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Tag: Death Page 1 of 2

I don’t remember the title, but it’s BLUE.

Image thanks to Blue Willow Bookstore

In honor of this wonderful display at Blue Willow Bookstore in Texas, here’s a collection of books with blue covers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Sky Inside, Clare B. Dunkle

Martin lives in a perfect world. Each year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Residents keep track of seasons by taking down the snow from their windows and replacing it with flowers. Every morning families gather to vote on matters of national importance. Today it is the colour of the president’s drapes. It’s business as usual, until a stranger comes to take away the smallest children, including Martin’s sister. No one’s talking about it, and Martin decides he has just two options – continue living in the unspoken looming danger zone, or leave the dubious safety of his home, HM1, and make his way through the supposed wasteland outside.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Six Rules of Maybe, Deb Caletti

Scarlett Hughes is very concerned with the lives of everyone around her all the time, and spends very little time thinking of herself. Out of the blue her sister Juliet comes home from school, pregnant and married to a man she seems to have no interest in, but who is completely besotted with her. Scarlett is prompted to think introspectively and consider the necessity of dreams and speaking the truth.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow To Steal A Car, Pete Hautman

Some girls act out by drinking, taking drugs, harming themselves, harming others. Kelleigh steals cars instead. In How to Steal a Car we are taken on a turbulent journey through Kelleigh’s day-to-day life, one car theft at a time.

(I like that this upends the ridiculous cars-are-for-boys trope!)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBait, Alex Sanchez

After Diego lands himself in probation for fighting, he doesn’t trust his probation officer, Mr. Vidas anymore. But Diego soon realises he needs Mr. Vidas’s help to keep his anger under control. To do that, he must confront the nightmares and memories he has been hiding from. But will anyone believe him, even if he does open up and tell the truth?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNorth Child, Edith Pattou

It was clear Rose had a special fate from the day she was born. But her mother keeps the mysterious circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to keep her from leaving home. But Rose’s nature can’t be denied forever. So when a great white bear turns up one cold autumn evening asking Rose to come away with it in exchange for health and prosperity for her family, she jumps at the chance. The bear takes Rose to an empty castle fortress, where she is joined nightly by a mysterious stranger. Slowly she begins to learn his identity, but in doing so she loses her heart and begins to realise her journey has only just begun.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChasing Brooklyn, Lisa Schroeder

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend Lucca died only a year ago, and her best friend Gabe recently died of an overdose. She is haunted by Gabe every time she closes her eyes, but she can’t fathom why Lucca doesn’t appear too. Nico can’t stop running, from the pain of the loss of his brother Lucca. But emotions run high when Lucca’s ghost starts leaving messages for Nico, telling him to reach out to Brooklyn. But neither will admit they’re being haunted, and until then, no one can rest.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFat Angie, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo (this one features in the display above!)

Angie is broken. By her mother, her bullies, and her own belief that her war-hero sister could still be alive, Angie struggles to get through each day. Hiding under a mountain of junk food doesn’t work and things are looking bleak, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. She is the only one who doesn’t see Angie as “Fat Angie” and knows all too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside.

New Books

a rather grisly theme this week, these new books all have a dead character in the premise.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKilling Rachel, Anne Cassidy (313 pages) – Rose’s mother and Joshua’s father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead. But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks – the murder notebooks – they have discovered. Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel’s death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua’s parents.

First lines: “Rose was hiding. It was dark and cold and she was in a shop doorway staring at two people across the road. The street was busy and a stream of people passed without noticing her, wrapped up against the cold night air.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead Silence: a body finder novel, Kimberly Derting (389 pages) – Violet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers. That is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go. When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself

First lines: “Jay hit the door with his shoulder, but it didn’t splinter beneath his weight or anything quite so dramatic. The handle, which was probably old and in disrepair anyway, fell apart on impact and the door shot open, banging against the wall on the other side. The crashing noise filled the dark house, echoing off the walls.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDeviant, Helen FitzGerald (248 pages) – When 16-year-old Abigail’s mother dies in Scotland she leaves behind a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America. Abigail’s mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What’s more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them. Just as Abigail grows close to her newfound sister, Becky is found dead, the accidental victim of an apparent drug overdose. As Abigail wrestles with her feelings and compiles a “Book of Remembrance” of her sister’s short life, she uncovers a horrifying global plot aimed at controlling teen behavior: one that took her sister’s and mother’s lives, with vast implications.

First lines: “The guy facing Abigail across the desk wasn’t her parent and he wasn’t her friend. “Sit down, Abi,” he said, in a voice that tried to be both. He wasn’t a social worker either, more an unqualified asshole.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDangerous Girls, Abigail Haas (388 pages) – It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love. Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined

As a side note, go read the reviews on Goodreads, they’re full of people exclaiming about how good this book is and what an incredibly masterful storyteller Abigail Haas is. I completely agree with them.

First lines: “”Shots! Shots! Shots!” We yell it together, slamming our hands on the sticky wooden table. The dreadlocked waiter pours a row of something lurid, neon blue. It’s our first night on the island, and the music is almost too loud for me to think; some European dance-pop thing that shakes the crowded beach club, making the glasses quiver and the blood vibrate in my chest.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKill the Music, Nansi Kunze (280 pages) – Most people would love to be Lorna Powell, travelling the globe with her brother and his mega-famous band. Then again, most people don’t realise just how annoying four handsome rock stars can be. A new home and a new school seem like the start of a normal life – until Lorna overhears a chilling plot to silence the band forever. Soon Lorna is drawn into a frantic attempt to identify the killer before they strike. But it’s not easy to track suspects around the world when she’s got homework to do and secrets to protect. And when gorgeous lead singer Marius starts to act strangely, Lorna wonders if she’s had the wrong idea all along.

