of the trenches, to the devastating reality seen daily by those nursing the wounded, they struggle to survive – and nothing will ever be the same again.
“It’s not quite respectable.”
Charlotte took off her cape, hung it on the hall stand and faced her mother’s disapproving look.
“It is a Red Cross uniform, Mother, and we are at war. I’m not trying to look respectable. I’m trying to be useful.”
Wild, Alex Mallory
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?
First lines: There’s a secluded camp deep in the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s not a summer escape. There’s no tent here. This is a living space. Comfortable. Tidy. Laundry hangs on a line, and Brendan Walsh sits in the open, scraping a hide.
Are you seeing me? Darren Groth
Twins Justine and Perry are about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been a year since they watched their dad lose his battle with cancer. Now, at only nineteen, Justine is the sole carer for her disabled brother. But with Perry having been accepted into an assisted-living residence, their reliance on each other is set to shift. Before they go their separate ways, they’re seeking to create the perfect memory. For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of his favourite things: mythical sea monsters, Jackie Chan movies and the study of earthquakes. For Justine, it’s a chance to reconcile the decision to ‘free’ her twin, to see who she is without her boyfriend, Marc – and to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs. But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble … (Goodreads)
First lines: Perry is standing on the far side of the metal detector, feet planted on the red stripe. Beads of sweat dot his forehead. His right leg twitches, keeping pace with some inaudible rhythm.
Hunted, Charlie Higson
The sickness struck everyone over fourteen. First it twisted their minds. Next it ravaged their bodies. Now they roam the streets – Crazed and hungry.The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all-alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous- because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…(Goodreads)
First lines: His teeth sank into the boy’s neck and he felt a warm spurt of blood fill his mouth. A deep calm came over him. The chattering in his head fell silent. The fidgeting and the twitching in his arms and legs stopped. The deep itch dulled.
Chorus, Emma Trevayne
The dream is all white from a memory that is too real, and its melody has continued to haunt Alpha, even though she has moved as far away from temptation as possible. Eight years after she was exposed to her first and only addictive musical track from the Corp, Alpha has established a new life with a band of her own in a city that has given her the space she was seeking, Los Angeles.
However, it only takes one urgent call to bring Alpha back home to Anthem, the older brother who raised her as well as a revolution, and Omega, her twin brother whose contrasting personality makes her feel whole. As Alpha spends more time in the Web, she notices that the number of people who look sickly and addicted seems to be rising. With Anthem’s health declining, Alpha and her friends will have to dig deeper into the mainframe than ever before in order to find the root of the Corp’s re-emergence.(Goodreads)
First lines: It’s white, everywhere. Walls, floor, teeth. The woman’s smile is the last thing I see before my eyes close, the unbearable sound taking over my ears, my head, the whole world. Unbearable because it’s too beautiful, too much. Why wouldn’t anyone keep this sound of sunlight and polished wood and a gentle voice to themselves?
Rebel, Amy Tintera
Wren Connolly thought she’d left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything. Now that they’ve both escaped, they’re ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.
With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there’s only one option left… (Goodreads)
First lines: Wren was silent. She stood completely still next to me, staring straight ahead with that look she got sometimes, like she was either happy or plotting to kill someone. Either way, I loved that look.
Complicit, Stephanie Kuehn
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie. Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell. (Goodreads)
First lines: My phone is ringing. It’s 3:29. In the morning. The phone keeps ringing. Or not ringing really – the Monk song I have programmed is what’s playing, and the notes, the beat, sound sort of sad, sort of mournful, against the bleak-black December night.
100 sideways miles, Andrew Smith
Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.
Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.
First lines: Look: I do not know where I actually came from. I wonder, I suspect, but I do not know. I am not the only one who sometimes thinks I came from the pages of a book my father wrote. Maybe it’s like that for all boys of a certain -or uncertain-age: We feel as though there are no choices we’d made through all those miles and miles behind us that hadn’t been scripted by our fathers, and that our futures are only a matter of flipping the next page that was written head of us.
