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

    New books

    20.03.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

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

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

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo kill a kingdom, Alexandra Christo

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

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

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRestore me, Tahereh Mafi

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

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

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe case for Jamie, Britanny Cavallaro

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

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

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInto exile, Joan Lingard

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

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

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA girl like that, Tanaz Bhathena

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

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

  • dystopia, Nicola, Sci Fi, You might like

    You might like…alternate histories

    15.03.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlternate histories can be best be described as “what if but ” There’s often crossover into fantasy or they involve some fantastic elements. This is particularly true of my top picks for alternate history fiction: Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy (what if the Great War but one side had giant monsters and the other side had enormous machines) and Brian Falkner’s Battlesaurus series (what if the Napoleonic Wars but the French ride dinosaurs).

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a more serious note, I think Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series is the pre-eminent title in this genre. It falls outside my formula but it’s a YA classic and for good reason. Noughts and Crosses deals with a reversal: People of colour occupy a place of privilege, whilst the others are oppressed. It is much more complex than that; it deals with love, family ties and the ethics of oppression and resistance. I cannot recommend this book enough.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe big lie by Julie Mayhew is a newer book with a common trope in alternate history fiction; what if the Nazis won World War Two? This book examines this from the perspective of the daughter of an English Nazi officer. To describe this book as chilling is a massive understatement; it’s a startling vision of a world made unfamiliar right down to the smallest detail. A massive political change through the eyes of one person.

    Now for other items in our collection. It’s interesting to note that is a popular theme in non-fiction as it is in fiction. There are plenty of historians interested in the possibilities. More what if? : eminent historians imagine what might have been (edited by Robert Cowley) is my top pick.

    In adult fiction, we have The mammoth book of alternate histories, edited by Ian Watson and Ian Whates. It’s a collection of short stories, so it’s not a heavy tome with lots of lore. On the more fantastic side of things, we have Anno Dracula – what if Dracula was real and turned Queen Victoria into a vampire.

    It’s interesting when looking at alternate history novels; especially in regards to who writes them and what gets told and what differences are emphasised. Something to keep in mind while investigating the genre.

  • Comedy, dystopia, Espionage, Fantasy, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Life, Sci Fi

    New books

    06.03.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe last to let go, Amber Smith

    Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind. But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own. In a year of firsts–the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom–Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It’s the end of June. A Friday. Like any other day, except hotter. I take my usual shortcut home from school through the alley, where the air is dense and unbreathable, saturated with the raw smell of overheated dumpster garbage. I can taste it in the back of my throat like an illness coming on.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics36 questions that changed my mind about you, Vicki Grant

    Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for joining the university psychology study that asks the simple question: Can love be engineered? The study consists of 36 questions, ranging from “What is your most terrible memory?” to “When did you last sing to yourself?” By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they’ve laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back and driven each other almost crazy. They’ve also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love? (Publisher information)

    First lines: There were three rapid knocks, then the door opened and a girl stumbled in, out of breath.
    “Sorry. Sorry I’m late. I had to talk to my English teacher about my term paper and he wasn’t in his office and…”
    Jeff jiggled his head like no problem.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRosemarked, Livia Blackburne

    When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she is destined to live her last days in isolation. Dineas, broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, thirsts for revenge against his captors; he’ll do anything to free his tribe from Amparan rule– even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self. The two are thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, and must find common ground to protect those they love– while grappling with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts. (Publisher information)

    First lines: A bitter film of ziko root coats the inside of my mouth. I run my tongue over my palate to rub out the taste, though I know it won’t work. Nothing dislodges ziko bitterness – not water, not bread, nor goat’s milk. If I’d been planning ahead, I might have brought a mint leaf to chew, but I’ve had more important things on my mind.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAkata warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

    A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Greetings from the Obi Library Collective of Leopard Knocks’ Department of Responsibility. We are a busy organisation with more important things to do. However, we’ve been ordered to write you this brief letter of information. It is necessary that you understand what you understand what you understand what you are getting into before you begin reading this book. If you already understand, then feel free to skip this warning and jump right into the continuation of Sunny’s story and Chapter 1.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll that was, Karen Rivers

    Piper and Sloane were best friends. They grew up together, from childhood to first love, and in spite of how different they were, their friendship was supposed to last forever. That is, until Piper caught Sloane kissing her boyfriend–and just days later, Piper was found dead, washed ashore on a beach. Sloane was torn with grief and guilt. How do you make amends for hurting someone you love if that person is no longer around? And how can you ever move on and love again? (Publisher information)

    First lines: What do I do now?
    I’m under.
    I’m gone.
    I’m below.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe chaos of standing still, Jessica Brody

    Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year. She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died. But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her. And his name is Xander. When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head. Ryn can’t move on. But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The view from the window of seat 27F is like trying to look through a snow glove after you’ve shaken it so hard the artificial white flakes don’t know which way is down.
    “Restless” is a word that comes to mind.
    Is it safe to land a plane in a snowstorm?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetween us, Clare Atkins

    Between Us is the story of two teenagers – Jono and Anahita – falling in love for the first time. There’s just one thing standing between them: twenty kilometres of barbed wire fence. Anahita lives in the Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre, where asylum seekers are detained while they wait to be ‘processed’ by the Australian government. The two teenagers meet at Darwin High School. Anahita travels from Wickham Point to school each day, passing through metal detectors, checkpoints and enduring multiple roll calls on the detention centre bus. Jono has no idea about any of this. All he knows is that there’s a beautiful new girl with dark eyes, who keeps looking over in his direction … is it possible she likes him? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I start again.
    I lift my right foot off the ground, and place it on the lowest step of the bus. My nerves are an electric lightning storm inside me, fraught and fiery.
    The officer waves from me to get on. Her voice cracks with impatience. “Hurry up!”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNobody real, Steven Camden

