Soul Surfer is the true story of a teenage surf star who lost one of her arms in a shark attack. She made a huge comeback, re-teaching herself to surf one-armed. We have the book by the same name in the library, and you’ll be able to see it on the big screen shortly after Queen’s Birthday-ish sort of time. The trailer is here:
Incidentally, the movie’s catapulted the book to the top of a New York Times best seller list. Can’t beat the movies for raising the profile of books.
The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s weirder efforts, which is not a bad thing; it makes it great material for a movie, and here’s a trailer:
There’s Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren as Prospera (Prospero, but female – it’s been done before and it works very well, particularly with someone awesome like Helen Mirren). It’s out at the beginning of June. The official site is here.
Speaking of Shakespeare, Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston concludes the urban faerie trilogy started with Wondrous Strange (and featuring a few things Shakespearean). We will be getting the book soon, in the mean time here’s the trailer:
HarperTeen, the publishers, have a sneak peak here.
Here they are! Exclaim!
You, by Charles Benoit (223 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Kyle makes some choices that will come to haunt him. In a big way. You are Kyle, in that the book is in the second person, you know? Kyle is a bit of a thug who is turned into a ‘project’ by Zack, who has come from a private school and who may actually be quite sinister.
First lines: ‘You’re surprised at all the blood.‘
The Darlings Are Forever, by Melissa Kantor (328 pages) – The Darlings are some friends who have matching necklaces, a shared motto, and their own table at Ga Ga Noodle. Now they all are heading to different schools in New York City! Will they stay friends?! I bet the Ga Ga Noodle people want them to.
First line: ‘The Labor Day sun was scorching, and as Jane waited for the light to change, she could practically hear her dark hair frizzing.‘
You Against Me, by Jenny Downham (412 pages) – Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, and Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence. Mikey and Ellie are both caught up; he seeks revenge and she must defend her brother. “Brave and unflinching,” says the blurb, along with (the optimistic) “above all it’s a book about love.”
First line: “Mikey couldn’t believe his life.”
Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr (327 pages) – Here it is; the final Wicked Lovely book. ‘The political and romantic tensions that began when Aislin became Summer Queen threaten to boil over as the Faerie Courts brace against the threat of all-out war,’ says the Library of Congress cataloging-in-publication data summary, not incorrectly.
First line: ‘Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop.‘
The Maya Brown Missions : Circle of Fire, by S. M. Hall (291 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Maya’s mum is an intelligence agent, and Maya can’t wait to be one herself. She enjoys assault courses and shooting ranges and maybe Spooks? Not sure on that. Anyway, her mother is kidnapped by terrorists, and Maya, alone, is determined to infiltrate the terrorist cell and rescue her.
First line: ‘Maya opened her eyes to a room full of shadows.‘
Eternal : More Love Stories with Bite, ed. P. C. Cast with Leah Wilson (215 pages) – Here’s a collection of love stories with people being bitten by vampires. The stories are by a who’s who of modern YA authors who write about the supernatural, like Nancy Holder, Rachel Caine and Claudie Gray. And the girl on the cover looks JUST LIKE Buffy to me, do you reckon? Say yes.
6, by Karen Tayleur (203 pages) – ‘One car. One after-party. Six people, six points of view. But only one outcome.’ The book ends with the outcome (which you might be able to guess) but has an ending that I read several times, it was so powerful. (I only read the ends of books.)
First line: ‘A light drizzle falls upon a car.‘
The Latte Rebellion, by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (328 pages) – Asha Jamison and her best friend sell t-shirts to help fund a post-graduation trip to London. The shirts promote the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students. But the club goes nationwide, and the peaceful underground movement ’spins out of control’, and Asha’s ivy league dreams are subsequently threatened.
First line: ‘The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze.‘
Blood Ransom, by Sophie McKenzie (418 pages) – This is the sequel to Blood Ties, which was about cloning and genetic manipulation. This is also about cloning and genetic manipulation, it looks like! And missing persons. And ransoms of missing persons, who are clones. I wish I had a clone!
