I’ve been remiss in my duties – I completely missed Tuesday was the 219th anniversary of the birth of the great Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Not only did she write Frankenstein -argued to be the first science fiction novel ever- she had a fascinating life. Her mother was the great Mary Wollstonecraft, an early proto-feminist who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in which she argued for equality in education in men and women. Sadly, her mother died shortly after Mary was born. But the rest of her life was no less interesting. She flouted convention by running off with the still-married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Their social circle included the notorious Lord Byron and John William Polidori, creator of perhaps the first vampire story in modern fiction (although the authorship is still debated today.)
The genesis of Frankenstein began during a sojourn by Lake Geneva. Lord Byron proposed that each of the guests each write a ghost story. Mary struggled for some time, but eventually, after a strange dream, began to write Frankenstein. She was only eighteen at the time, which is pretty impressive. The rest of her life was pretty hard; she had to deal with the death of her husband, some of her children, and debt. But Frankenstein remains a classic. And of course I have recommendations! Frankenstein is a great source of inspiration for writers.
Frankenstein, or, The modern prometheus, Mary Shelley
Of course I have to start with the book that started it all. It’s not just a straightforward science fiction story; it looks at the possibilities and potential abuses of scientific knowledge, questions of personhood as well as guilt and responsibility. Frankenstein’s “monster” is not the green-faced, bolt-necked, incoherent monster of the movies. Rather he’s able to articulate his suffering as on outcast in a way that still resonates: “I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
Hideous love : the story of the girl who wrote Frankenstein, Stephanie Hemphill
This book tells the story of Mary Shelley herself; her life from her childhood to the death of her husband. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking novel told in free verse poetry. Don’t let that put you off picking it up, though – not a word is wasted. It’s sparse and beautiful and affecting – much more than any other biography of Mary Shelley I’ve read.
Man made boy, Jon Skovron
What if Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein had a son? Simply called Boy, he struggles to fit in with The Show, a refuge for other strange (mostly magical) creatures. He longs for a life outside, so makes the decision to leave – then goes on a road trip, while struggling to deal with a creation of his own. There’s also a sequel, This broken wondrous world.
Iris and the tiger, Leanne Hall
Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents. But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows. Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding? But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger. (Goodreads)
First lines: No one had ever asked Iris to spy for them before. She wasn’t totally convinced she’d be any good at it. But Iris also wasn’t in the habit of saying no to her parents – they paid her so little regard as it was – and when they first sat her down to outline their plan, Iris felt the unfamiliar glow of their attention.
Songs that sound like blood, Jared Thomas
Roxy May Redding’s got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a hot dusty town and is dreaming big. She survives run-ins with the mean girls at high school, sings in her dad’s band and babysits for her wayward aunt. But Roxy wants a new start. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. Roxy’s new life, her new friends and her music collide in a way she could never have imagined. Being a poor student sucks… navigating her way through the pressure of a national music competition has knobs on it… singing for her dinner is soul destroying… but nothing prepares Roxy for her biggest challenge. Her crush on Ana, the local music journo, forces her to steer her way through a complex maze of emotions alien to this small town girl. Family and friends watch closely as Roxy takes a confronting journey to find out who the hell she is. (Goodreads)
First lines: Hanging Dad’s washing on the line straight after school on a Friday was the last thing I wanted to be doing. At least I was listening to Vance Joy and could smell the basil Dad was growing or I might have set his jocks on fire. Drives me crazy how he just leaves his things in the washing machine like that.
Battlesaurus: clash of empires, Brian Falkner
In this stunning sequel to a unique alt-history adventure, dinosaurs from a forbidden world have been turned into unstoppable weapons by one of the most ferocious military leaders of all time. In the wake of Napoléon’s crushing victory at Waterloo, the vicious French general Marc Thibault and his brigade of giant carnivorous battlesaurs have struck terror across Europe. England stands alone, but an invasion is looming. Its only hope is a secret attack led by a magician’s son named Willem deep inside enemy territory, to the very heart of Napoléon’s terrifying new army. Deception and betrayal threaten the mission from its outset, but the courage and perseverance of Willem the “saur killer” and his friends lead to a clash of titanic proportions.(Goodreads)
First lines: The young French soldier shivers, and not from the cold, although here at the parapet of the castle the wind is icy and pitiless. From behind him and below come deep grunting sounds and the rattle of chains. That area of the castle courtyard is covered with hastily erected screens of sailcloth to keep out prying, spying eyes.