    Marcie is seventeen and under pressure. Pressure from Mum to go to University. Pressure from Dad to rebel and find her passion. Everyone seems to know what’s best for her. Nobody just listens. Not like her imaginary friend Thor Baker used to. When Tara’s older brother Morgan comes home from university, Marcie thinks she might have someone who understands. Then Thor Baker shows up. In the real world. Still strong, still handsome, still made to protect her and to love her. But Thor has his own ideas of what love and protection mean. And what Thor wants might not be what’s best for Marcie either. As the story builds, seen through Marcie’s eyes and Thor’s, the stakes continue to grow, until both find themselves having to choose – between what they have always wanted, and what they really need…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: You’re almost twelve.
    Staring through the fire at Sean. The tips of the flames lick the top branches of the bush you’ve both spent all day hollowing out.
    You’re holding the stolen aerosol can. Sean’s nervous smile. Your willing apprentice.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSecond best friends, Non Pratt

    Jade and Becky are best friends, but when Jade’s ex-boyfriend lets on that everyone thinks Becky is the better of the two, Jade finds herself noticing just how often she comes second to her best friend. There’s nothing Jade is better at than Becky. So when Jade is voted in as Party Leader ahead of her school’s General Election only to find herself standing against Becky, Jade sees it as a chance to prove herself. If there’s one thing she can win, it’s this election – even if it means losing her best friend. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Rules for breaking up with hottest guy in school.
    1. Know your reasons
    2. Look fierce
    3. Take your best friend for moral support (even if she puts up a fight)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI never, Laura Hopper

    Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Happy freaking’ New Year. Did they really think this was a good time to do this? Really? Here we are in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, where I’m enjoying a much-needed break from the stress that junior year of high school brings. At out supposedly celebratory New Year’s Eve dinner, they drop the bomb.
    “Separating.” “Splitting up.” We all know those are euphemisms for the dreaded D word.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe breathless, Tara Goedjen

    No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year–almost to the day–from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is. Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died. And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets–dangerous secrets–about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It isn’t a night for raising. It isn’t night yet at all. It’s a hazy gray afternoon, with the promise of rain. A layer of fog covers Blue Gate and the woods that surround it, but we can se inside the windows. Here a family gathers near a girl with hair that gleams. Her green eyes have a hint of gold, and she is a pretty thing. The kind of girl everyone points to and says: something big is going to happen to her one day.

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

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

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

  • dystopia, Environment, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, Nicola, Real Problems, Space: The Final Frontier

    New books

    01.02.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsReign of the fallen, Sarah Glenn Marsh

    Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, blood thirsty Shades. A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees? Fight alongside her follow necromancers–and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating–Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Today, for the second time in mt life, I killed King Wylding. Killing’s the easy part of the job, though. He never even bleeds when a sword runs through him. It’s what comes after that gets messy.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSay you’ll remember me, Katie McGarry

    Drix and Elle come from different backgrounds and different worlds. He was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit; she’s the governor’s daughter. They try to find what connects them and break past the odds to, maybe, be together while finding their own independence from their pasts and their families’ expectations. (Publisher summary)

    First lines:”Everyone says you have a blank slate.”
    My brother, Axle, sits beside me on the ground, arms resting on his bent knees, and he stares at the bonfire I built with my own two hands with only flint and sticks. It’s one of the many tricks I learned over the last three months. That and how to survive on my own in the middle of nowhere.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMarkswoman, Rati Mehrotra

    Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family. When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends. Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra–and for Asiana. But what she doesn’t realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin. thin as the blade of a knife. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: None may take a life but those who carry a kalishium blade and are sworn to the Orders of Peace. This is the law – the Kanun of Ture-asa- whoich binds all the clans in the valley, the mountains, and the desert beyond.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe hazel wood, Melissa Albert

    Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My mother was raised on fairy tales, but I was raised on highways. My first memory is the smell of hot pavement and the sky through the sunroof, whipping by in a river of blue. My mom tells me that’s impossible – out car doesn’t have a sunroof. But I can still close my eyes and see it, so I’m holding on to it.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe dangerous art of blending in, Angelo Surmelis

    Evan Panos’s strict immigrant Greek mother sees him as a disappointment. His workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend, Henry, has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer. His only escape is drawing, in an abandoned monastery that feels as lonely as he is. And Henry makes Evan believe that he deserves more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. As things escalate, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by being silent. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I should have guessed something was up when I was walking home. There were cars parked all down my street. My mother’s Bible study group is usually on Wednesday. Today is Tuesday. I walk up to my house and open the door very quietly. “May the devil of lust and disobedience be cast out of his sinful shell.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAs you wish, Chelsea Sedoti

    Madison is a small town in the Mojave desert on the road between nothing and nowhere. The town has a secret: in Madison, everyone can make one wish on their eighteenth birthday– and that wish always comes true. Eldon has seen how wishing has hurt the people around him. His parents’ marriage is strained, his sister is a virtual ghost in their house, his ex-girlfriend is dating his ex-friend…. Now he has only twenty-five days to figure out what to wish for– and the rest of his life to live with the consequences. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The trick is to be boring.
    No one likes being bored, yeah? If a place is boring, you’re not gonna stick around. You’re not going to ask any questions.
    That’s the way we like it.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPlague Land, Alex Scarrow

    Leon and his younger sister, Grace, have recently moved to London from New York and are struggling to settle into their new school when rumors of an unidentified plague in Africa begin to fill the news. Within a week, the virus hits London. The siblings witness people turning to liquid before their eyes, and they run for their lives. A month after touching Earth’s atmosphere, the virus has wiped out most of the population. Desperate to stay alive, Leon and Grace are reluctantly taken in by a tight-knit group of survivors. But as they struggle to win their trust, the siblings realize that the virus isn’t their only enemy, and survival is just the first step…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: The girl was only ten. Her name was Camille. She was on her way to collect water from the drinking well – a large, battered, and dented tin jug dangling from each hand – when she spotted it just a few feet off the hard dirt track. A dead dog. Not an uncommon sight – except for the fact that it was only half a dead dog.

