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Tag: Grief

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

Image thanks to Blue Willow Bookstore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBait, Alex Sanchez

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

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNorth Child, Edith Pattou

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

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChasing Brooklyn, Lisa Schroeder

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

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

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

New Books

the one word titles edition:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSurfacing, Nora Raleigh Baskin (192 pages) – Though only a sophomore, Maggie Paris is a star on the varsity swim team, but she also has an uncanny, almost magical ability to draw out people’s deepest truths, even when they don’t intend to share them. It’s reached a point where most of her classmates, all but her steadfast best friend, now avoid her, and she’s taken to giving herself away every chance she gets to an unavailable — and ungrateful — popular boy from the wrestling team, just to prove she still exists. Even Maggie’s parents, who are busy avoiding each other and the secret deep at the heart of their devastated family, seem wary of her. Is there such a thing as too much truth?

First lines: “The most peaceful memory I have is of when I drown. And if I close my eyes, I can still see the sunlight, cut into white bands, broken at the water’s surface.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsReach, Hugh Brown (256 pages) – Will Clark thinks he’s a socially inept bookworm who just happens to enjoy cross-country running and taekwondo. But then his mother returns after a five-year absence overseas, and he has his first full-contact taekwondo fight, and the gorgeous comic-reading Conway Jones asks if she can be his maths tutor … Will must reassess himself, and his past, as he reaches towards a new future and lets his dreams take flight.

First lines: “‘You want a hand?’ Will called. Lloyd Clark, wiry and tireless, was digging in his huge vegetable garden, his white singlet patched with sweat.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTowering, Alex Flinn (293 pages) – Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her. Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again. Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

First lines: “I had not been outside in years. I wasn’t sure how many, exactly, because I didn’t keep track from the beginning. I didn’t realize I’d need to.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsScowler, Daniel Kraus (288 pages) – Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father’s physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.

First lines: “A tooth was missing and that was never a pleasant thing. It was going on thirty minutes that Ry and Sarah had been after it.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCharmfall, Chloe Neill (242 pages) – High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death. When a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone! And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines.

First lines: “His fur was silvery gray. His eyes shifted color between sky blue and spring green, and his ears were flat against his head. I’d tripped and fallen, which put me at eye level with the giant werewolf in front of me.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRun, Tim Sinclair (235 pages) – Dee lives for parkour and the alternative worlds he invents to escape his mundane life. He knows the city better than anyone – the hidden spaces at night, the views that no one else sees, from heights that no one else can scale. With parkour, he’s not running away. He’s free. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Soon, Dee is running for his life, running for real.

First lines: “I walk. One foot and then the next, just like everyday people. Feet on the ground just like everyday people.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTrinkets, Kirsten Smith (275 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Moe’s Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world’s unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her…and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has “klepto” written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation. Tabitha challenges the three to a steal-off and so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.

First lines: “The people who say Portland is a place where hipster thirtysomethings go to retire clearly have never been to Lake Oswego”

New Books!

Only a few new
books have come in this week I
am sorry to say


See You at Harry’s
, by Jo Knowles (310 pages) – Fern feels a bit rejected by her family, who all have their own things to deal with. Her father run Harry’s, a restaurant, and in addition to an older sister (sarcastic and self-involved), an older brother (coming to terms with being gay), and a mother who is never around, she also has a toddler brother who is always the centre of attention. Until tragedy strikes, sadly, and Fern feels responsible and desolate. Do things get better? Usually!

First line: ‘The very best day of my life, I threw up four times and had a fever of 103 degrees.

New Girl, by Paige Harbison (314 pages) – Cassie is newly arrived at the exclusive and hoity-toity Manderley Academy, and finds that her spot was recently vacated by Becca Normandy. Becca was perfect in all the ways that really matter in novels set in exclusive adademies, although in this case she has been missing since the end of last year. Cassie feels like an imposter and it isn’t helped when she falls for Max, Becca’s ex-boyfriend. Is Becca out there, waiting ..?

First line: ‘The panoramic view outside the windoes of the bus showed a world that wasn’t mine.

Tina’s Mouth : An Existential Comic Diary, by Keshni Kashya & illustrations by Mari Araki (242 pages) – This is a graphic novel, but with a lot of text, so it’s more like an illustrated book? Tina’s parents are from India and she is from California, where she goes to the Yarborough Academy in Southern California. She creates an ‘existential diary’ for her English class, in an attempt to fix her place in the world; this book represents that diary. Also a good intro to Satre.

First lines: ‘Dear Mr. Jean-Paul Sartre, I know that you are dead and old and also a philosopher. So, on an obvious levl, you and I do not have a lot in common.