First line: ‘It was a Saturday afternoon in early July and I was looking forward to the highlight of my week – the hour or so when Theo and I met online and everything else dropped away.‘
All Just Glass, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (246 pages) – Sarah is from a family of vampire hunters. It is a family business! But when she is turned into a vampire by boy she loved (ironically!) she becomes the hunted. By her sister, Sarah, no less, who is made to by her mother. “Aww, mom.”
First line: ‘Saturday, 5.53 a.m. The ringing in her ears was the sound of the world shattering.‘
The Blending Time, by Michael Kinch (254 pages) – In a dystopian future, teenagers are made to perform ‘Global Assignment’ work assignments when the turn seventeen. Three such teens are given what they think is a cushy job; to repopulate and rebuild African, which has been devastated by a solar flare. But it’s not quite the stroll through the rose garden that they thought …
First line: ‘Jaym stirred as morning light slanted across his cot.‘
Just kidding! These are new books. Not to dismiss older books though! They’re still worth reading.
Anyway, this week’s new books are serious, or grim, or thrilling, or kind of funny, or supernatural, romantic and also scary. Or a mixture of those!
Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale (233 pages) – In 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, a city in Texas. It was the USA’s deadliest natural disaster. This is the story of Seth, a boy whose family has just moved to Galveston and will need to try to survive through the storm (which struck before hurricanes were given names).
First line: ‘The train clicked on its rails, rumbling past cow pastures and summer-parched fields of grain and hay.‘
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King (326 pages) – Vera’s best friend, who she secretly loves, goes and dies shortly after betraying her in retaliation for something she didn’t actually do. She can clear his name, but only if she can forgive him.
First line: ‘The pastor is saying something about how Charlie was a free spirit.‘
Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers (230 pages) – Eddie Reeves’ father was a successful photographer until he killed himself. Eddie needs to know why her father took his own life, and the mystery of his death deepens when she meets and falls for Culler Evans, an ex-student of her father’s.
First lines: ‘My hands are dying. I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I’m crazy.‘
The Last Ghost, by Helen Stringer (356 pages) – Belladonna Johnson can talk to ghosts, including those of her parents. When the spirits start to disappear, she and her pal Steve have to travel to the Other World to see what’s what in spirit land.
First line: ‘It was Wednesday – the day of the week when it feels like Friday will never arrive.‘
Sequins, Stars & Spotlights, by Sophia Bennett (327 pages) – This is the third book in the Threads series, about some friends in London who are getting their sequined? feet through the door of the fashion industry. In this, the final book of the series, the four chums are so close to beginning ‘glittering careers’ but! their ‘challenges suddenly seem so overwhelming.’
First line: ‘I’m sitting in the back row of a mega-tent in Paris, surrounded by fashion students, buyers, editors and movie stars, and watching THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATWALK SHOW I WILL EVER SEE IN MY LIFE.‘
Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand (432 pages) – At the age of fourteen Clara learnt that she was part-angel. Now she is sixteen and she must complete a rite of passage – her purpose – that every part-angel must do. She soon finds that she is only a small part of some major celestial battle between angels and bad angels, the Black Wings. ‘Supernatural powers, forbidden romance’!
First line: ‘In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.‘
Tyme’s End, by B. R. Collins (319 pages) – Bibi finds refuge in a deserted house called Tyme’s End. She bumps into its owner, who has been away for the past decade, and together they are pulled towards the ‘romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent’ house. Terror awaits them. And the reader!
First lines: ‘I’ve had enough. There’s only so long anyone can stand being shouted at, and I’m way past it.’
Entice, by Carrie Jones (263 pages) – Evil pixies are kidnapping teens, Zara and her friends anticipate an all-out war. Zara’s soulmate, Nick, has been taken to Valhalla however, and the good guys need all the warriors they can get. BUT Zara gets pixie-kissed! So obviously that hampers things.