    Book courtesy of SyndeticsA conspiracy of stars, Olivia A. Cole

    Octavia has always dreamed of becoming a whitecoat, one of the prestigious N’Terra scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. So when the once-secretive labs are suddenly opened to students, she leaps at the chance to see what happens behind their closed doors. However, she quickly discovers that all is not what it seems on Faloiv, and the experiments the whitecoats have been doing run the risk of upsetting the humans’ fragile peace with the Faloii, Faloiv’s indigenous people. As secret after disturbing secret comes to light, Octavia finds herself on a collision course with the charismatic and extremist new leader of N’Terra’s ruling council. But by uncovering the mysteries behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family, she threatens to be the catalyst for an all-out war.

    First lines: My father and I live under different suns. In reality, it is the same: red and hungry, an intense crimson eye that sends the sweat fleeing from my skin. It’s as beautiful as it is harsh, but my father sees none of the beauty. The past has dulled his wonder, and so the light of this planet shines differently on each of us.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove, hate, and other filters, Samira Ahmed

    Maya Aziz is caught between her India-born parents’ world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy, and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack hundreds of miles away, the community she’s known since birth is transformed by fear, bigotry, and hatred. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Destiny sucks.
    Sure, it can be all heart bursting and undeniable and Bollywood dance numbers and meet me at the Empire State Building. Except when someone else wants to decide who I’m going to sleep with for the rest of my life. Then destiny is a bloodsucker, and not the swoony, sparkly vampire kind.

  • dystopia, Environment, Fantasy, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola, realistic fiction

    New books

    18.01.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll the wind in the world, Samantha Mabry

    Sarah Jac Crow and James Holt have fallen in love working in the endless fields that span a bone-dry Southwest in the near-future–a land that’s a little bit magical, deeply dangerous, and bursting with secrets. To protect themselves, they’ve learned to work hard and–above all–keep their love hidden from the people who might use it against them. Then, just when Sarah Jac and James have settled in and begun saving money for the home they dream of near the coast, a horrible accident sends them on the run. With no choice but to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch, the delicate balance of their lives begins to give way–and they may have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The goal is to get to the heart:
    Slash off the spines,
    Sever the bulb from the roots.
    Move down the row.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOff the ice, Julie Cross

    Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business―a hockey bar beside the ice rink―afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again. Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good. It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love. For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Something cold and wet hits the side of my face. My braces clank against Haley’s, and we both jump apart. I hear giggling coming from several feet away. When I turn my head, my sister, Jody, is sitting on a log, a clear plastic cup of ice in her hand. Her friend Claire O’Connor smacks her on the arm. “You are so mean.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBeing fishkill, Ruth Lehrer

    Born in the backseat of a moving car, Carmel Fishkill was unceremoniously pushed into a world that refuses to offer her security, stability, love. At age thirteen, she begins to fight back. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel, who deflects her tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets eccentric optimist Duck-Duck Farina, and soon they, along with Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother and by unfathomable tragedy. (Publisher information)

    First lines: My mother named me after a New York highway sign, passing through, passing be, not even stopping to squeeze out my blue body. Going north on the Taconic Parkway, she lay on the back seat and pushed. As I gushed onto the gray vinyl, she caught a glimpse of the Carmel/Fishkill exist sign and decided it was not just a highway sign but a cosmic sign, and I was Carmel Fishkill.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDaughter of the pirate king, Tricia Levenseller

    Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map – the key to a legendary treasure trove – seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship. Alosa only has one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I hate having to dress like a man.
    The cotton shirt is too loose, the breeches too big, the boots too uncomfortable. My hair is bound on the top of my head, secured in a bun underneath a small sailor’s hat. My sword is strapped tightly to the left side of my waist, a pistol undrawn on my right.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEverless, Sara Holland

    In the kingdom of Sempera, time is extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocrats like the Gerling family tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries. No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember; she and her father were once servants at their estate, Everless, until an accident drove them away. After discovering her father is dying, Jules is desperate to earn more time for him, and returns to Everless amidst preparations for the wedding of Roan Gerling and the Queen’s daughter. Caught in a tangle of violent secrets, Jules must change her fate– and perhaps the fate of time itself. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Most people find the forest frightening, believing the old tales of fairies who will freeze the time in your blood, or witches who can spill your years out over the snow with only a whisper. Even the spirit of the Alchemist himself is said to wander these woods, trapping whole eternities in a breath.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWatched, Marina Budhos

    Naeem is a Bangledeshi teenager living in Queens who thinks he can charm his way through anything. But then mistakes catch up with him. So do the cops, who offer him an impossible choice: spy on his Muslim neighbors and report back to them on shady goings-on, or face a police record. Naeem wants to be a hero–a protector. He wants his parents to be proud of him. But as time goes on, the line between informing and entrapping blurs. Is he saving or betraying his community? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I’m watched.
    There’s a streetlight near my parents’ store, and I hear the click, a shutter snapping as I round the corner. My gaze swivels up, but there’s nothing. Just a white-eyed orb, a lamp, ticking. The dim sky floating behind. I shiver, tell myself it’s all my head. Nothing.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTimekeeper, Tara Sim