First lines: “The spa bubbled softly as I stepped into the green marble pool. Scented steam rose from the water; the faint note of a bird chimed in the air. I closed my eyes and sank into the warm depths.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMore than this, Patrick Ness (480 pages) – A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.

First lines: “Here is the boy, drowning. In these last moments, it’s not the water that’s finally done for him; it’s the cold. It has bled all the energy from his body and contracted his muscles into a painful uselessness, no matter how much he fights to keep himself above the surface.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAcid, Emma Pass (429 pages) – The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

First lines: “The first time I notice the new inmate is when we’re all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He’s standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is W.A.R., Lisa & Laura Roecker (278 pages) – Everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club saw Willa Ames-Rowan climb into a boat with James Gregory, the Club’s heir apparent. And everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club watched him return. Alone. They all know he killed her. But none of them will say a word. The Gregory family is very, very good at making problems go away. Enter the W.A.R. – the war to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan. Four girls. Four very different motives for justice and revenge, and only one rule: destroy the Gregory family at any cost.

First lines: “Willa Ames-Rowan never thought she would die. She firmly believed white should be worn before Labor Day, champagne was best enjoyed on an empty stomach, and sleep was for the weak. If it weren’t for the inky black water tugging at her limbs, clawing its way into her mouth, she might have welcomed the dark solitude of Hawthorne Lake. She might have floated on her back, counting stars, dreaming about what it would be like to wake up next to her future husband.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn the Shadows of Blackbirds : a novel, Cat Winters (387 pages) – In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

First lines: “I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.”

New Books

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOut of this Place, Emma Cameron (402 pages) – Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach, working shifts at the local supermarket, and trying to stay out of trouble at school until he can be on his own. Bongo gets wasted, blocking out memories of the little brother Social Services took away from his addict mom and avoiding the stepdad who hits him. And Casey, the girl they both love, longs to get away from her strict, controlling father and start anew in a place where she can be free. When their lives all take very different and surprising paths, will these three friends find a way to come together again?

First lines: “A cave on Pebble Beach, /a bike ride from home, /where the sting of salt air /tears away the built-up wondering /of what to do- /on the last day of holidays, /about Casey, /with my life. /Tomorrow, /school will throw a cover /over the last six weeks /and pack it away. /I don’t mind.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLast Chance Angel, Alex Gutteridge (367 pages) – What would you do for another chance at life? When Jess is knocked off her bike in a traffic accident, she finds herself at the gates of heaven before her destined death date. Given one last chance to say goodbye, she heads back to Earth to visit friends and family. Closely kept secrets are revealed to the now-invisible Jess, and one shocking discovery leads her to the biggest choice she’ll ever have to make.

First lines: “It was a spur of the moment decision to take the bike, one of those uncharacteristic impulses which can change your life and your death. We’d been given this really hard maths homework and I’d left it until the last minute. Even my brother, Jamie, couldn’t work it out and he’s two years older than me and went through all the GCSE stress last year. There was no point bothering Mum.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Rose Throne, Mette Ivie Harrison (390 pages) – Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she’s impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father’s court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power – or the magic – to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

First lines: “”Princess Ailsbet, your father demands your attendance at court this morning,” said Duke Kellin of Falcorn, bowing. He was King Haikor’s new favourite, looked hardly older than Ailsbet, and was dark-haired, tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome in a dark sable cloak over a silver-embroedered tunic.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLinked, Imogen Howson (359 pages) – Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

First lines: “As Elissa and her mother entered the waiting room, the sky above Central Canyon City was a chill, predawn gray, the spaceport a colorless blaze on the horizon. Lines and points of light pricked up from the canyon floor far below.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCatch Rider, Jennifer H. Lyne (279 pages) – Tough-as-nails fourteen-year-old Sid may not have expensive boots like the privileged teen riders in Virginia, but she knows her way around horses. Working with her Uncle Wayne since childhood, she’s learned to evaluate horses, break and train them, care for them . . . and ride like a professional. Amid turmoil at home, she dreams of becoming a catch rider—a show rider who can ride anything with hooves. In this salty, suspenseful teen novel, an unexpected opportunity to ride a top-notch horse in an equitation show takes the small-town girl all the way to Madison Square Garden.

First lines: “It was raining hard and the lightning was getting close. I ran the red gelding down the path in Dunn’s Gap and listened for that moment when a horse is at a full gallop and none of his feet touch the ground, because during that split second, we’re flying.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCrown of Midnight, Sarah J. Maas (418 pages) – After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes. Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

First lines: “The shutters swinging in the storm winds were the only sign of her entry. No one had noticed her scaling the garden wall of the darkened manor house, and with the thunder and the gusting wind off the nearby sea, no one heard her as she shimmied up the drainpipe, swung onto the windowsill, and slithered into the second-floor hallway.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTall Tales from Pitch End, Nigel McDowell (377 pages) – Ruled by the Elders, policed by an unforgiving battalion of Enforcers and watched by hundreds of clockwork Sentries, Pitch End is a town where everybody knows their place. Soon-to-be fifteen-year-old Bruno Atlas still mourns the death of his Rebel father ten years ago, and treasures the book of stories he secretly uncovered: the Tall Tales from Pitch End. After discovering a chilling plot planned by the Elders, Bruno flees, escaping to the mountains where a bunch of disparate young Rebels are planning a final attack on Pitch End. With secrets and betrayal lying around every corner, Bruno will find himself fighting not only for his life, but the life of the town.