First line: ‘“Am I really not allowed to complain about being here?” I ask as we enter Bedford High School about an hour late for the winter ball.‘
There’s a fair amount of fiction about drama, acting and theatres, which kind of makes sense, since drama is what fiction is about, in some form of another.
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.‘
Apparently trailers were first shown at the end of films, but because everyone would leave before they played they were shifted to the beginning of the film. But the name ‘trailer’ stuck, otherwise they’d be called, ‘wheelbarrows’ or ’shopping trolleys’ or something. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Anyway, here are some book trailers, which really doesn’t even make sense but there you go.
Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr, is the last in her Wicked Lovely series. Faeries! Magic tattoos! It’s in the system (on order!) and already has a rapidly growing reserves queue. So. Reserve it now.
Bloody Valentine, by Melissa de la Cruz, is the latest Blue Blood book. It is about rich vampires in New York, thereby covering two fairly popular genres at once. The vampires are all falling in love, hence the clever title. (We don’t have it yet, but we will.)
And here is Blessed, by Cynthia Leitich Smith. It is released today! It is the third in the Tantalize series, also about vampires. Vampires! So in right now.
Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly (472 pages) – Andi, musical genius, New Yorker, sullen pillar of her falling apart family, unwillingly goes to Paris to get her educational life back together. While researching a relatively obscure 18th century French composer for guitar (like, you know, I hadn’t heard of him) she stumbles across the diary of Alexandrine, who may have been the companion of Louis-Charles (son of Marie Antoinette) in his last days, with whom she has a strange connection. Music students and fans may particularly get something out of this, as will people who like Courtney Summers.
First sentences: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, deejay.
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, Catherine Jinks (380 pages) – to think that five years ago nobody knew that “lycanthrope” was a word. This must surely be a companion to the popular Reformed Vampire Support Group? Toby discovers he has a rare and dangerous condition, and is adopted by an oddball group of people, keen to help him.
First sentences: You’ve probably heard of me. I’m the guy they found in a dingo pen at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Extraordinary, Nancy Werlin (390 pages) – the follow up to Impossible. Phoebe is drawn to the mysterious Mallory and her brother Ryland, which may be a very bad thing for Phoebe, as they expect her to pay an “age old debt”.
First sentence: Phoebe Gutle Rothschild met Mallory Tolliver in seventh grade, during the second week of the new school year, in homeroom.
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, Abby McDonald (293 pages) – Jenna is an urban environmentalist who has the opportunity to spend the summer with her hippie godmother in rural parts, where her urban environmentalism comes up against the locals’ pragmatic ruralism. Plus there’s romance maybe.
First sentences: “Re-use! Re-duce! Re-cycle!”
Everlasting, Angie Frazier (329 pages) – In the 19th century Camille must choose between marrying rich and securing her and her father’s future, or the high seas on her father’s ship, even if this means a storm in the Tasman (!) Sea (bad) and Oscar, a “handsome young sailor” (good). But wait, there’s more: a quest through the Australian outback for an enchanted stone, murder, lies and intrigue. Action-packed adventure.
First sentence: Camille clicked the latches down on her trunk and glanced out her bedroom window.
Life, After, Sarah Darer Littman (278 pages) - Dani’s life in Argentina is blown to bits after a terrorist attack kills her aunt. Moving to the United States means a fresh start, although also troubles like speaking a different language, being a stranger, until she meets some new friends that help her pick up the pieces.
First sentence: Normal kids were happy when the bell rang at the end of the school day.
Love Drugged, James Klise (304 pages) – Jamie is semi-outed at school and does all he can to push the rabbit back into the hat, including taking drugs that will “cure” him and dating the most beautiful girl in school. But is it possible to live a life that’s basically a whole bunch of lies (and side-effects)?
First sentence: Judging by the angry mail we get, a lot of people consider me to be the villain of this story.
The Sorcerer of Sainte Felice, Ann Finnin (353 pages) – set in 15th Century France, Michael de Lorraine is rescued from execution and given refuge at a Benedictine monastery which, he discovers, contains “renegade monk-sorcerers” (how fab is that?) and a secret that could spell the end for the Abbot who rescued him. Oh, and the church (but not the renegade monk-sorcerers) still wants him dead.