    Debut novelist Sim creates an alternate Victorian England in which every town, regardless of size, has a clock tower that controls the local flow of time. If a town’s clock runs slow, time runs slow as well, and the town goes out of sync with its surroundings. Mechanics, who can feel the flow of time and keep the clocks running, are vitally important, but Danny, the youngest mechanic in England at age 17, has been devastated by twin tragedies: his father was trapped, along with the citizens of Maldon, when its clock stopped, and Danny himself nearly died when another clock tower exploded for reasons unknown. Working on Colton Tower, which has apparently been sabotaged, Danny meets and falls for a mysterious apprentice, a boy who, it turns out, isn’t human. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Two o’clock was missing.
    Danny wanted it to be a joke. Hours didn’t just disappear. But the clock tower before him and the silver timepiece in his hand read 3:06 in the afternoon, when not fifteen minutes before they had read 1:51.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStrange fire, Tommy Wallach

    They said that the first generation of man was brought low by its appetites: for knowledge, for power, for wealth. They said mankind’s voracity was so great, the Lord sent his own Daughter to bring fire and devastation to the world. The survivors were few, but over the course of centuries they banded together to form a new civilization–the Descendancy–founded on the belief that the mistakes of the past must never be repeated. Brothers Clive and Clover Hamill, the sons of a well-respected Descendant minister, have spent their lives spreading that gospel. But when their traveling ministry discovers a community intent on rediscovering the blasphemous technologies of the past, a chain of events will be set in motion that will pit city against city…and brother against brother. Along with Gemma Poplin, Clive’s childhood sweetheart, and Paz Dedios, a revolutionary who dreams of overthrowing the Descendancy, Clive and Clover will each play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of this holy war, and the fate of humanity itself. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Florian Parks was sitting in the gantry watchtower, whittling a wooden doll for his little sister, when he first spotted the travelers over the pointed tips of the palisade. He was so surprised that he cut the figurine’s nose clean off.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe November girl, Lydia King

    A few months before his eighteenth birthday, Hector runs away to the remote Isle Royale on Lake Superior. In the spring, when he’ll be legally free from his brutal uncle, he can go back to the mainland. Until then, he’ll have to weather the vicious autumn storms and find a way to survive the hostile, uninhabited island. But he’s not as alone as he thinks. Anda is the Witch of November, the daughter of the lake itself, and she thirsts for storms and shipwrecks. When she finds Hector on her island, she should run him off for his own safety–but she’s fascinated by him and his unusual ability to see her. For the first time, she might have found a reason to fight her bloodthirsty nature. Hector is running away from violence; Anda has violence running in her veins. Together, they could save–or destroy–each other. (Publisher information)

    First lines: There’s a foolproof method to running away. I know the wrong ones all to well. This time there’ll be no mistakes. I’d left my cell phone, fully charged, duct-taped beneath a seat on a Duluth city bus. If they track it, they’ll think I’ve never left town.

  • dystopia, Fantasy, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, New, Real Life, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    12.01.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou bring the distant near, Mitali Perkins

    Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The swimmers have finished their races and are basking in the sun. It’s almost time for the beginners’ event. Tara kneels at the shallow edge, giving her little sister last-minute instructions. Floating inside her ring, Sonia pretends to listen. Their mother stands alone by the deep end, sari-clad under the red monsoon umbrella she carries as a portable shade from the West African sun.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn other lands, Sarah Rees Brennan

    The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. There are elves, harpies, and — best of all as far as Elliot is concerned — mermaids. Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands. It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There’s the chance Elliot might be able to change the world. In Other Lands is the exhilarating book about surviving four years in the most unusual of schools, about friendship, falling in love, diplomacy, and finding your own place in the world — even if it means giving up your phone. (Publisher information)

    First lines: So far magic school was total rubbish. Elliot sat on the fence bisecting two fields and brooded tragically over his wrongs. He had been plucked from geography class, one of his most interesting classes, to take some kind of scholarship test out in the wild. Elliot and three other kids from his class had been picked into a van by their harassed-looking French teacher and driven outside the city. Elliot objected because after an hour in a moving vehicle he would be violently sick. The other kids objected because after an hour in a moving vehicle they’d be violently sick of Elliot.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe day the angels fell, Shawn Smucker

    It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident. As he recalls the tumultuous events that launched a surprising journey, Samuel can still hardly believe it all happened.
    After his mother’s death, twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life–the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift? (Goodreads)

    First lines: I am old now. I still live on the same farm where I grew up, the same farm where my mother’s accident took place, the same farm that burned for days after the angels fell. My father rebuilt the farm after the fire, and it was foreign to me then, a new house trying to fill an old space. The trees he planted were all fragile and small, and the inside of the barns smelled like new wood and fresh paint. I think he was glad to start over, considering everything that summer was taken from us.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWater in May, Ismée Williams

    Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols believes that the baby she’s carrying will finally mean she’ll have a family member who will love her deeply and won’t ever leave her—not like her mama, who took off when she was eight; or her papi, who’s in jail; or her abuela, who wants as little to do with her as possible. But when doctors discover a potentially fatal heart defect in the fetus, Mari faces choices she never could have imagined. Surrounded by her loyal girl crew, her off-and-on boyfriend, and a dedicated doctor, Mari navigates a decision that could emotionally cripple the bravest of women. But both Mari and the broken-hearted baby inside her are fighters; and it doesn’t take long to discover that this sick baby has the strength to heal an entire family. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “His name ain’t Dr. Lobe. Coño. You’re messing with me, right?”
    Yaz smacks me in the shoulder. She’s doubled over, fingers clamping her mouth shut. Her purple silver-studded nails press dimples into her cheek. She’s trying not to laugh.
    “What?” I ask her. My cell slips as I shrug my shoulders. “They expect me to believe this guy’s name is Cr. Love? A heart doctor? How stupid do they think I am?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBrooding YA hero, Carrie Diriso, illustrated by Linnea Gear

    Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist? Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?
    Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love. As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Alone in his room, Broody McHottiepants contemplated his future. He was the best of all fictional characters ever created- that he knew. His phone never stopped ringing (playing his theme song, from his latest hit movie adaptation, of course) with Authors begging him to star in their latest novels. An endlessly talented man, he’d been everything from a vampire to a quarterback. Into each novel he brought his incredibly adjective-filled beauty; his gemstone-coloured gaze; his strong, strong arms; and his potent blend of wish fulfillment and slightly toxic masculinity.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDisappeared, Francisco X. Stork

    Four months ago: Sara Zapata’s best friend disappeared, kidnapped by the web of criminals who terrorize Juàrez.
    Four weeks ago: Her brother, Emiliano, fell in love with Perla Rubi, a girl whose family is as rich as her name.
    Four hours ago: Sara received a death threat…and her first clue her friend’s location.
    Four minutes ago: Emiliano was offered a way into Perla Rubi’s world—if he betrays his own.
    In the next four days, Sara and Emiliano will each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love. But when the criminals come after Sara, only one path remains for both the siblings: the way across the desert to the United States. (Goodreads)

    First lines: On the morning of November 14, the day she was kidnapped, Linda Fuentes opened the door to my house and walked into the kitchen, where my family was having breakfast. As usual, I wasn’t ready. Linda and I had an ongoing argument: She said I was always late, and I said she got to my house early to bask in the adoration of my younger brother, Emiliano.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll about Mia, Lisa Williamson

    One family, three sisters. GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student. AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. And MIA, the mess in the middle.
    Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers.
    When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Everyone in Rushton knows the Campbell-Richardson sisters. Grace is the oldest and destined for a first from Cambridge. Signature scent: grapefruit shampoo, secondhand books, and perfection. Audrey is the youngest and destined for the Olympics. Signature scent: chlorine, Lucozade Sport, and discipline. Then there’s me, Mia. I’m in the middle. I have no idea what my destiny is. Signature scent: coconut oil, Haribo, and TROUBLE.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe hollow girl, Hillary Monahan

    Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her. One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers. She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn. (Goodreads)

    First lines: My chin rested in my palm. My eyelids were heavy. Gran’s arm darted out, her liver-spotted hand whacking in the inside of my elbow to knock it off the table. It pulled me out of my stupor, but almost cost me my teeth.
    “I am not saying this twice.” She reached for a cluster of herbs hanging from a hook in the ceiling and snapped off two sprigs of green with dusky-purple flowers. “Dwayberry.”
    “Nightshade,” I said, fairly certain I had it right.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe grave keepers, Elizabeth Byrne

    Lately, Athena Windham has been spending all her spare time in her grave. Her parents—owners of a cemetery in Upstate New York—are proud of her devoutness, but her younger sister, Laurel, would rather spend her time exploring the forest that surrounds the Windham’s’ property than in her own grave. The Windham girls lead secluded lives—their older sister died in a tragic accident and their parents’ protectiveness has made the family semi-infamous. As the new school year begins, the outside world comes creeping in through encounters with mean girls, a new friend, and a runaway boy hiding out in the cemetery. Meanwhile, a ghost hangs around the Windham property—the only grave keeper never to cross over—plotting how to keep the sisters close to home and close to her…forever. (Goodreads)

    First lines: You should know that I died a long time ago, and that I was young when I died. But that doesn’t matter much to me anymore. I’ve been in the Catskills far longer than Rip Van Winkle. I’ve seen a town flooded for a reservoir. I’ve watched beetles chew leaves all the summer until the mountain’s scalp showed. I’ve seen people step out of second-storey windows in snowshoes and walk down the middle of Main Street; I’ve found a lost child hours before the authorities and waited with him until the first ranger arrived.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIt’s not like it’s a secret, Misa Sugiura

    Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself — the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore. Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy … what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated. (Publisher information)

    First lines: “Sana, chotto…hanashi ga arun-ya kedo.”
    Something big was about to go down.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA line in the dark, Malinda Lo

    Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift. As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences. When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The air conditioner at the creamery is going full blast but it doesn’t make much of a dent in the sticky heat. Every time Angie opens the freezer case to scoop another cone I want to duck my head inside to cool off. She’s been opening the case a lot today. It’s the first Friday after Labour Day, and the shop is full of students from West Bedford High. When Angie has a break between customers, she glances at me, where I’m sitting on a stool on the corner. There’s a little counter back there where I’ve propped up my history textbook, pretending to study.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWe are okay, Nina La Cour

    Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Before Hannah left, she asked if I was sure I’d be okay. She had already waited an hour past when the doors were closed for winter break, until everyone but the custodians were gone. She had folded a load of laundry, written an email, searched her massive psychology textbook for answers to the final exam questions to see if she had gotten them right. She had run out of ways to fill time, so when I said, “Ye, I’ll be fine,” she had nothing left to do but believe me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNow is everything, Amy Giles

    The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret. Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed. When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Emergency first responders scramble up and down the hill around me like ants, trying to see what can be salvaged. We’re on different frequencies. Theirs is manic and frenzied, searching for life, while I watch without seeing. What I escaped below eclipses everything. Blank eyes. A blood-soaked Cornell sweatshirt. Necks bent unnaturally. Angry fists of heat pounding at my back as I crawled away from the wreckage.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDevils and thieves, Jennifer Rush

    In Jemmie Carmichael’s Hawthorne, New York, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. And she’s been snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf. During an annual festival, a rumor begins spreading that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones. And the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I hated the mall. I hated the smell of fast, cheap food. I hated the windowless walls, the cavernous space that makes me feel trapped. Most of all, I hated the echoing cacophony of a thousand voices. There was already enough noise in my own head.
    “Jemmie?” Alex called. “What do you think?” She spun around in the tenth dress she’d on in the past hour.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlone, Cyn Balog

    When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school. As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

    First lines: Sometimes I dream I am drowning.
    Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.
    And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.