Rivals in the city, Y.S Lee (298 pages)Convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and the Agency asks Mary to take on one last case: to watch for the return of his estranged wife. Mrs Thorold is an accomplished criminal and will surely want to settle scores with Mary’s fiancé, James. With the additional complications of family and conflicting loyalties, the stakes for all involved are higher than ever.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was a miserable day for a walk: sleety, frigid, dark. Nevertheless, Mary Quinn and James Easton, Private Detectives, were out for a ramble about Bloomsbury, bundled against the freezing perpetual drizzle, straining to distinguish people from lampposts in the dense fog that swamped the streets.
Sekret, Lindsay Smith (341 pages)Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.
Russia’s powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn’t the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.
Yulia is a survivor. She won’t be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won’t let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won’t become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia. (Goodreads)
First lines: My rules for the Black Market are simple. Don’t make eye contact -especially with men. Their faces are sharp, but their eyes sharper, and you never want to draw that blade. Always act as though you could walk away from a trade at any moment. Desperation only leaves you exposed.
Sleep no more, Aprilynne Pike, (340 pages)Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town. (Goodreads)
First lines: Ten years earlier: I sit on the itchy couch and stare at Mommy’s eyes, wishing for them to open. Everyone tells me she’s going to wake up, but it’s been two days. Aunt Sierra promised and the doctor said so. But Daddy’s not coming back. Ever. In my vision, it was Sierra who died. I was just trying to stop that.
Sunrise, Mike Mullin (542 pages)The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions. When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
First lines: I left the farmhouse in the darkest hour of the night to make a weapon. The light from my oil lamp drew a pitiful circle of gray around my feet. Other lams and torches shone here and there amid the ramshackle refugee encampment surrounding Uncle Paul’s farm, fading pockets of humanity in the chaotic dark. People huddled within the lights, cleaning guns and sharpening knives.
The bow, Catherine Mayo (362 pages)“There’s only one arrow, but you only have to shoot one man. I know you won’t miss.”
War is coming to Bronze Age Greece. It’s time to skill up. And Odysseus’s challenges are mounting. Can he find his grandfather’s hidden gold? Find the strength to string and shoot from the Great Bow of Eurytos, which no man has done for generations? Toughest of all, can he persuade a girl to love him? (Goodreads)
First lines: It had been a good morning for hunting, their last chance before the war began in earnest. They’d been up over Mount Neion, the three of them, and the thought of a second breakfast was making Odysseus’s stomach rumble.
Geek girl: picture perfect, Holly Smale (408 pages)Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is “Ever Upward”. She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon. But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to “become a brand”, as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren’t coming from your boyfriend…(Goodreads)
First lines: My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a girlfriend. I know I’m a girlfriend because I can’t stop beaming. Apparently the average girl smiles sixty-two times a day, so I must be statistically stealing someone else’s happiness. I’m grinning every thirty or forty seconds, minimum.
In the end, Demitria Lunetta, (432 pages)It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.
Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.
One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.
First lines: I long for the comfort of night. The sun feels warm on my face. Before, sunshine was a good thing. But this is After, and outside of New Hope, the light means only one thing if you’re not armed: death.
The chapel wars, Lindsey Leavitt (292 pages)Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax. Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.
First lines: Inheritance. I hate that word. Translation:Sorry someone you like kicked the bucket; now here’s your present. It’s like getting hit by a car, only to make a fortune in the lawsuit. People constantly remind you what a financial blessing that accident was, such a sweet silver lining, when the truth is, you still got hit by a car.
The sky so heavy, Claire Zorn (294 pages)For Fin, it’s just like any other day – racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe, Lucy. Only it’s not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated. (Goodreads)
First lines: There are two things I know right now: one is that a guy is holding a gun to my head, the other is that I don’t want to die. I guess I could try to look at it from the positive side: I’ve made it seventeen years without anyone trying to kill me.