First sentences: I was only an apprentice. I swear it.
13 to Life, Shannon Delany (308 pages) – Small time life has changed irrevocably for Jessie after the death of her mother, and then there’s the hot new stranger with the cool accent and a teeny little dangerous secret which the Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data, like, totally gives away (don’t read the copyright info).
First sentence: Rio stiffened beneath my touch, striking a glossy hoof against the floor.
Boys Don’t Cry, Malorie Blackman (302 pages) – When the doorbell rings Dante expects the postie with his university exam results, not his ex-girlfriend with his baby.
First sentences: Good luck today. Hope you get what you want and need.
Paranormalcy, Kiersten White (335 pages) – Evie lives in a world populated with every supernatural being you can imagine, and she can see through their glamours. Trouble is, she can also dream prophetic dreams, and she fears she’s responsible for the recent spate of unexplained paranormal deaths.
First sentence: “Wait – did you – you just yawned!”
The Space Between Trees, Katie Williams (274 pages) – Evie (again! – different Evie) is in the wrong place at the wrong time when the body of her childhood playmate is discovered, which leads to lies, a hunt for the killer, and danger. Cool cover.
First sentence: I’m in Hokepe Woods this morning, like I am every Sunday, delivering papers and keeping an eye out for Jonah Luks.
How They Met and Other Stories, David Levithan (244 pages) – Love in all its guises is explored in 18 stories by bestselling author (Boy Meets Boy, Nick and Norah…) and much successful editor, David Levithan.
First sentence (’Starbucks Boy’) – It was my aunt who pimped me out.
Unhooking the Moon, Gregory Hughes (374 pages) – This book won the Booktrust Teenage Prize this year. This is what the Guardian said (which I like): “Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes is an extraordinary story of two orphaned siblings, the precocious, fascinating and infuriating 10-year-old Rat and her older brother Bob, who take a road trip from Canada to New York to look for their uncle on the strength of knowing his name and that he is a ‘drug dealer’.”
First sentence: Marymount Manhattan is a small cosy college on the East Side of New York.
My Name is Mina, David Almond (300 pages) – the prequel to the classic Skellig, in which you are privy to Mina’s journal, before she meets Skellig and Michael. Marcus Sedgwick (My Swordhand is Singing) loved it. Indeed, in the Guardian (again) he said, ”My Name Is Mina is a wonderful book in its own right, perhaps an even better one than Skellig. It is joyous. Thank you, David Almond; I cannot remember when a book last filled me with such claminosity.” Claminosity sounds like fun.
First sentence: My name is Mina and I love the night.
Also some continued series:
The Chamber of Shadows, Justin Richards (419 pages) – more from Eddie, George, Liz and Sir William in another horror murder mystery (so much more horrific when set in 19th Century London).
Possession, Chris Humphreys (360 pages) – book three in the Runestone saga.
Zombies Vs. Unicorns (415 pages) – if it came down to it, which team would you be on? Read the stories and pick your team. There’s even extra content that you can access on the interweb if you’ve got a smart phone – there’s a souped up QR-type code on the back cover. We’re thinking it might just be the book trailer (which is here), but we’ve been known to be wrong.
First sentence (from the introduction): Since the dawn of time one question has dominated all others: Zombies or Unicorns?
plus an extra for the cool cover.
Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story, Adam Rex (324 pages) – Actually, really, being eternally a teenager wouldn’t be the greatest, especially if you’re not exactly cut and chiselled, which Doug Lee isn’t. But what he is is a vampire, and has the stars of the reality television show Vampire Hunters after him.
First sentence: Doug came to, lying on his back in what felt smelled like a field.
cool cover again.