First lines: “Bruno Atlas didn’t speak, didn’t scream, only thought with eyes shut tight and a mind full of crimson fireworks: This is it and I’ll be gone soon. I’ll not be here any more. I’m going to die.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWild Awake, Hilary T. Smith (375 pages) – Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away: You will remember to water the azaleas. You will take detailed, accurate messages. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen: A stranger calls who says he knew your sister. He says he has her stuff. What stuff? Her stuff. You tell him your parents won’t be able to— Sukey died five years ago; can’t he— You pick up a pen. You scribble down the address. You get on your bike and go. Things . . . get a little crazy after that. Also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

First lines: “It’s the first day of summer, and I know three things: One, I am happy. Two, I am stoned. Three, if Lukas Malcywyck’s T-shirt was any redder I would lean over and bite it like an apple.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen You Were Here, Daisy Whitney (257 pages) – Danny’s mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see. Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn’t know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore. When he gets a letter from his mom’s property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother’s memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

First lines: “When someone you love has died, there is a certain grace period during which you can get away with murder. Not literal murder, but pretty much anything else. “

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAbsent, Katie Williams (180 pages) – When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn’t an accident–that she supposedly jumped on purpose–she can’t bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all.

First lines: “”When you die,” Lucas Hayes once told me, “it’s like every wound your body has ever had – every skinned knee, paper cut, pimple – opens up and says See? I told you so.” Lucas had held Brooke Lee as she’d jittered and bucked, rolled and foamed, and – yeah – died, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. My best friend, Usha Das, took a different view.”

New Books

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Sin-Eater’s Confession, Lisa J. Bick (287 pages) – People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was … you know. But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy. I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams—even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them. Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands. What I don’t know is if I can trust my own eyes. I don’t know who threw the stone. Who swung the hatchet? Who are the shadows? What do the living owe the dead?

First lines: “Call me Ben. Okay, it’s not Ishmael or anything, but the idea’s the same. Wicked and repentant, that’s me.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHalf Lives, Sara Grant (334 pages) – Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager – until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas. The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain – a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not strike him down, Beckett finds himself starting to question his beliefs. As Beckett investigates The Mountain’s history, Icie’s story is revealed – along with the terrifying truth of what lies at the heart of The Mountain.

First lines: “If you’d asked me that day whether I could lie, cheat, steal and kill, I would have said ab-so-lutely not.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNine Days, Fred Hiatt (239 pages) – Set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China, this heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been kidnapped—and they only have nine days.

First lines: “Already the summer heat is defeating the wheezing air-conditioning unit in a third-floor bedroom window of an apartment in Bethesda, Maryland. A fifteen-year-old girl in a T-shirt and shorts kicks off her sheet, rises and slips into the chair in front of her computer.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFar Far Away, Tom McNeal (369 pages) – Jeremy Johnson once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings.

First lines: “What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and daring, and the ancient ghost … well, let it only be said that his intentions were good.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson (370 pages) – More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

First lines: “Lilly’s lamp blew out as she bolted down the hallway. She threw the lamp aside, splashing oil across the painted wall and fine rug. The liquid glistened in the moonlight. The house was empty. Silent, save for her panicked breathing. She’d given up on screaming. Nobody seemed to hear.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Murmurings, Carly Anne West (370 pages) – Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on. As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not.

First lines: “I’m supposed to wonder why Gregor Samsa is a cockroach. Not how. Why. That’s the way Mrs. Dodd says we need to think if we’re going to analyze The Metamorphosis.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPortraits of Celina, Sue Whiting (349 pages) – Make him pay, Bayley. Make him pay. It’s as if the wooden chest is luring me, urging me to open it – daring me almost. Open me up. Look inside. Come on, just for a second; it won’t hurt. Celina O’Malley was sixteen years old when she disappeared. Now, almost forty years later, Bayley is sleeping in Celina’s room, wearing her clothes, hearing her voice. What does Celina want? And who will suffer because of it? A ghost story. A love story. A story of revenge.

First lines: “The day I turned sixteen we buried my father. No one realised what day it was. Not even me. We were too stunned. How could someone you love die – just like that?”

New Books

The blue covers edition:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMe myself Milly, Penelope Bush (183 pages) – What happened to Milly last summer? She can’t talk about it. Instead, she’s writing her journal. About growing up in the shadow of her twin sister Lily. About the American boy who’s moved upstairs. Milly can’t keep her secret forever – can she?

First line: “This week at the counselling session, Mr Jessop – or Ted, as he keeps telling me to call him – suggested I write a journal.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOne Crow Alone, S. D. Crockett (310 pages) – The cold, bitter winters are getting longer, and a state of emergency has been declared across Europe. After the death of her grandmother and the evacuation of her small Polish village, sixteen-year-old Magda is running out of options. With the help of arrogant, yet resourceful Ivan, she smuggles her way to London. But London is nightmarish and far from welcoming. The pair will need all the cunning and know-how they possess to survive.

First lines: “Of course there were summers. But not then.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFinding Cherokee Brown, Siobhan Curham (331 pages) – When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I’d have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me? But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn’t who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy! Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it’s like waving a wand over your life – the most magical things can happen.

First lines: “I’ve decided to write a novel. If I don’t write a novel I will kill somebody.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnother Life, Keren David (340 pages) – Kicked out of yet another boarding school, Archie couldn’t be happier to find himself back in London with old friends and an exciting social life. But he’s worried about his cousin Ty, who is facing a sentence in a Young Offender Institution and doesn’t seem to be coping. And he’s finding that his old friends have moved on and it’s a struggle to keep up with their new lives. When he begins to learn surprising things about Ty, Archie goes on a mission to discover the truth about his cousin’s past.