Soldier doll, Jennifer Gold (277 pages)Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bryant is not happy. She’s had to leave all her friends behind and move across the country for her dad’s job in the military. One hot summer evening during her first week in her new city, she’s out killing time at a local garage sale when she spots a little soldier doll amid the junk. She thinks only that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to Afghanistan. She doesn’t realize that it might be a missing (and very valuable) historical artifact. With the help of Evan, the cute guy she’s just met at a local used book store, Elizabeth discovers that the doll might be THE soldier doll: the inspiration for a famous World War I poem of the same name.
Elizabeth’s story is interwoven with the amazing, tumultuous story of the soldier doll itself. Fashioned with love by a father for his only child in England years ago, we follow the doll back to England during World War I, then on to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a Czech concentration camp during World War II, Vietnam in 1970 and through the aftermath of 9/11. (Goodreads)
First lines: It looks like a doll-at first. It has a doll’s baby face, complete with pink cherubic cheeks and rosebud mouth. The craved and painted hair is soft-looking and yellow-blond. A closer look, however, tells a different story.
Girl in reverse, Barbara Stuber (320 pages)When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and fear of “commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin. Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box hidden in the attic. In it are a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum. She encounters the artistic genius Elliot James, who attracts and infuriates Lily as he tries to draw out the beauty of her golden heritage. Will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? The real story, and one she can know only by coming face-to-face with the truth long buried within the people she thought she knew best.
First lines: “Say it, Lily.”
I bow my head, close my eyes, press my hands together.
nancy bends down and whispers, “Again…like a magic prayer.”
“Choose me. Please.”
Swagger, Carl Deuker (297 pages)When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. (Goodreads)
First lines: All this started about a year and a half ago. Back then I was a junior at Redwood High in Redwood City, a suburn twnty-five miles south of San Francisco. In those days, before Hartwell, before Levi, I took things as they came, without thinking a whole lot about them. Maybe that’s because most of the things that came my way were good.
Anything to have you, Paige Harbison (303 pages)Natalie and Brooke have had each other’s backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can’t remember and Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, can’t forget. Suddenly there’s a question mark in Natalie and Brooke’s friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.(Goodreads)
First lines: I heard her before I saw her. Music blasted from inside her car despite the fact that she was in a quiet neighborhood. I climbed in, and she turned down the volume.
The Osiris Curse, Paul Crilley (286 pages) When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blueprints for his super weapons are stolen, Tweed and Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. What’s more, it seems that the people who shot Nikola Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. As the two cases intertwine, Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Set. Fleeing the cult’s wrath, they go undercover on the luxury airship, The Albion, setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed-out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza.In Egypt, the duo begin to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth-shattering that if revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world. But if the cult’s plans aren’t stopped, Britain may lose the future.(Goodreads)
First lines:Death stalks the streets of London. The winter wind, sensing its presence and feeling some distant, ancient kinship, soars above the frozen city, tossing snowflakes though the oil-black sky as it searches for its location.
Half Bad, Sally Green (394 pages)Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished by the arms of an old chair. You’re the one on the left. The other boy’s warm to lean close to, and he moves his gaze from the telly to you sort of in slow motion.
“You enjoying it?” he asks.
Backward glass, David Lomax (315 pages) Crack your head, knock you dead, then Prince Harming’s hunger’s fed. It’s 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family’s new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible–a mummified baby and a note: “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him.” Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other “mirror kids” in the past and future is exciting, but there’s also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true–and he’s hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby–and confront his own destiny.(Goodreads)
First lines: Here’s what you need to know: You’re my son and you’re something like negative twenty-two, because that’s how long it will be before you’re born. I have a story to tell you. Most of it happened right here in Scarborough, forty, fifty, even sixty years ago, but it happened to me. Last year. 1977. The year I turned fifteen.
Where the stars still shine, Trish Doller ( 336 pages)Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.(Goodreads)
First lines: Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again. The muffled creak of the floorboards beneath the shabby carpet gives her away, along with the stale-beer-and-cigarette smell that always follows her home from the Old Dutch.
Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea (331 pages)Everyone in the broken-down town of Chelsea, Massachussetts, has a story too worn to repeat—from the girls who play the pass-out game just to feel like they’re somewhere else, to the packs of aimless teenage boys, to the old women from far away who left everything behind. But there’s one story they all still tell: the oldest and saddest but most hopeful story, the one about the girl who will be able to take their twisted world and straighten it out. The girl who will bring the magic.Could Sophie Swankowski be that girl? With her tangled hair and grubby clothes, her weird habits and her visions of a filthy, swearing mermaid who comes to her when she’s unconscious, Sophie could be the one to uncover the power flowing beneath Chelsea’s potholed streets and sludge-filled rivers, and the one to fight the evil that flows there, too. Sophie might discover her destiny, and maybe even in time to save them all.(Goodreads)
First lines: Chelsea was a city where people landed. People from other counrties, people running from wars and poverty, stealing away on boats that cut through the ocean into a whole new world, or on plabes, relief shaking their bodies and they rattled into the sky.
I lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin (454 pages)Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile;until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can’t deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered subversive; and dangerous to Chile’s future. So Celeste’s parents, her educated, generous, kind parentsmust go into hiding before they, too, must disappear. To protect their daughter, they send her to America.As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again? (Goodreads)
First lines: The blue cloud finally opens-just when the bell rings to let the Juana Ross School out for the weekend. I’d been wtaching the sky from the classroom windows all day, wondering just when the rain would pour down.
The mirk and midnight hour, Jane Nickerson (371 pages)A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour. Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.(Goodreads)
First lines: he was already dead. Maybe. He had been greviously wounded-he had expected to die anyway-but they did something to him that sucked out the rest of his feeble life and will, except for the tony spark of spul that hunkered mutely deep inside.
An excellent-looking new New Zealand book, a couple of crazy popular series, and the Norse gods’ take on America.
Dear Vincent, Mandy Hager (June/July) – the new novel by the New Zealand author of the Blood of the Lamb trilogy. “17 year old Tara McClusky’s life is hard. She shares the care of her paralysed father with her domineering, difficult mother, forced to cut down on her hours at school to help support the family with a part-time rest home job. She’s very much alone, still grieving the loss of her older sister Van, who died five years before. Her only source of consolation is her obsession with art and painting in particular. Most especially she is enamoured with Vincent Van Gogh: she has read all his letters and finds many parallels between the tragic story of his life and her own. Luckily she meets the intelligent, kindly Professor Max Stockhamer (a Jewish refugee and philosopher) and his grandson Johannes, and their support is crucial to her ability to survive this turbulent time.” (goodreads.com)
Crushed, Sara Shepard (June/July) – the 13th (13!) in the Pretty Little Liars series. “It’s springtime in suburban Rosewood, which means iced soy lattes, fresh manicures in shimmering pastels—and prom. But while everyone else is flipping through the racks at Saks in search of the perfect dress, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Aria are on a different kind of hunt: They’re looking for A… Hanna puts her campaign for prom queen on the back burner to volunteer at the burn clinic, where one of A’s victims is recovering. Emily digs into Ali’s past at the mental hospital with some very crazy consequences. Spencer contacts a private eye to help her stalk her stalker. But when their sessions get a little too private, they may forget to keep their eyes on A… And Aria’s worried that A is even closer than she thought. When her dark secret from Iceland finally comes to light, she discovers that maybe, just maybe, the one person she’s been trying to hide the truth from has known all along. The liars are finally taking the fight to A. But no matter what they do, A’s always one step ahead, ready to crush the girls completely.” (goodreads.com)
Black Friday, Robert Muchamore (September) – the 3rd in the Aramov subseries of the über popular CHERUB phenomenon. “The Aramov Clan has splintered into two rival factions and Ryan is joined by more CHERUB agents as his three year mission enters its final phase. Ryan is about to board a plane, knowing that the next twenty-four hours will change everything. His mission is to stop the biggest terrorist attack America’s ever seen. Ryan works for CHERUB, a secret organisation with one key advantage: even a trained terrorist won’t suspect that a teenager is spying on them. For official purposes, these children do not exist.” (goodreads.com)
The Lost Sun, Tessa Gratton (July) – the first in an interesting-sounding new series set in an alternate United States founded by Norse Gods. “Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood – the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd’s Academy. But that’s hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That’s not all Astrid dreams of – the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities. When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they’ve been told they have to be.” (goodreads.com)
The Last Minute, Eleanor Updale (268 pages) – There’s a sudden explosion in the middle of an English town, creating terrible destruction, confusion and panic. The Last Minute tells the stories of the people of Heathwick, in which there may be clues as to what happened, and why.