Torment, Lauren Kate (452 pages) – get your supernatural romance, fallen angel fix here. The hotly anticipated sequel to Fallen, which stayed atop our Most Wanted list for months and months this year. Daniel must go off and hunt the Outcasts, so he hides Luce at an exclusive academy (!) for gifted students, where she finds out more about her special powers and those freaky shadows. Fallen angels keep secrets though, dangerous ones…
First sentence: Daniel stared out at the bay.
I Am Number Four, Pittacus Lore (440 pages) – the much hyped first book in the Lorien Legacies series where nine, um, people, arrive from another planet methinks, and “walk among us”. Trouble is they’re getting picked off, one by two by three, and number four is next. Again, this comes complete with the promise of *extra material* via the QR code on the jacket. Wikipedia will also tell you who Pittacus Lore really is.
First sentence: The door starts shaking.
Good Oil, Laura Buzo (283 pages) – a straight-up romance with no supernatural creatures, Good Oil tells the story of Amelia, who falls for the much older Chris, an engaging university student. She enjoys spending time with him, and he appears to like her company too, but it’s complicated.
First sentence: ‘I’m writing a play,’ says Chris, leaning over the counter of my cash register.
Perchance to Dream, Lisa Mantchev (333 pages) – the marvellously quirky sequel to the marvellously quirky Eyes Like Stars and some of the most fantastical fantasy that might do your head in. Bertie’s left the Theatre in search of Nate the pirate, who has been captured (perhaps killed?) by the Sea Goddess. With her is Ariel, doing his best to distract her in a love-triangle type of way, and the four fairies, thinking of nothing much other than food. Along the way Bertie learns more about her magic, her father, and which team to pick, Nate or Ariel?
First sentence: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged,’ Mustardseed said, flying in lazy loops like an intoxicated bumblebee, ‘that a fairy in possession of a good appetite must be in want of pie.’
for the Jane Austen reference.
The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher, Doug McLeod (304 pages) – a funny horror, black comedy story. Thomas is a well-bred sixteen year old in 1828 who falls in with Plenitude, a body-snatcher, and is then pursued by all manner of ghoulish types.
First sentence: There are no stars, no moon to illuminate the grounds of the parish church.
iBoy, Kevin Brooks (290 pages) – Tom was attacked by (I extrapolate) a gang on his estate, and bits of his iPhone became embedded in his brain (hopefully the bubble wrap popping app still works) and now he has special powers. Sounds like fun, having a GPS in your brain, but no: he must make difficult choices that lead to “terrifying” consequences. Sinister.
First sentence: The mobile phone that shattered my skull was a 32GB iPhone 3GS.
Dark Flame, Alyson Noel (The Immortals, 320 pages) – Ever tries to help Haven get to grips with being an Immortal, and must also fight “for control of her body, her soul – and the timeless true love she’s been chasing for centuries.” (Book cover)
First sentence: ‘What the fug?’
The Deathday Letter, Shaun David Hutchinson (240 pages) – Ollie receives a letter saying he’s going to die in one day’s time, so his friend suggests he spend that day attempting to win the heart of the girl of his dreams, Ronnie. He does this (attempt to win: I’m not saying if he’s successful).
First sentence: ‘Oliver! Oliver, I need you downstairs right now!’
Party, Tom Leveen (228 pages) – it’s the end of the school year and there’s a party: eleven characters tell the story of why they went and what happened, leading to a conclusion that “no one saw coming.”
First sentence: I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide.
More to come…
Hi! Here are some new books.
Bait, by Alex Sanchez (239 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Diego is in trouble with the law, and has a deeply troubled past. His probabation officer, Mr. Vidas, is able to bust through Diego’s shell and help him out and ‘navigate his rocky passage to maturity.’
First line: ‘“This is Mr. Vodas,” explained Diego’s court-appointed attorney as they headed into juvenile court.‘
Wolf Squadron : Special Operations, by Craig Simpson (318 pages) – Secret agents Finn, Loki, and Freya must head into enemy territory to rescue downed aircrew, Wolf Squadron, and a British double agent. Finn & Co. have escaped from Nazi-occupied Norway and now work for Special Operations, a secret agency led by old Winston Churchill himself.