  • Fantasy, Mysteries, Nicola, realistic fiction, Sci Fi

    New books

    20.12.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLast chance, Gregg Hurwitz

    In Creek’s Cause, the fight for humanity’s survival continues. Everyone over the age of eighteen has been turning into ferocious, zombie-like beings– and the spores that cause the transformation are not of this Earth. Now a new breed of predatory creature has been spawned, devouring everything in its path. Chance and Patrick Rain and their friend Alexandra may become humanity’s only hope for salvation. (Publisher summary)

    First lines:I wake up in the perfect darkness of Uncle Jim and Aunt Sue-Anne’s ranch house, and there’s a split second where everything is fine. I’m six years old and life is good. And then I remember.
    My parents are dead.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe knowing, Sharon Cameron

    The underground city of New Canaan is safe from the Forgetting which afflicts Canaan above ground, but in her rigidly controlled and repressive city eighteen-year-old Samara, one of the Knowing, is plagued by her memory of the horrors she has seen, and determined to seek answers in the cursed city above–where she will find Beckett Rodriguez and his parents, on a mission from Earth to study the lost colony. (Publisher summary)

    First lines:I am one of the Knowing.
    I was three years old the day my memories came. I had my arms stretched out, my brother, Adam, flying me up and around and over his head like the bluedads that dart through the linen fields. I was laughing. And suddenly there were voices in the rush of air. Images. Swirling color. And so much feeling.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsExile, Sophie Breeze

    Hybrids, outcasts, of their own world. Five children, Josh, Bailey, Ella, Eric and Blaire, live on planet Mellania. They each have one human parent and one Mellanian. Their partial alien DNA means they possess unique powers, making them both an asset and a threat to the Mellanian government. Captain Melsom, Mellania’s ruler, works beside Lucia, a malicious demon, to eliminate the young hybrids.The operation involves transferring the children to Earth where they will be immediately killed. Lucia is to be transported with them to oversee their termination. Upon arrival, things don’t work out quite as expected.The children have to draw on their powers to survive now, all the time trying to find Lucia before she can wreak her own chaos upon Earth.But just who is controlling the situation and for what reason suddenly becomes very clouded. Even those closest to them begin to drift apart, and it becomes increasingly clear that nothing is what it seems. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The Mellanian sky stretched across the whole planet in one seamless blanket of turquoise silk. It was a night one might take the time to stop and admire, but Sergeant Grion had far more pressing matters to attend to.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe last days of Archie Maxwell, Annabel Pitcher

    Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad ran off with another woman. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story – a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost. Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too … (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “So, that’s what we’ve decided. It’s for the best,” Dad said, after two or ten minutes of talking, Archie couldn’t tell. Time was standing still, or going fast, or doing both. That wasn’t possible, but Dad’s words hadn’t seemed possible that morning, and yet here they were, discussing divorce over Mum’s homemade chicken stew.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWe see everything, William Sutcliffe

    Lex lives on The Strip — the overcrowded, closed-off, bombed-out shell of London. He’s used to the watchful enemy drones that buzz in the air above him. Alan’s talent as a gamer has landed him the job of his dreams. At a military base in a secret location, he is about to start work as a drone pilot. These two young men will never meet, but their lives are destined to collide. Because Alan has just been assigned a high-profile target. Alan knows him only as #K622. But Lex calls him Dad. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I don’t know if I can go through with it.
    Pressed against a shrapnel-pitted wall, I stare out over the expanse of collapsed brick, crumpled tarmac, crushed concrete and twisted steel at the blackberry bush I spotted yesterday, a short distance into the exclusion zone.

  • dystopia, Environment, Espionage, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Problems, realistic fiction, Separated at Birth

    New books

    07.12.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFar from the tree, Robin Benway

    Grace, adopted at birth, is raised as an only child. At sixteen she’s just put her own baby up for adoption, and now is looking for her biological family. She discovers Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio twin sister who was also adopted ; and Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother after seventeen years in the foster care system. Grace struggles to between cautious joy at having found them, and the true meaning of family in all its forms. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Grace hadn’t really thought too much about homecoming. She knew that she’d go, though. She figured that she and her best friend, Janie, would get dressed together, get their hair done together. She knew that her mom would try to be cool about it and not get excited, and she’d make Grace’s dad charge the fancy, expensive camera-not the iPhone- and then Grace would take pictures with Max, her boyfriend of just over a year.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA short history of the girl next door, Jared Reck

    Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her, he implodes on the JV basketball team, and the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about pissed-off candy-cane lumberjacks. If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and would fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain. But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, on the verge of spiraling out of control and losing everything that matters to him. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I know it’s over when Liam Branson’s black Accord pulls in front of Tabby’s house before the school. I’m shooting free throws in my driveway, like I do every morning, waiting for the bus to deliver me to another memorable day as a freshman at Franklin High. It’s late October, which means the weather is perfect for my before-school shootaround ritual.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThat inevitable Victorian thing, E.K Johnston

    It is a near-future Toronto where the British Empire never fell. Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the Empire, hoping for a summer of freedom before an arranged marriage. She meets Helena, daughter of a geneticist, and August, heir to a shipping firm. The trio is caught off-guard by the discovery of a love so intense they are willing to change the course of the monarchy to keep it. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Helena Marcus had given much thought to her marriage. She was no princess, whose wedding could change the nations, and neither was she a creature of high society, confident that suitors might come knocking on her door, eager to make first impressions with her door, eager to make first impressions with the hope of being remembered as a mutually beneficial option after the Computer did its work at genetic matchmaking.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTool of war, Paolo Bacigalupi