First sentences: Dust. A cold wind. The first shards of icy rain.
The Madness Underneath, Maureen Johnson (290 pages) – this is the second in the Shades of London series – the first (The Name of the Star) got librarian’s choiced. Rory returns to London to discover she’s developed the power to extinguish ghosts on contact. The Ripper copycat is gone, but there’s a series of new, unexplained deaths in the city, and Rory’s sure they are linked. But can she convince the Shades that something awful is going on? We do hope so.
First sentence: Charlie Strong liked his customers – you don’t run a pub for twenty-one years if you don’t like your customers – but there was something about the quiet in hte morning that pleased him no end.
Passion Blue, Victoria Strauss (342 pages) – “In fifteenth-century Italy, seventeen-year-old Giulia, a Count’s illegitimate daughter, buys a talisman hoping it will bring her true love to save her from life in a convent, but once there she begins to learn the painter’s craft, including how to make the coveted paint, Passion blue, and to question her true heart’s desire. Includes historical notes and glossary.” (catalogue description)
First sentence: The clouds broke apart and sunlight flooded down, burnishing the rough bark of the apple trees and tossing their shadows across the grass.
Miss Fortune Cookie, Lauren Bjorkman (276 pages) – Erin is the brain behind the advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. All’s going well, and the blog is really popular, but things turn a bit custardy when her former best friend writes in for advice, and then acts on it. Erin tries to fix the ensuing mess, which leads to more craziness (but possibly also love).
First sentence: My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity.
Elemental, Antony John (326 pages) – In the near future, Thomas thinks himself unspecial: he’s the only child born into the Outer Banks colony without the power of an element. When pirates capture the colony’s Guardians and threaten to take over the island, Thomas and his friends run, fighting for survival in an abandoned settlement. There he finds secrets that will turn his world upside down.
First sentence: Thunder rattled the aging wooden cabins, but no one stopped to listen.
Hidden, Marianne Curley (325 pages) – Ebony is snatched at birth from her midwife and brought to earth to be hidden from her relatives who are searching for her. She’s grown up blissfully unaware of her origins, but things are about to change. When Ebony comes of age, she will be “visible” – to both her family and the one who stole her. “Who will find her first?” is the question the cover is asking.
First sentence: Do you ever stare at your reflection and wonder who that person is looking back at you?
Bad Hair Day, Carrie Harris (228 pages) – “Future physician Kate Grable is thrilled to shadow the county medical examiner, but when he is arrested for murder and Kate is left to run the morgue, she discovers that something is killing students – something very hairy and strong.” (catalogue)
First sentences: “Braaaains!” After all the zombie attacks, even the word made me twitchy.
Live Through This, Mindi Scott (289 pages) – Coley Sterling’s life appears to be perfect, and she works hard at this appearance. Underneath, she’s hiding a dreadful secret she’s kept for ten years. When it looks like her crush on Reece might turn into a real romance, the secret threatens to come out and turn her life into a nightmare.
First sentence: I’m on my bed, under the covers, and my boyfriend is kissing my neck.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, by Kat Rosenfield (279 pages) – Becca is keen to leave the small town where she grew up. Her boyfriend dumps her, and the body of a girl Becca’s age is found the next day, and Becca is suddenly too unsure and too shaken to gather the will to leave. “Horrifying,” “emotionally arresting,” and a “raw debut.”