First line: “There’s a matchbox of weed sitting on the headmaster’s desk – good quality Dutch skunk. I can smell it, sweet and strong, from my uncomfortably low chair.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInfinite Sky, C. J. Flood (271 pages) – No one should die the way he did. I think about him, in there, with all that space, and I want to stop them. I want to open the coffin and climb in with him. I can’t bear the thought of him being cold. And all the time the same question flails around my head, like a hawk moth round a light bulb. Is it possible to keep loving somebody when they kill someone you love? Sidenote: check out the seriously pretty cover!

First lines: “It was three months after Mum left that the gypsies moved in. They set up camp in the paddock one Sunday night while we were asleep.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJepp, who defied the stars, Katherine Marsh (380 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Jepp’s life is changed forever the day he is whisked from the Dutch countryside to the court of the Spanish Infanta. However, Jepp’s happiness soon turns to misery as he discovers that humiliation and cruelty lurk beneath the court’s glittering facade. Jepp must draw on all his courage and charm to win the woman he loves, find his true identity and become the man he wishes to be.

First lines: “Being a court dwarf is no easy task. I know because I failed at it.”

New Books

Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow (384 pages) – In near-future England, the law has become really tight with digital downloads. If you’re caught three times your household’s internet is blocked for a year. Which is actually not too dissimilar to NZ, actually. Anyway, sixteen-year-old Trent, moviemaker and downloader, gets banned, nearly destroying his family – they all rely on the internet for work. He runs away to London and joins up with like-minded people who are fighting the wealthy media conglomerates that control the government.

First line: ‘I will never forget the day my family got cut off from the Internet, I was hiding in my room as I usually did after school let out, holed up with a laptop I’d bought thirdhand and that I nursed to health with parts from here and there and a lot of cursing and sweat.

Burning Blue, by Paul Griffin (293 pages) – Rich, popular, and pretty Nicole is attacked by someone who throws acid on her face, disfiguring her. Quiet hacker Jay, who goes to her school, decides that he will find out who it was that attacked Nicole, and in the process he begins to fall for Nicole, whose personality is pretty attractive also, evidently.

First lines: ‘I was at the cemetery when it happened. I didn’t even know Nicole at the time. Well, I knew of her. Everybody did.

All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin (225 pages) – Alex is super-pretty, and her parents are rich, so she lives the life. Her sister, Thea, doesn’t quite have the looks, however, and she’s jealous of Alex’s boyfriend, Joshua. They have the house to themselves one weekend and plan a party; Thea also plans to sabotage Alex’s relationship, and she will do anything to get the life that Alex wants. ANYTHING

First line: ‘She gets into the car and then she can’t drive it. Can’t even start the engine for the gift of the air conditioner. She is a living corpse roasting in sun-warmed leather.

The Blood Keeper, by Tessa Gratton (422 pages) – Mab Prowd is a blood witch, and spends her time practising blood magic on the remote Kansas farm where she and other blood witches hang out, doing their thing (i.e., blood magic) and avoiding non-blood magic studies. Mab accidently activates a long-dead and powerful curse, which messes with her magic. It does result in her meeting Will Sanger, a local boy, for whom she develops an attachment. Ooooh

First line: ‘The last thing the Deacon said to me before he died was “Destroy those roses.”

The Lost Prince, by Julie Kagawa (395 pages) – This is book five of The Iron Fey series. It’s about fairies! But not Rainbow Magic fairies, that’s for sure. In this volume Ethan Chase, whose dislike of the Faery realm is such that he ignores them all, has to break his own rules when the Fey start to disappear and his family is endangered.

First lines: ‘My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday. That’s not me being dramatic; it just is.

Illumination, by Karen Brooks (664 pages) – This is book III of The Curse of the Bond Riders, following on from Tallow and Votive. Now Tallow ‘sets in motion forces beyond her control. From Serenissima to Farrowfare, enemies – as well as those she has always trusted – plot to ensure her compliance and, ultimately, destruction. But in doing so, they make a fatal mistake – they underestimate her and the power she can wield.’ Yes I just copied and pasted that

First lines: ‘Dawn infused the glade with a sickly light. In the distance, an owl gave a tired hoot and a gentle wind stirred the trees.

The Assassin’s Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke (298 pages) – Ananna is told that she has to marry some dude from another pirate clan. She’s not keen so abandons ship, only to have an assassin sent after her. She accidently misuses her magic, cursing them both – her and the assassin – and binding them together. To break the curse they must complete three tasks, and soon romance blossoms betwixt them, yarrr.

First line: ‘I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.

99 Flavours of Suck, by Tania Hutley (237 pages) – Kane’s mother is a dog-whisperer with her own television show, and together they track down a sheep-killing dog for her show. He gets bitten and transforms into some kind of werewolf, which results in nonstop itching (among other things). The only way to break the curse is a kiss from his soulmate, Pippa, who unfortunately hates his guts.

First line: ‘On my babe-scale, Pippa Jensen shoots past infinity.

The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron (318 pages) – Katherine is told to sort out her uncle, who is reportedly insane and squandering the family fortune. However, she finds that he’s a genius with clockwork who has employed an entire village of people rescued from London workhouses, and his apprentice is hot. She’s torn between the family she’s part of, the people he’s helping, and the hot apprentice in this romantic gothic adventure.

First lines: ‘Warm sun and robin’s-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum. I had settled this point four hours earlier, while miles of road slipped beneath the carriage wheels.

Regine’s Book : A Teen Girl’s Last Words, by Regine Stokke (329 pages) – Regine Stokke was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, and started a blog in which she  wrote about the last year of her life (she died a year later). This book is reproduction of her blog and many of the comments she received from the hundreds of followers she had, and is full of photos, and you might need a box of tissues with you when you read it.