    Tool, a half-man/half-beast designed for combat, is capable of so much more than his creators had ever dreamed. He has gone rogue from his pack of bioengineered “augments” and emerged a victorious leader of a pack of human soldier boys. But he is hunted relentlessly by someone determined to destroy him, who knows an alarming secret: Tool has found the way to resist his genetically ingrained impulses of submission and loyalty toward his masters… The time is coming when Tool will embark on an all-out war against those who have enslaved him.
    First lines: The drone circled high of the wreckage of war. A week before, it hadn’t been there. A week before, the Drowned Cities hadn’t been worth mentioning, let alone committing drones to overwatch. The Drowned Cities: a coastline swamped by rising sea levels and political hatreds, a place of shattered rubble and eternal gunfire. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The drone circled high above the wreckage of war. A week before, it hadn’t been there. A week before, the Drowned Cities hadn’t been worth mentioning, let alone worth committing drones to overwatch. The Drowned Cities: a coastline swamped by rising sea levels and political hatreds, a place of shattered rubble and eternal gunfire.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSometimes we tell the truth, Kim Zarins

    Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind: Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years. He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey. And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC. But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class. But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind–can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My mother drives me to school like I’m little again, and I stir awake when she turns off the engine. it’s still nowhere close to sunrise, and my classmates huddle under the streetlamps in the parking lot, some staying warm by smoking. I pray to God my mom doesn’t notice them.
    No such luck.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBody parts, Jessica Kapp

    Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha has been protected from the outside world. Her trainers at the center have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family. So she swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, dreaming of the day when she’ll meet her adoptive parents. But when Tabitha’s told she’s been paired, instead of being taken to her new home, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason she’s been kept in shape: PharmPerfect, a local pharmaceutical giant, is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. Determined to save the rest of her friends at the center, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Ten seconds. That’s how much air I have left. I peek at Paige, her body submerged next to me. Stray hairs float around her face. She looks peaceful like she found a way to sleep underwater. The chlorine stings my eyes so I shut them, letting my mind fill with fuzz until all I hear is the cadence of my heart – the sluggish beat coursing all the way to my fingertips.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe first to know, Abigail Johnson

    Dana Fields’s father never knew his parents. When Dana secretly does a DNA test for her dad, hoping to find him some distant relatives for his birthday, her entire world implodes. Instead of a few third cousins, Dana discovers a half brother her age whose very existence means her parents’ happy marriage is a lie. Dana’s desire to know her half brother, Brandon, and the extent of her dad’s deception, clashes with her wish not to destroy her family. When she sees the opportunity to get to know Brandon through his cousin, the intense yet kind Chase, she takes it. But the more she finds out about Brandon, her father’s past and the irresistible guy who’ll never forgive her if he discovers the truth, the more she sees the inevitable fallout from her own lies. With her family crumbling around her, Dana must own up to her actions and find a way to heal the breach–for everyone–before they’re torn apart for good. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The swing was so smooth and effortless I barely felt it. Adrenaline slammed through my body as I hit a screamer into right center, knowing it would find the gap. I dropped my bat and bolted for first, picking up speed as I rounded to second. I had at least a triple. I made the split-second decision to ignore the stop sign from my coach, kicking up dust as I passed third and charged for home.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHere we are now, Jasmine Wanga

    Taliah Sahar Abdallat lives and breathes music. Songs have always helped Tal ease the pain of never having known her father. Her mother, born in Jordan and very secretive about her past, won’t say a word about who her dad really was. But when Tal finds a shoebox full of old letters from Julian Oliver–yes, the indie rock star Julian Oliver–she begins to piece the story together. She writes to Julian, but after three years of radio silence, she’s given up hope. Then one day, completely out of the blue, Julian shows up at her doorstep, and Tal doesn’t know whether to be furious or to throw herself into his arms. Before she can decide, he asks her to go on a trip with him to meet her long-estranged family and to say good-bye to his father, her grandfather, who is dying. Getting to know your father after sixteen years of estrangement doesn’t happen in one car ride. But as Tal spends more time with Julian and his family, she begins to untangle her parents’ secret past, and discovers a part of herself she never recognized before. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: There are people that you never expect to show up on your doorstep. For me, this list begins with the pope, the president and my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, because she absolutely hated me. He wouldn’t been somewhere on my Most Unlikely List. Probably top ten. But there was a time, not so long ago, when he wouldn’t have been on that list. There wwas actually a time when I would camp out by the window, willing him to pull up into the driveway.

  • Books, dystopia, Fantasy, GLBT, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Sci Fi

    New books

    05.12.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe body market, Donna Frietas

    In this thoughtful sequel to Unplugged, Skylar has failed to save her best friends, Inara and Sylvia, from the App World, where they’ve been unplugged from virtual apps. They’ll soon be sold to the highest bidders at the Body Market unless Skylar can rescue them. Still reeling from her sister Jude’s betrayal, Skylar doesn’t trust Rain, the boy she likes, because he’s lied to her. When Skylar is kidnapped and held in a remote cabin by Kit, a motorcycle-riding teen bounty hunter, she convinces him not to turn her in. Instead, Skylar persuades Kit to help her overthrow Jude and promises to rescue his sister. In this second book in a planned trilogy, Skylar also finds out that she has a brother, who helps her figure out a coding glitch that will allow them to create an app that would override the plugs and wake up all the bodies. Skylar’s brain is the only one that can make that possible, but there’s a chance it won’t work. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I adjusted the scarf around my head. Only my eyes were visible. I stepped into the crush of tourists heading inside. I stepped into the crush of tourists heading inside. A great canopy stretched over us, blocking out the cold winter sun.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAmong the red stars, Gwen C. Katz