First line: ‘They found her just after dawn on June 24th, crumpled awkwardly by the side of the road with a rust-coloured blossom drying in the dirt beneath her.‘
Hidden : A Firelight Novel, by Sophie Jordan (264 pages) – Siteen-year-old Jacinda can turn into a dragon, and now she must surrender her giant lizardy self to her enemies in order to destroy them. From within! This is the third book in the series, aaaand it’s also the last one.
First (amazing) line: ‘The air traps hot inside my lungs as I hover outside the van, peering within, studying the shadowed depths, so reminiscent of another van not so long ago.‘
Smart Girls Get What They Want, by Sarah Strohmeyer (348 pages) – Three pals – Gigi, Bea, and Neerja – are very smart overachievers, and are all certain that once they leave school for Harvard or Princeton or whatever their lives will be just awesome. They probably will! But in the meantime they decide that they’re missing out on the full highschool experience, so make a pact to face their fears and do something about it.
First line: ‘Before Bea, Neerja, and I got everything we wanted from high school – the adoration, the fun, the fame, and the super-hot boys – all we did was study.‘
The Diviners, by Libba Bray(578 pages) – It is 1926, and New York is pretty swell. It’s the tops! Evie is excited to move there, but she has to live with her occult-obsessed uncle, who she fears will discover her secret occult powers. However, something evil and dark has awoken, and the bodies begin to pile up.
First lines: ‘In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes. There’s a party going on – the last of the summer.‘
Carnival of Souls, by Melissa Marr (306 pages) – Mallory is a witch! As is the rest of her family, who all some time ago fled the City of Daimons where they lived. Now in the human world, Mallory must always be on the watch for any daimons out to get her. At the City’s heart is the Carnival of Souls, where once every generation the chance to join the ruling elite is up for grabs in deadly competitions. Soon Mallory must face the Carnival. I think! I’m not doing a good job of summarising this one.
First lines: ‘The man – witch - who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what she’d expected. In truth, he looked no different than many daimons she’d met: implacable expression and a musculature that would serve him well in one of Marchosias’ fighting competitions.‘
Drift Race, by David Jubermann (342 pages) – Leon grew up in Japan, but moves back to NZ with his mother. He becomes involved in the world of drift racing, which he thought he’d left behind. In no time at all he ‘spirals into an exciting world of adrenaline, fast cars and high-speed chases,’ and becomes a top competitor. BUT! Death and danger await around the corner (maybe literally?) – will he be okay?
First line: ‘They were tired – all of them, near the end of their endurance.’
Geek Charming, by Robin Palmer (338 pages) – This is the book that was the inspiration for ‘the Disney Channel original movie Geek Charming.’ If I had to guess (without reading the blurb) it is about a geek who is in fact a prince! Or a geek who gets a make-over and a girl falls for him! Maybe she kisses a geek and he turns into a prince. Or all of that? Who knows
First line: ‘One day as I was watching Oprah, waiting for her to get to her “Favourite Things for Spring” segment (she has the cutest taste in accessories), I heard this self-help guru guy say that the word for crisis in Chinese is actually two words: danger and opportunity.‘
Betrayal, by Gregg Olsen (273 pages) – This is the second Empty Coffin Novel (Envy was the first). Twins Hayley and Taylor are murder solving slueths in a Washington town that is sometimes called ‘Empty Coffin’ after some old piece of creepy folklore probably. The twins have some supernatural abilities that allow them to receive clues from the dead, often via Scrabble tiles. (Here’s my usual Scrabble message: ‘QZKKCYTP’ or something.)
First line: ‘Olivia Grant wasn’t exactly sure what she’d expected America to be like, but Port Gamble, Washington, most certainly wasn’t it.‘
Justice and Utu, by David Hair (320 pages) – This is the third book in Hair’s Aotearoa series, and the sequel to The Lost Tohunga; ‘thrilling young-adult fantasy novels drawn from the mythology and history of New Zealand.’ They have all won or been nominated for awards, and you can read the first chapter of the latest book on the author’s official website. Or the first few sentences of the prologue, here, on this ol’ weblog.