First line: ‘Tuesday, Nov 4 2008 – Disclaimer; I’ve decided to start a blog about what it’s like to get a life-threatening disease. Some of the content will therefore be too heavy for some people.

The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski (408 pages) – At the age of five, Darcy Jones was abandoned outside a firestation in Chicago. She doesn’t remember much but the new boy – Conn – at her high school awakens old memories. She discovers that she’s in fact from an alternate timeline where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and where Shades prey on humans. She must infiltrate the Shadow Society to reveals what the Shades have planned.

First line: ‘Knowing what I know now, I’d say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing a kitchen knife at me.

Game Changer, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (250 pages) – KT Sutton is the star pitcher of her softball team, and so her life is pretty much softball-centred. However, she blacks out during a game and awakens in a world where sports and academia have reversed roles. Sports is taught all day long, with hours of tedious practice, while everyone obsesses over after-school academic competition.

First lines: ‘KT Sutton swung her arm in a phantom arc. Her hand released a phantom ball. The perfect pitch.

New Books

Here are this week’s fortnight’s month’s new books, where I literally judge books by their covers.

Article 5, by Kristen Simmons (364 pages) – It is the near future and things have changed! The US has revoked its Bill of Rights, and replaced it with some ‘Moral Statutes’. Instead of police, law is enforced by soldiers, who don’t hesitate to arrest for bad behaviour. When Ember’s rebellious single mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes, she leaves her previously unassuming and safe life behind and becomes a rebel with a cause. The Handmaid’s Tale for teens maybe!

First lines: ‘Beth and Ryan were holding hands. It was enough to risk a formal citation for indecency, and they knew better, but I didn’t say anything.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg (375 pages) – Brie is sixteen, and tastes great on crackers with quince. Just kidding! She is an actual human who is sixteen, and when her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, she dies of a broken heart.  And now, stuck in limbo, she must watch everyone deal with her death, while she too must go through the five stages of grief. Luckily (to balance the whole unluckily dying situation) she has the ghost of a boy who died in the 80s to help her.

First line: ‘There’s always that one guy who gets a hold on you. Not like your best friend’s brother who gets you in headlock kind of hold.’

What Boys Really Want, by Pete Hautman (297 pages) – Lita and Adam are both sixteen, and have been friends for ages.  They try not to interfere with one anothers’ love lives, mistaken though they think the other is, but when Adam steals content from Lita’s anonymous blog for a self-help book he is writing, What Boys Really Want, things get hilariously complex.

First line: ‘The idea for the book came to me as a bunch of us were tubing down the Apple River on a nice, sunny day, the last weekend before school started.

The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas(351 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Rose is popular! But when her mother dies, none of that matters so much. Rose’s late mother has left her a ‘Survival Kit’; an iPod, a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a paper star, a box of crayons, and a tiny handmade kite. What can they mean? Well you will have to read the book won’t you.

First line: ‘I found it on the day of my mother’s funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look. There is was, hanging with her favorite dress, the one I’d always wanted to wear.

Tiger’s Voyage, by Colleen Houck (543 pages) – This is book three in the Tiger’s Curse series. Books one and two are already in! I don’t recall seeing them, but they’re in the catalogue. And the catalogue never lies. Here’s what it says about this part of the series: ‘After battling the villanous Lokesh, Kelsey and the Indian princes Ren and Kishan return to India, where Kelsey learns that Ren has amnesia, and five cunning dragons try to keep the trio from breaking the curse that binds them.’

First line: ‘Behind the thick glass of his Mumbai penthouse office once again, Lokesh tried to control the incredible rage slowly circling through his veins.

Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi (376 pages) – After some kind of ecological apocalypse, humanity splits – some live in the Reverie, a kind of haven from the storms that assault the planet, while others survive on the earth, mutated and living pretty primitive lives. Aria leaves the safety of the Reverie to find her missing mother, and meets Perry, an outsider who is also searching for someone. His mutation seems to be looking like a male model! They fall in love! A forbidden romance. ‘Should appeal to both teen and adult readers far beyond dystopia fans’, says Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

First lines: ‘They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.” A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.

Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley (228 pages) – Here is what the catalogue says: ‘Seventeen-year-old Cullen’s summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin’s death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother’s sudden disappearance.’ However! There is a lot more to this multi-award winning book than just that short sentence!

First lines: ‘I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body It wasn’t my cousin Oslo’s. It was a woman who looked to have been around fifty or at least in her late forties.

Someone Else’s Life, by Katie Dale (485 pages) – Another book about a girl coping with her dead mum. Rosie learns that she might have inherited Huntington’s disease, which has recently killed her mother … or she might not, since she also learns that she was actually switched at birth. She discovers a secret that could ‘shatter the lives of everyone around her,’ which can’t be much fun for Rosie, or the girl who might  actually have inherited Huntington’s. Sounds grim. 🙁

First lines: ‘Sunlight dances over the little girl’s dark curls as she toddles clumsily through the dry grass.

Immortal Beloved, by Cate Tiernan (389 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there,s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends . . . when you’re immortal.’ And now, from Youtube!

First line: ‘Last night my whole world came tumbling down. Now I’m running scared.

(We also have the sequel, Darkness Falls.)

Advent, by James Treadwell (439 pages) – This is book 1 in the ‘Advent Trilogy’. Gavin, a disenfranchised youth is sent to his eccentric aunt’s place in Cornwall. At the same time magic returns to the world, 500 years after it was locked away. Its return to the modern world is disruptive and not at all benign. And! Some reviews suggest that this could be the new Tolkien, so there you go.