First line: ‘“Stop it! Leave hinm be, you two. Can’t you see you’re frightening him?” Freya reached out and grasped my arm.‘
Wayfarer, by R. J. Anderson (296 pages) – Linden is a teenaged faerie whose people – the Faeries of the Oak – are endangered. She has the last of her people’s magic, and with human Timothy, must save the humans and the faeries from a potent and ancient eeeeevil.
First lines: ‘The Queen is dying. The knowledge sat in Linden’s belly like a cold stone as she hunched over the tub of greasy water, scrubbing her thirty-ninth plate.‘
Other, by Karen Kincy (326 pages) – Gwen is an ‘Other’, in that she belongs to the barely-tolerated group of vampires, centaurs, and other mythical creatures. In her small town, however, Others are not tolerated at all, and when they start turning up dead she – and a sexy guy/Japanese fox spirit – must find the killer.
First lines: ‘I can’t last much longer. It’s been on week, three days, and I forget how many hours.‘
Leftovers, by Heather Waldorf (198 pages) – When Sarah’s abusive father choked to death on a piece of steak, it was the best day of her life. Shortly afterwards, after a brush with the law, she ends up doing community service at a camp for shelter dogs. There she meets Judy (a dog) and Sullivan (a human).
First lines: ‘Ah, summer. Lazy mornings in bed, flipping through back issues of People and munching on chocolate chip waffles.‘
Marrying Ameera, by Rosanne Hawke (292 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Ameera Hassan is falling for her best friend’s brother, Tariq. Her traditionalist father learns of this and send her to Pakistan, to get married to some guy she’s not met. Desperate to leave, she makes a bid for freedom.
First line: ‘“Ameera!” I head my name and then the single toot; Riaz was in his car already.‘
Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley (264 pages) – Lucy is desperate to find the graffiti artist, Shadow, whose secretive nature means no one know who he is (a la Banksy). Some guy named Ed, who Lucy doesn’t want to see, says that he knows where to find him, and he takes her on ‘an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.‘
First lines: ‘I pedal fast. Down Rose Drive where houses swim in pools of orange streetlight.‘
Split, by Stefan Petrucha (257 pages) – After his mother’s death, Wade can not decide whether to become a musician or a scholar. So he splits his mind into two and becomes both. But soon these two worlds begin to collide, and Wade will need to ’save himself’.
First line: ‘I’m staring at Mom’s face, a face I’ve seen at least as often as the sun or the moon, only something’s gone from it now.‘
Witch Breed, by Alan Gibbons (311 pages) – Book four in the aptly titled Hell’s Underground series, about the demonic entity under London. In this volume, Paul travels to the 1700s when it was an especially rough time for women accused of witchcraft.
First lines: ‘‘Tell me you will never forget me.’ The quill pen falters on the page.‘
Moment of Truth : The Laws of Magic Book 5, by Michael Pryor (442 pages) – I will quote a comment from Gill when we wrote about the fourth book in this series: ‘Laws of Magic is a wild steampunk fantasy adventure with nice touches of humour and even romance. It’s a world like ours just before WW1 but with magic. Lots of spying and plots and assassinations and misunderstandings. The main characters, Aubrey Fitzwilliam, is the son of the prime minister and he’s also sort of dead thanks to a magical experiment gone wrong. He’s involved with his friends in adventures. Great books!’
First lines: ‘Aubrey Fitzwilliam was on a mission. Determined, unwavering, purposeful, he would not be diverted from his goal, especially since spring was in the air.‘
Operation Ocean Emerald : A Luke Baron Adventure, by Ilkka Remes (307 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Luke Baron sneaks aboard the luxurious cruise ship, The Ocean Emerald, and encounters a criminal gang who have captured the ship. Only he can escape and save everyone. The cover (ominously!) features an exploding cruise liner!