First lines: ‘Twelve-year-old Evie van Zelle loved cards and games, and knew dozens of card tricks. She’d been superstitious all her life: wouldn’t cross the path of a black cat, go under a ladder or step on cracks.‘
Slated, by Teri Terry (438 pages) – Kyla may or may not have been a terrorist, but whatever happened she’s been ‘slated’: her memory has been wiped and her personality reset. She even gets a new family. It is sort of a second chance for hardened criminals, such as herself (maybe). But she still recalls faints memories of what she once was, and it seems that maybe someone is lying to her. A thriller.
First lines: ‘Weird. All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to bas this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you.‘
Among Others, by Jo Walton (302 pages) – Morwenna grows up in Wales, reading sci-fi and playing with fairies. Her mother, a sorceress, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends (she’s up to no good), Morwenna has to battle her, resulting in her twin sister’s death. Now, sent to a boarding school in non-magical England by her remote father, her magic attracts her mother – who’s looking for her, and Morwenna won’t be able to escape. Aren’t you glad your mum isn’t an evil sorceress?
First line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.‘
Invisible Sun, by David MacInnis Gill (370 pages) – This is the companion to Black Hole Sun. Durango is a sixteen-year-old mercenary who, with his girlfriend, live on the wild frontier that is newly colonised Mars. The first chapter starts in Christchurch, the Capital City of the Zealand Perfecture, and is the largest city on Mars, so we must do something right in the future, I guess?
First line: ‘Vienne points the gun, squeezes the trigger, and fires a live round square into my chest.‘
Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (514 pages) – High-school student Haven Terra gets an amazing job as an intern to Aurelia Brown, a rich, powerful A-lister who owns the fabulous Chicago hotel Haven gets to live in. She is lucky! But is she really. No, probably not. Aurelia and her circle of minions, the Outfit, are in the business of buying souls, and does Haven want anything to do with that? What does her destiny hold? The first in the Gilded Wings trilogy.
First line: ‘Up until that point, English class had been unremarkable.‘
A Waste of Good Paper, by Sean Taylor (293 pages) – Jason’s been given a diary to write in by Pete, a teacher at the school for boys with behaviour difficulties where Jason has been sent. Because he’s good at writing, if a little reluctant to actually fill in the pages. But things worth recording happen! And so his diary isn’t the waste of good paper Jason initially thought it would be.
First line: ‘Friday the 6th of March - Pete says this is a writing boook that he’s only giving me and he says it’s called JASON’S JOURNAL.‘.
Little Sister, by Aimee Said (301 pages) – Allison can’t wait for her older sister, Larrie, to leave their (Australian, if it matters? just setting the scene) high school so that she can make her mark, for her older sister is super-popular and smart. But when a rumour about Larrie surfaces online, Allison finds that she is in the spotlight for unwanted reasons. Also there is a boy she likes.
First lines: ‘Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.‘
Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur (250 pages) – Going to copy this off the book cover: ‘Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning. How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic?’ Also; ghosts.
First line: ‘There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends.‘
The Lost Crown, by Sarah Miller (412 pages) – There have been several YA books lately about the last Tsar of Russia and his family; this one focuses on his daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. History tells us how it all ends (pretty tragically!), but The Lost Crown ‘recounts the days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism, and true compassion.’ Quite a grim epilogue you can be sure.
First lines: ‘Our luggage is packed and we’ve said our good-byes. The palace is as dark and still as a museum at midnight, but it’s been hours and the train still isn’t here.‘
Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows (374 pages) – In Range, a million people have been reincarnated for thousands of years, each time able to remember their past lives. Until Ana comes along; she is a new soul, and is subsequently distrusted and feared by people. But not Sam, who develops a relationship with Ana. Romance! Fantasy! Thrills! Book one in a planned trilogy!
First lines: ‘I wasn’t reborn. I was five when I first realized how different that made me.‘