First line: ‘On a wild night in deep winter in the year 1537, the greatest magus in the world gathered together and dismissed his household servants, wrapped himself in his travelling cloak, took his staff in one hand and in the other a small wooden box sealed with pitch and clasped with silver, and stepped out into the whirling sleet, bound for the harbour and – so he expected – immortality.

Hollow Pike, by James Dawson (314 pages) – Witchcraft! Horror! Lis London has nightmares that someone is trying to murder her. She dismisses the local legends of witchcraft but  … should she? Probably not! This has been enjoyably reviewed on Amazon, where it gets a pretty good rating of 4.5 stars.

First line: ‘Lis knew she was dreaming, although this brought little comfort as the blood ran over her face.’

New Books

Trance, by Linda Gerber (277 pages) – Whenever Ashlyn falls into a trance it means that someone she knows is about to die. And there’s nothing she can do about it! Stink. But! When just as her trances begin to involve (love interest) Jake, she develops a certain understanding and control.

First lines: ‘Sounds are what I remember most. The crunch of metal on metal. Shattering glass. Screams.

Wereling, by Steve Feasey (276 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Trey is the last in a bloodline of werewolves, one of the ‘few things that can actually take on a vampire.’ Is he human? Or is he a werewolf? Yes to both, I guess. He is also falling for a girl who is half vampire, just to confuse matters.

First line: ‘Trey Laporte opened his eyes, wincing against the assault of the late-morning sunshine on his retinas.

Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler (177 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Lisabeth is anorexic, and has subsequently? been appointed to the role of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. “Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking,” and a “fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter.”

First lines: ‘Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. She had a love affair with food, and she’d never liked horses (never mind the time she asked for a pony when whe was eight; that was just a girl thing).

Lucy Unstrung, by Carole Lazar (235 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lucy’s mother had her when she – the mother, not Lucy! – was only fifteen. Lucy’s faith in her Grandmother, God and the Church are put to the test as her family’s income is reduced and relationships go awry. “Humour, angst, and irony.”

First line: ‘When my mom finally walks in the door at nine-fifteen, she acts like nothing’s wrong at all.

The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa (359 pages) – Meghan is half human, and half Summer faery princess. She is a prisoner of the Winter faery queen – war is a’brewing between Summer and Winter – but she knows that the Iron fey are the real danger. Oh and she’s lost her powers and no one believes her. Yow.

First line: ‘The Iron King stood before me, magnificant in his beauty, silver hair whipping about like an unruly waterfall.

Freefall, by Mindi Scott (315 page) – Seth, a bass player in a teen rock band, was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive. Now he has to deal with that, alcoholism, and falling in love with Rosetta, who carries her own baggage (emotional baggage, not actual bags, though sometimes she might).

First lines: ‘This was Daniel’s deal. He’d taken the order, contacted a supplier, and set it all up.

Quaking, by Kathryn Erskine (236 pages) – Matilda, or Matt as she prefers, is a goth girl who goes to live with a Quaker family in Pennsylvania. Her new town is deeply patriotic (about the war in the Middle East) and threats of violence against her new family mesh unhappily with her experience with bullying.

First line: ‘Families come in all varieties but with no warranties.

Inferno, by Robin Stevenson (229 pages) – Dante dislikes her high school. A lot! She wants to be more open about her sexuality, her only friend has moved away, and when she makes new friends she soon finds things can get worse (as hinted at by the title).

First line: ‘The sun is barely up, but the sky is already blue and cloudless.

The Presence : A Ghost Story, by Eve Bunting (195 pages) – Catherine’s best friend died in a car accident and Catherine is left in shock, depressed, and feeling responsible. On holiday she encounters a hot stranger who tells her he can contact the dead – is he for real or is he a figment of her imagination? Suspense!

First line: ‘The ghost stood on the church stairs, watching, waiting for Catherine.

Acting Up, by Ted Staunton (263 pages) – Sam is 6’4″ and slouches so as to not draw attention to himself. I’ve been there, Sam! He also lives in a ‘town full of loonies’ – another coincidence? Also he must grow up and learn what it is to be an adult. Ha.

First line: ‘“You can’t do that,” Sam Foster said, breaking through the knots of students outside the Little Hope Variety.

Saturday Night Dirt, by Will Weaver (171 pages) – “In a small town … the much-anticipated Saturday night dirt-track race  … becomes … an important life-changing event for all the participants on and off the track,” says the catalogue, mostly.

First lines: ‘“Torque wrench.” Trace Bonham, seventeen, short and stocky with unsmiling brown eyes, turned to the big toolbox on wheels.

The Rosie Black Chronicles Bk 1 : Genesis, by Lara Morgan (459 pages) – Five centuries from now, in the city of Newperth (Australia I’m thinking!) is divided into the ‘Centrals’, the much poorer ‘Bankers’, and the fringe-dwelling ‘Ferals’. Rosie, a Banker, finds a box that a mystery organisation will kill to have, and so she’s on the run with Pip, a Feral, and his boss.

First line: ‘Rosie shone her torch down among the scattered bricks.

Lots of New Books

Yes. There are lots of new books! Read them all, that’s my challenge.

Legacies : A Shadow Grail Novel, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (320 pages) – This is the first book in the Shadow Grail series, about a teen girl named Spirit White, whose family die and she’s shipped off to Oakhurst Academy. Everyone there is some sort of magic user! Students start disappearing, and a mystery has got to be solved.

First lines: ‘Someone was moaning. Spirit wished whoever it was would be quiet.