Secrets of the Henna Girl, by Sufiya Ahmed (269 pages) – Zeba Khan is sixteen, and life is okay. She’s just finished school in the UK and is waiting for her exam results, and excited for college and uni. First she is spending the summer break in Pakistan with her family. There she learns – to her shock! – that is she is it to marry a stranger, to protect her father’s honour. Does she hold the secrets that will help her escape?

First lines: ‘The rain was beating hard against the window. It was the typical English rain of the summer – fast and furious as it attempted to wash away the dusty, dry heat of the unbearably hot days.

Messy : A Novel, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (359 pages) – This is a companion book to Spoiled, about Brooke Berlin who discovers her father is a rich and famous movie-star. Now, to help her career along, she decides to start up a blog full of Hollywood inside gossip. But she doesn’t have time to actually write anything, so she hires Max, a green-haired girl who loathes celebrities, to secretely do all the work for her.

First line: ‘“You were so good in that movie. Talking dogs are my favorite.” Max McCormack felt a snicker bubbling up, like a secret, and willed it to die.

New Books – ‘spongy blades collapsing’

You guys, here are some more new books!

12 Things To Do Before You Crash and Burn, by James Proimos (121 pages) – Hercules Martino is 16, and the son of a recently deceased famous self-help guru who was no good as a dad. Staying with his uncle for Summer, Hercules is set twelve tasks that will ‘change the way he sees his past, present, and future.’ A book that is short, funny (as promised by Library Journals LLC) and in all likelihood a satisfying read.

First lines: ‘The casket is close. It was a plane crash, after all.

Light Beneath Ferns, by Anne Spollen (206 pages) – Here’s another not-so-long book; this time a ghost story, not a comedy. Elizah moves in with her mother, who is a caretaker at a cemetery. She finds a human jawbone by a river (!!!) and, at the cemetery, she meets Nathaniel, who is mysterious and, you know, maybe not all there. LITERALLY. Fans of supernatural romance probably won’t be disappointed.

First lines: ‘This story does not teach a lesson. It does not explain gravity or the pack rituals of wolves or how the sun will explode one day and leave us all inside a gray welt of ice and famine.

Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham (333 pages) – Max “the Wolf” is a champion boy scout who – inexplicably! – wakes up in a strange forest with no memory of how he got there. With him is a badger, a bear, and a barn cat who are similarly clueless but can talk. They realise that they are being hunted, and it’s up to Max to solve the mystery of what’s what. This is by the writer of the Fables comics, with drawings by the comic artist throughout. ~the more you know~

First line: ‘Max the Wolf was a wolf in exactly the same way that foothills are made up of real feet and a tiger shark is part tiger, which is to say, not at all.

Vintage Veronica, by Erica S. Perl (279 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Veronica gets a summer job in the Clothing Bonanza, a second-hand clothing store. She is pretty happy about that! She loves fashion, and her job is to sort out the quality stuff from the rubbish, and she doesn’t have to deal with customers (she has low self-esteem). Two ‘outrageous yet charismatic’ salesgirls befriend her and encourage her to stalk the stock boy as a joke. Soon Veronica realises she will need to come out of her (proverbial! obviously) shell when romance blossoms.

First lines: ‘I’m sure you don’t know me. But you’ve probably seen me around. I’m that fat girl. You know, the one who dresses funny. The one who wears those ridiculous poufy skirts from the fifties that look like she hacked off the top of an old prom dress (because actually, I did).

How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr (341 pages) – Here is the catalogue synopsis for what might be a little grim but ultimately uplifting book; ‘Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill’s mother agrees to adopt Mandy’s unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.’  

First line: ‘Dad would want me to be here. There’s no other explanation for my presence.

Kiss of Death, by Lauren Henderson (307 pages) – This is the final book in the series that began with Kiss Me Kill Me. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have the second and third books in the series! We will buy them. IN THE MEANTIME, here’s a brutal abridgement of the catalogue synopsis: ‘Scarlett [and] Taylor arrive in Scotland […] Old friends and enemies […] explore […] passages under Edinburgh […] [and] someone is out to get [Scarlett] […] and that person has deadly plans for her. Is it time to kiss our heroine goodbye?’

First line: ‘This is absolutely the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

The Espressologist, by Kristina Springer (184 pages) – Jane is seventeen and a barista  (someone who makes coffee). She has a theory that you can tell a lot about someone by the coffee they drink*, and she uses this to set people up on dates. She’s pretty good at it, so her boss develops it as an instore promotion. BUT she matches her best friend with Cam, which in hindsight was silly since she maybe is a little bit in love with him?
*Probably wouldn’t work in NZ where we all drink flat whites, pretty much

First line: ‘“Excuse me,” the customer says, stepping up to the counter. I quickly stop scribbling in my notebook and slide it onto the shelf under the espresso machine.