First line: ‘Luke was looking at the computer games and didn’t notice a thing when Toni slipped the DVD into his shoulder bag.‘
And this week’s magazines:
Transworld Skateboarding October 2010 – Skateboarding | skateboarding | skateboarding! | skateboarding? | shoes
Dolly October 2010 – What to do when your friends ditch you | Bonus! Quiz book inside | Denim again, but with polka dots?!
Entertainment Weekly #1122 – Modern Family | Reviews, and more
Compromised, by Heidi Ayarbe (452 pages) – After Maya’s con-man father goes to prison, and she finds no joy in foster homes, she decides to try to find a long-lost aunt. It’s a long, dangerous journey (400 miles!) and the aunt mightn’t even exist.
First line: ‘First they take our flat screen.’
My Boyfriend’s Dogs : The Tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley, by Dandi Daley Mackall (265 pages) – High-school senior Bailey Daley turns up at a diner soaking wet and leading three wet dogs. The diner’s owner invites her in and listens to her story of searching for the perfect boyfriend (and obtaining three dogs).
First line: ‘“My mother says that falling in love and getting dumped is good for you because it prepares you for the real thing, like it gets you ready for true love and all, but I’m thinking it’s more like climbing up the St. Louis Arch and falling off twice.“
Paper Daughter, by Jeanette Ingold (215 pages) – Maggie Chen’s journalist dad is killed in a hit-and-run accident, and her research (for she is a journalist also) soon uncovers illegal activity that may be connected to him. She is determined to uncover the truth, and discovers more about her family’s past than she expected.
First line: ‘“Your, Maggie.” Mom pushed an envelope from the Herald down the counter where I was putting out bread for sandwiches.‘
Sweet 15, by Emily Adler and Alex Echevarria (240 pages) – Destiny Lozada is turning 15, and so a traditional quinceañera (a religious ceremony with party, tiaras and ballgowns) is planned by her parents. Her older sister thinks it’s an outdated and misogynistic ritual. So! Destiny doesn’t want to take sides and, in fact! would rather be skateboarding and watching TV.
First line: ‘Here’s how it went down, the beginning of The End. Breakfast: out of the blue, my mom, in a red bathrobe, with her makeup already on, making coffee in our big yellow kitchen, hit me over the head with “Destiny is having a quinceañera!”‘
Home Beyond the Mountains : A Novel, by Celia Barker Lottridge (224 pages) – It is 1918, and the Turkish army is eradicating the Assyrian and Armenian peoples in the eastern parts of the Ottoman empire. Nine-year-old Samira and her surviving family members are forced from camp to camp for many years before the opportunity to return home presents itself. Based on a true story.
First line: ‘A sound, a very quite sound, woke Samira.‘
Little Miss Red, by Robin Palmer (254 pages) – A summary prepared earlier: ‘Sixteen-year-old Sophie’s dream of meeting her soul mate during spring break in Florida seems to have come true, but she must determine if Jack is really the romantic hero he seems to be, or if ex-boyfriend Michael could be.’
First line: ‘I’m very big on signs. So when the captain announced that our flight to Florida would be delayed because of some last-minute passengers, I took that as yet another sign that this trip was going to be a disaster.‘
For Keeps, by Natasha Friend (267 pages) – Josie lives with her mum, and her father has never been part of the family. Until suddenly he turns up! And Josie also may have found her first, real boyfriend. ‘A fresh, funny, smart story.’
First line: ‘It’s the last Friday night in August, and instead of dancing on a table at Melanie Jaffin’s party with the rest of the soon-to-be junior class, I am crouched behind a tower of Meow Mix in the pet-food aisle of Shop-Co, watching my mother hyperventilate.‘
The Hunchback Assignments, by Arthur Slade (278 pages) – Modo is rescued from a freakshow by the mysterious Mr Socrates as a wee baby. He is subsequently trained as a first-class secret agent for the Permanent Association, who are pitted against the evil Clockwork Guild. Steampunk in a Victorian setting! Based on a true story (just kidding).