Dark Life, by Kat Falls (297 pages) – The oceans have risen, and people either live on the tiny pieces of land or deep under the ocean. The ocean is a rough, dangerous place to live! Ty and Gemma find themselves venturing into this underwater frontier (for noble reasons!) and discover some dark secrets.

First lines: ‘I peered into the deep-sea canyon, hoping to spot qa toppled skyscraper. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty.

Juggling Fire, Joanne Bell (171 pages) – Rachel grew up in the mountains in Yukon, but she has to move to the city. Then her father disappears, and Rachel – wanting to know why – hikes back through the mountains, where she must confront danger (bears!) and the past.

First line: ‘Mom doesn’t cry when I heave the packs from the pickup; she only blinks hard, squeezes my shoulders and whirls around, like she has to get away from me fast.

Crawlers, by Same Enthoven (261 pages) – Nine kids go to the theatre to see a play and in one evening of sheer horror they encounter some sinister and disgusting mind-controlling hairless, blubbery spidery-octopus things. I will never eat takoyaki again!

First line: ‘In the dark pit that had been my prison for almost three hundred and fifty years, Steadman’s latest victim was regaining consciousness.

Indigo Blues, by Danielle Joseph (231 pages) – Adam is an indie music sensation, and Indigo is the girl who dumped him. He subsequently wrote a song about her, and now she is almost as famous as he is. She’s not too pleased! And he’s still calling her, and she’s like, no way.

First line: ‘When I found out that “Indigo Blues” hit number one on the Billboard charts this morning, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

The Alchemist and the Angel, by Joanne Owen (224 pages) – It is the 16th century, and Jan, an alchemist’s apprentice, is searching for the elixir of life. He travels to Prague, a city rich with alchemy and corruption, and while there he meets a mysterious girl (the ‘Angel of the Ghetto’). This book is beautifully illustrated!

First line: ‘Emperor Rudolf II – Ruler of the World, Aficionado of Alchemy, Collector of Curiosities – shifted in his throne.’

My Rocky Romance Diary by Kelly Ann, (really) by Liz Rettig (313 pages) – The saga of Kelly Ann’s romantic life continues in this, the fourth of her diaries.

First line: ‘First day of term and Mum woke me up at eight but I’d two free periods first thing so I mumbled ‘Leavemealoneandgoaway’.

Reality Check, by Jen Calonita (277 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When a television executive signs Long Island sixteen-year-old Charlie and her three best friends to be the stars of a new reality television show, their lives are suddenly not the same.’

First line: ‘It’s only 3:47 PM. How can that be? It feels like I’ve been here for hours, not just forty-seven minutes.’

The Fire Opal, by Regina McBride (293 pages) – ‘While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own.’ Thanks, Catalogue!

First line: ‘When I was seven years old, my mother and I spent a July afternoon on the foreshore collecting kelp, which we planned to dry and burn for summer fires.

Notes From The Dog, by Gary Paulsen (133 pages) – Okay, this is from the Catalogue again: ‘When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.’

First line: ‘Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.’

So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), by Micol Ostow (Art by David Ostow) (246 pages) – Ari Abramson’s band, made up of four teens from a wealthy Jewish school, suddenly become popular overnight. They now must navigate the ‘minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism.’ Comedy!

First line: ‘There are many things that Jonas Fein does well.

Freak Magnet, by Andrew Auseon (297 pages) – Gloria is a ‘freak magnet’, and in fact keeps a record of all the weirdos who talk to her. Charlie is a freak, so it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in her Freak Folio. However! They’re both burdened by grief and loss*, and so form a connection.

* 🙁

First line: ‘When the world’s most beautiful woman walks into the room, it’s hard to keep from throwing up.

Runaway Storm, by D. E. Knobbe (223 pages) – This is the first in a series (there’s an excerpt of the next book included). Nate has stolen a kayak and has run (paddled?) away from home to some remote Canadian island. He encounters smugglers, real runaways, and a massive, deadly storm.

First lines: ‘Nate slouched out of the elevator and crossed the lobby of the apartment building. The apartment, this building, New York – they had never felt like home.

Beyond Evie, by Rebecca Burton (200 pages) – Charlotte’s life is pretty swell, apart from having lost her father and later falling in love (obsessively!) with Evie, who breaks her heart. ‘Perceptive,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘psychologically intense’ (yet ‘optimistic’ also!).

First lines: ‘You, Evie, told me I was beautiful. I thought you meant you liked me, but I was wrong.

Two Good Thieves, by Daniel Finn (386 pages) – In the Third World slums in a city somewhere in South America, Demi and Baz fight for a better life in a ‘city of thieves’ in this fast-pace, gritty thriller. (It’s also published as She Thief, which we have as a new book this week.)

First lines: ‘The city’s burning. The city is always burning.

Tripwire, by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter (238 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Felix Smith is a soldier, a spy, and a covert bomb disposal expert. He works for ATLAS, who use teenagers for military operations (the enemy don’t expect teenagers!).

First line: ‘Got you. The sight of the bomb hit Felix like a punch in the guts.

Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, by Eric Luper (293 pages) – Seth’s girlfriend dumps him and his father is spotted out on a date with a woman who is not Seth’s mother. So Seth begins an anonymous podcast about the mysteries of love. Soon his life is picking up – he holds a job, makes new friends, and tracks down his father’s mystery date.

First lines: ‘“Come on Seth. Say something.” Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining – like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.

Rush, by Jonathan Friesen (295 pages) – Jake loves taking risks, just to feel the rush. He’s offered a job with a group of firefighters who rappel into wildfires. Very risky! His friend and secret crush, Salome, gets caught up in taking risks also, and the consequences are devastating.

First lines: ‘“Pure insanity.” I whisper at the sky as sheets of rain sting my face.