    World War II has erupted in Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She’s a pilot–and a good one–so she eagerly joins an all-female bomber regiment. Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German targets is something else entirely. The raids are dangerous, but as Valka watches her fellow pilots putting everything on the line in the face of treachery, she learns the true meaning of bravery. As the war intensifies, though, and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home. Inspired by the true story of a famous all-female Russian bomber regiment, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, of learning to fight for yourself, and of the perils of a world at war. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The voice on the radio spat out a few intelligence words before melting back into static. “…large crowd here in the City of Youth, despite the gloomy weather. They are all hoping to catch the first glimpse of…”
    “You’re messing it up,” I told Pasha, who knelt by his radio, fiddling with its wire innards. “We’ll miss it.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKaleidoscope song, Fox Benwell

    Neo loves music, and all she ever wanted was a life sharing this passion, on the radio. When she meets Tale, the lead singer in a local South African band, their shared love of music grows. So does their love for each other. But not everyone approves. Then Neo lands her dream job of working at a popular radio station, and she discovers that using your voice is sometimes harder than expected, and there are always consequences. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: South Africa is loud. Listen. Footsteps, engines, radio. The lazy buzzing heat and the singing laughing joy. The slap of palms when business strikes. The dance of it. The movement and the bustle, the spring of the young and creaking of the old. The bars. Street corners. Schools. It has an energy in everything, a song all of its own.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSovereign, April Daniels

    Only nine months after her debut as the superhero Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse. When she crosses a newly discovered billionaire supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her. She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge. And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings, ready to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Don’t let your wife hear you say that,” he says. A late-night talk show is joking with someone offscreen. A smattering of laughter leaks of the crowd. “Yeah we’re gonna hear all about it at Thanksgiving. Anyway, moving on. I’m really excited about our next guest.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBerserker, Emmy Laybourne

    Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse? Hanne’s brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. Now the siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice. Aided by Owen Bennett, a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await. The thrills of the journey sweep Hanne and Owen together in romance, but their new love means nothing unless they can escape the ruthless men chasing them down. Can they reach Hanne’s uncle, the one man who can teach her how to control her drive to kill? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The hog snorted at the two young trespassers in his pen. He kept his massive flank pressed to the oaks beams of the fence, staying as far away from them as he could. The girl, Hanne, kept her eyes on the boar, hiding the knife she held against the folds of her skirt.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe book jumper, Mechthild Glaser

    Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother leave Germany for Scotland, heading to Lennox House, her mother’s childhood home on the island of Stormsay. Amy’s grandmother insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House — but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as her new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts — at whatever cost. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Will ran. He ran and ran.
    The island seemed bigger than usual, and he’d been running for so long his chest hurt. Across the moor, through the fields, down to the beach, past the graveyard and Lennox House, into the village, up to the stone circle, through the library, back to his cottage, and in and out of the last wisps of fog that hung over Macalister Castle.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBeasts made of night, Tochi Onyebuchi

    In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts–lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki , young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family. When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves–and his own life. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I make sure to sit where they can’t see me. From where I’m perched, tucked just out of sight on a pile of rubble, I have a pretty good view of the other sin-eaters, the aki. They’re gathered in the small clearing below, ringed by the rubble of what used to be someone’s home.

  • dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, Nicola, realistic fiction

    New books

    17.10.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSplinter, Sasha Dawn

    Sami’s mother disappeared ten years ago, and the police have always suspected that Sami’s father killed her. But they’ve never had any convincing evidence … until now. Sami’s sure her father’s innocent. Or is she? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My feet hit the pavement in even cadence, keeping time with a song that’s been repeating in my head: “Photograph” by Def Leppard. I haven’t heard the song in a long time, maybe even since before my mother left. Glam bands on the late eighties were definitely her thing, not Dad’s.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEven the darkest stars, Heather Fawcett

    Kamzin dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. Then River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives and demands to hire Kamzin — not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected — for his next expedition. River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor; it means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. When Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I stretched my hands over the dragon eggs, focusing all my concentration on their indigo shells, and murmured the incantation. The air rippled and shimmered. I can do this. The thought was born of desperation rather than confidence.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMidnight at the electric, Jodi Lynn Anderson

    Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written from Lenore to Beth. Through journals and, later, letters, Catherine narrates her own story of being in Kansas during the Dust Bowl. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: From above, Miami looked as if it were blinking itself awake; the rising sun reflected against the city’s windows. Adri-in fuzzy extra-large pajama pants, her messy black hair pulled back in a rubber band-had pulled over on the shoulder of the Miami bridge.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to disappear, Sharon Huss Roat

    Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable. So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her — #alone and #ignored in real life. To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Standing by my locker, I can already feel the sweat circles forming on my T-shirt. Nobody can see that, I assure myself. Not through the enormous sweater I’m wearing, or beneath my nearly impenetrable wall-o-hair.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe hearts we sold, Emily Lloyd-Jones

    After Dee Moreno, seventeen, makes a deal with a demon, trading her heart for the chance of a good education, she becomes part of a group of “heartless” teens engaged in fighting a paranormal war. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: A demon was knitting outside the hospital. Dee Moreno froze. The smokers’ area was where she always took her lunch break; she didn’t smoke, but it made for a good place to eat- at least, when it wasn’t already occupied.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWild bird, Wendelin Van Draanen

    When her behaviour escalates out of control, fourteen-year-old Wren is taken away to a wilderness therapy camp where she is forced to develop new skills, including the courage to ask for help.

    First lines: “Wren…”
    My name is floating around me. Bouncing on the clouds in my mind.
    “Wren…wake up, Wren.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThere’s someone inside your house, Stephanie Perkins

    It’s been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she’s still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii. Then, one by one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The egg-shaped timer was on the welcome mat when she came home.
    Haley Whitehall glanced over her shoulder, as if expecting someone behind her. Far in the distance, a red combine rolled through the sallow cornfields. Her father. Harvest time.

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