First line: ‘Six hunting hounds had perished in previous experiments.‘
Only the Good Spy Young, by Ally Carter (265 pages) – This is the fourth Gallagher Girls book. Gallagher Girls are spies-in-training! Cammie ‘The Chameleon’ is being hunted by an ancient terrorist organisation, and might not be able to trust even her classmates! Ever the way, I suppose.
First line: ‘“Target’s acquired, ten o’clock.” My best friend’s voice was as cool as the wind as it blew off the Thames.‘
The Demon’s Covenant, by Sarah Rees Brennan (442 pages) – This is the sequel to The Demon’s Lexicon, about a world of magicians and demons (obvs).
First line: ‘“Any minute now,” Rachel said, “something terrible is going to happen to us.”‘
Happy as Larry, by Scot Gardner (291 pages) – ‘An extraordinary tale of an ordinary family’, says the cover. ‘Laurence Augustine Rainbow is born into an ordinary family, and seems set for an ordinary life. But as the world around him changes, so does the happiness of his own family,’ says the catalogue, which points out that it is also ’unique, dark and ultimately uplifting.’ We can trust the catalogue, I feel.
First line: ‘Laurence Augustine Rainbow was born in July 1990.‘
The Mission, Jason Myers (361 pages) – When Kaden’s older brother is killed in Iraq, he follows his late brother’s advice and heads to San Francisco to visit his cousin. His previously sheltered life hasn’t prepared him for what he encounters there, and family secrets further rock his world.
First line: ‘The car creeps to the end of the driveway and turns onto the gravel road, the tires kicking up a small cloud of dust that whips into a spiral in the dead air before disappearing just as quickly as it came.’
Sugar Sugar, by Carole Wilkinson (337 pages) – Jackie leaves Australia and heads to Paris, dreaming of becoming a world-famous fashion designer. Somehow she ends up in Afghanistan! With New Zealanders!
First line: ‘I was dreaming of the sea when the moonlight woke me.‘
The Resurrection Fields : Book Three of The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus, by Brian Kearney (158 pages) – The final installment of this ‘concoction of science fiction, horror, and fantasy’ – ‘Although beset by otherworldly perils, Dante and his best friend Bea continue to be dedicated to the overthrow of Sigmundus and the dark powers that have latched on to his methods of authoritarian mind-control.’ Not based on a true story, but it would be cool if it was.
First line: ‘The storm that had raged over the south of Gehenna had finally blown itself out.‘
The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa (363 pages) – Meghan Chase, the back cover says, has a secret destiny. She is about to learn why she’s never really fit in, and why there’s a stranger watching her… and find love in the process.
First sentence: Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.
The Keening, A LaFaye (163 pages) – Set in 1918 which, Twilight fans might know, is when an influenza pandemic roared across the United States. Lyza feels like she’s the talentless member of an artistic family, but when her mother dies and she (Lyza) must help her father find his feet, uncovering her own gifts in the process.
First sentence: As a child who waded in the head-high grass of our cliffside home, I’d harbored a peculiar fondness for funeral marches – the sight of all those people in one long line, each face holding a memory.
The Complete History of Why I Hate Her, Jennifer Richard Jacobson (181 pages) – “Wanting a break from being known only for her sister’s cancer, seventeen-year-old Nola leaves Boston for a waitressing job at a summer resort in Maine, but soon feels as if her new best friend is taking over her life,” says the catalogue.
First sentence: Song is hanging on my arm, afraid I’m going to slip onto the bus and out of her life as quickly as I made the decision to go.
Toads and Diamonds, Heather Tomlinson (276 pages) – a fairytale set in India (in fact a retelling “of the Perrault fairy tale set in pre-colonial India” to be precise (the catalogue comes to the rescue yet again!)). Diribani and Tana both receive something from a goddess, one a blessing and the other a curse, at least this is how it first appears, but “blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem” (book cover).
First sentence: Diribani ran toward the stepwell.
Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, Mark Salisbury – to the movie, that is. Full of interesting photos and other graphics, and info about how this visual symphony was made.