Sea : A Novel, by Heidi R. Kling (327 pages) – A romance set in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. Sienna Jones travels with her father to Asia to help with an internation relief team, and she meets the ‘most handsome boy she’s ever seen,’ Deni. He though his father died in the disaster but he learns that mightn’t be the case; together, they make the heartbreaking journey to the epicentre of the tsunami’s destruction.

First line: ‘I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.

The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti (321 pages) – Scarlet spends all her time worrying about others, and trying to help them and fix their lives. Often when it means ignoring her own needs! But then she falls in love with her newly pregnant sister’s husband, and finds herself at the centre of a drama (and then some!) for the first time.

First line: ‘You could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of the truck.

Smiling Jack, by Ken Catran (271 pages) – Robert’s well-respected father and uncle are killed in a road accident. He finds a defaced playing-card Jack at the accident site. Soon more people are dying, and the same card is found near each death. A murder mystery with a startling and unexpected twist!

First line: ‘Smiling Jack came into my life about ten-thirty, one November night.

Lies : A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (447 pages) – This is the follow up to Gone and Hunger, about a world where all adults disappear and the remaining kids get all Lord of the Flies/Mad Max on one another. They also have powers! There are mutants, and dark supernatural forces.

First line: ‘Obscene graffiti. Smashed windows. Human Crew tags, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.

Daniel X : Demons and Druids, by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (243 pages) – Alien hunter Daniel X travels to England with his friends to find Beta, an outlaw that takes the form of fire and who killed Daniels parents when he was a wee toddler. Daniel can create anything, has superspeed, can shapechange, and has superstrength! He travels through time as well, and meet Merlin.

First lines: ‘I bet I can see London from here, I was thinking. I was literally 150 feet in the air above a grassy field, outside a charming little village called Whaddon.

Classy : Be a Lady, Not a Tramp, by Derek Blasburg (230 pages) – This is a manual for older teen girls who want to be a classy; how to dress, etiquette to adopt, even what to read and watch. A modern Miss Manners!

Here are the latest magazines:

Entertainment Weekly #1115 – Always good for a twenty-minute read, for it is Quite Interesting.
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #58 – Mafia II | Mortal Kombat | Loads of other games | Wouldn’t it be cool if we had games?
Seventeen September 2010 – Beauty Master Class | Secrets to the Best Date Ever! | 823 (!) Fashion and Beauty Ideas
Girlfriend September 2010 – perfumes | prints | Perry | Patterson | pin-ups

New! Books!

Not too many this week. Sorry, bibliophiles!

Monsters of Men : Chaos Walking Book 3, by Patrick Ness (602 pages! Massive) – This is the third and final volume in the Chaos Walking trilogy, which are all always out and have a hefty reserve queue. It’s won awards! This is a ‘heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.’ Awesome.

First line: ‘“War,” says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting. “At last.”

When Courage Came to Call, by L. M. Fuge (326 pages) – This was started by the author when she was 10, and finished when she was 14. It’s set in the fictional city of Zamascus, just as it is invaded by the nasty Inigo, and Imm and his brother must do whatever they can to survive.

First line: ‘I was in the teaching house when the first bomb hit.

Slice : Juicy Moments from my Impossible Life, by Steven Herrick (222 pages) – ‘Darcy can cope with parents, parties, punch-ups, his infatuation with the beautiful Audrey, even the misadventures of kayaking on a school excursion. If only he’d learn to keep his mouth closed.’ (Pulled from the back blurb.)

First lines: ‘My name is Darcy Franz Pele Walker. Ignore the middle names. I do.

Possessing Jessie, by Nancy Springer (88 pages) – Jessie’s popular brother died a week ago, and when she starts imitating the way he cut his hair, wearing his clothes, and even copying the way he walked, her mother seems to brighten and she (Jessie, not the mother!) becomes the centre of attention at school. But soon this ‘weird obsession’ take over! A remarkably complex story for a book of only 88 pages.

First line: ‘Jessie put on her brother’s True Athlete T-shirt.

Jack Flint and the Dark Ways, by Joe Donnelly (276 pages) – This is the third Jack Flint book. Sorcerers, gargoyles, nightshades, giant spiders, and all kinds of evil badness get in Jack’s path as he continues his search for his old man.

First line: ‘Jack Flint had never felt so completely alone in his life.

Darke Academy : Blood Ties, by Gabriella Poole (288 pages) – This, the second Darke Academy book, has vampires, fairies, and (obviously!) supernatural content, according to the subject headings in the catalogue.

First lines: ‘“Hey kiddo. Are we keeping you up?” The voice sounded familiar, but somehow muffled and distant.

Montacute House, by Lucy Jago (278 pages) – A boy is found dead, and Cess’s friend disappears; are they connected? Cess thinks so, and attempts to solve the mystery, becoming involved in a ‘terrible intrigue’. Set in 1596, and there may be witches.

First lines: ‘“Ugh, droppings between my toes.’ Cess kicked off her clogs anyway, because they were rubbing.

Checkered Flag Cheater, by Will Weaver (198 pages) – Trace Bonham (not Tracy Bonham! Let’s be clear) is the teen driver for a professional Super Stock racing team. He always wins on the track and off the track, but does he deserve it? Let the title offer a clue.

First line: ‘Trace Bonham poked the Seek button.

Breathless, by Jessica Warman (311 pages) – Katie Kitrell is a swimming prodigy, and at her new school she tries to become popular as well as a swimming star, all the while she’s trying to cope with the recent death of her older, institutionalised brother.

First line: ‘There’s a man feeding the koi in our fishpond because my parents don’t want to do it themselves.

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