The Warlock ‘s Shadow, by Stephen Deas (291 pages) – The follow-up to The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice. When the thief-taker is hired to protect a prince, Berren (the apprentice) is pleased to get away from the tedium at the temple. He meets a girl, who happens to be a Dragon Monk, the best sword fighters ever to wield a sword. But the prince needs protection for a reason – people want to kill him and anyone who stands in their way, including young Berren. Especially Berren! Maybe

First line: ‘Kasmin didn’t see the three men come into the tavern but he knew they were there almost at once.

Unleashed : Wolf Springs Chronicles, by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie (385 pages) – Katelyn moves to a new town, to live with her grandfather in the middle of a forest. Her new school is Wolf Springs High. Judging from the cover and the blurb on the back that says, ‘a dark exciting tale that will have you believing in werewolves,’ I am willing to bet this is about werewolves! Book one in a series

First lines: ‘I can fly. Katelyn Claire McBride was the girl on the flying trapeze.

Hunters : Phantom – The Vampire Diaries, not really by L. J. Smith (413 pages) – This is a brand-new VD story. Apparently it was written by a ghostwriter, since the publisher who holds the copyright fired L. J. Smith. That seems a bit strange actually! Anyway, Damon is dead, Elena and Stefan can be together, but Elena dreams of Damon. And she loves him a little too. A lot maybe! Soon everyone is threatened by a new darkness.

First line: ‘Elena Gilbert stepped onto a smooth expanse of grass, the spongy blades collapsing beneath her feet.

New Books

Carter’s Big Break, by Brent Crawford (231 pages) – This is the follow-up to Carter Finally Gets It. Will Carter has survived his freshman year at high school, and has somehow been cast in a film opposite Hollywood teen actress, Hilary Idaho.

First line: ‘On the last day of school, I’m happily strolling down the hall after Mr. Rumpford’s ridiculously hard algebra final.

Somewhere in Blue, by Gillian Cummings (334 pages) – Sandy’s father has died and she wallows in grief. Her mother seems to be coping a bit too well, and Sandy also distances herself from her best friend, who in turn has a difficult relationship with her mother. “An intense story of loss and shifting relationships.”

First line: ‘Something about the waves, something about their blue-gray depths, had been flowing down into Sandy, rushing in to fill a gaping hole.

The Selected, by Patrick Cave (405 pages) – This is a prequel/sequel to Sharp North (or is it the other way round? or both?). The setting is a futuristic Britain ruled by Great Families who keep spare clones of themselves. Climate change and a fascistic government mean life is a raw deal for everyone else.

First lines: ‘Dawn in the mountains. The first iron heat gathering, shimmering in bands across hard, thirsty slopes.

Anastasia’s Secret, by Susanne Dunlap (330 pages) – Anastasia Romanova was a daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, who, along with his family, were killed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution. History is grim! However! There is some doubt as to their fates, and this book is “a haunting vision of the life – and imagined love story – of Russia’s last princess.”

First lines: ‘We are surrounded by guards. Not the nice ones; the ones we don’t like, who make us bow to them, make us show our identity cards and take a long time to examine them, even though they know perfectly well who we are and that we haven’t been anywhere outside of the Governer’s House in Tobolsk for months.

Stravaganza : City of Ships, by Mary Hoffman (348 pages) – The fifth book in The Stravaganza Sequence, about time travelling teens who end up in Talia, a country in a parallel world, much like 16th-century Italy. But with pirates!

First line: ‘If she raised herself slightly from the stool she sat on, Flavia could see the masts of ships in the harbour.

Radiance, by Alyson Noël (183 pages) – Riley Bloom dies in a car crash, and ffins herself in an afterlife where she gets a job as a Soul Catcher. Some spirits don’t want to move on, and her first task to to find one such spirit. Also! Her dog died with her so he’s there as well.

First line: ‘Most people think that death is the end.

I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (249 pages) – The latest in a long line of Discworld novels. Tiffany is a witch, and isn’t finding the job too glamorous. The fightin’ Nac Mac Feegles aren’t helping either.

First line: ‘Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much? Why was noise so important?

Burning Mountain, by L. J. Adlington (315 pages) – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Italy during WWII and the Afghan War are all connected in this book.

First line: ‘Drenched in grey ash, grazed by a rain of rock, Gaius Justinius Aquila staggered along the beach, eyes wide at all the horrors.

Fierce September, by Fleur Beale (358 pages) – Book two of the Juno series. ‘Juno and the Taris inhabitants must leave their dying island to live on the Outside, a seemingly hostile place of pandemics and conflict. Juno enjoys the new freedoms and choices now available to her in a future New Zealand. But Taris doesn’t give up its hold so easily, and she is shocked to find the island held more secrets than any of them knew.’

The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller (410 pages) – Not a reference to vampires, thank goodness, but rather people who are reincarnated repeatedly. I think! Take a gander at the official website and watch the trailer.

First line: ‘Haven was back.

Lots of New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* 🙁

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the latest magazines:

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