Lonesome when you go, Saradha Koirala
Paige plays base in high school rock band Vox Pop, which means keeping a steady rhythm even in their most raucous rock and roll moments. But in the tense build-up to the Rockfest competition, Paige finds that she can’t control everything in her life, no matter how hard she practises and how loud she plays. There’s stuff happening in the band that she can’t put her finger on, a friend who can’t handle her own secret anymore and a mysterious guy who plays double bass like an angel. But there isn’t much time to sort things out – Rockfest looms and so does the end of school year, when everything will change for good. (Publisher information)
First lines: The stage is huge. Lighting rigs and speaker systems tower above us and there’s a noise I can’t yet place. Slowly I tune in to the rhythmic roaring of a vigorous crowd. They’re invisible; coloured lights glare down on me and I’m looking out into darkness.
The level, Olivia Levez
Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She has to find water and food. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy. Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however, and with the help of the only other crash survivor, she sees that the future is worth fighting for.(Goodreads)
First lines: They all know what I’ve done. Of course they do. That’s why they leave me well alone. Hi I’m Rufus! is fascinated, like I’m some frickin sideshow. You can tell because his eyes are on me every time I look.
Breathing under water, Sophie Hardcastle
Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning. Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.(Goodreads)
First lines: Chilled bones. Red skin. White clouds exhaled as teeth chatter, and the ocean, just waiting for them…Beneath a silk veil of silence, feet sprint across wet grass, wet sand, and then lift.
Drag teen, Jeffrey Self
Debut YA author Jeffery Self takes us on a road trip with an insecure high school senior who has one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The problem is, he has zero means of paying for school — until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition for a college scholarship. (Goodreads)
First lines: This isn’t one of those stories about a heartwarming journey toward accepting my cursed homosexual identity. No. First of all, being gay is far from a case. It’s like an extra order of fries at Wendy’s because the lady in the window isn’t paying attention while she fills your bag.
Down with the shine, Kate Karyus Quinn
Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was. At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago. The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…(Goodreads).
First lines: “I gave you my name for a reason, Lennie. It might not be worth much now, but someday. Someday real soon, I’m gonna make it so Cash is a name nobody ever forgets. I’m serious, Lennie. People are gonna remember us.”
Draw the line, Laurent Linn
Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits only bring him the worst kind of attention. In fact, the only place he feels free to express himself is at his drawing table, crafting a secret world through his own Renaissance art-inspired superhero, Graphite. But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside-down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Maybe it’s time to not be so invisible after all—no matter how dangerous the risk. (Goodreads).
First lines: I should have been born with an owner’s manual. You know the WARNING page at the beginning that mentions all the dangers? This morning I’ve got a new one to add to the growing list that would come with mine: Don’t let nerd boy cut his own hair.
Unrivaled, Alyson Noel
Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life. But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago. She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel. That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.(Goodreads).
First lines: Despite the crush of tourists storming the sidewalks year after year, Hollywood Boulevard is a place best viewed behind a pair of polarized lenses and lowered expectations.
The incident on the bridge, Laura McNeal
The last anyone saw of Thisbe Locke, she was standing by a car on the side of the bridge. She’d been depressed since she stopped seeing Clay, who humiliated her in front of everyone at his party. But would Thisbe really jump because of that? Her sister swears she wouldn’t.
The police know that grief-stricken families always hope for a different ending. And that decisions about jumping can be made in an instant. Either way, there’s no sign of Thisbe.(Goodreads).
First lines: Thisbe had to stop. She had to quit obsessing about Clay and Jerome and college and ride her bike down to Glorietta Bay, where she always felt better, where she had researched and written “The effect of Pleasure Boating on Mid-Intertidal Zone,” the best paper Ms. Berron had ever seen from a high school student.
Dan vs. nature, Don Colame
Dan Weekes has two dreams in life: to become a famous graphic novelist and to one day muster the courage to ask Erin Reilly out on a date. Dan’s mom, however, has just one goal: to date every man in the state of California until she finally finds her Prince Charming.
When Dan comes home to find a Hugh Jackman look-alike in his kitchen, he’s prepared to write off this mountain-man-slash-dentist as another soon-to-be-ex. But then his mom drops a bomb: she and Hugh—er, Hank—are engaged, and she’s sending her “two favorite men” on a survivalist camping trip in the wilds of Idaho to “bond.” But Dan knows that it’s only a matter of time till Hank shows his true—flawed—colors, so together with his nerdy, germophobe best friend, Charlie, Dan launches Operation Torment Crusade—a series of increasingly gross and embarrassing pranks they’ll pull on Hank until he breaks like a twig. But the boys didn’t count on a hot girl joining their trip or a man-hungry bear stalking their every move. How can Dan possibly scare off Hank when his very survival now depends on him? (Goodreads).
First lines: Charlie and I are getting our asses punched. That’s right, punched. It’s the wrestling team this time. The fists come fast and furious – to the back of my head, my kidneys, my shoulders. And, yes, my ass.
This is the part where you laugh, Peter Brown Hoffmeister
Rising sophomore Travis and his best friend, Creature, spend a summer in a Eugene, Oregon, trailer park dealing with cancer, basketball, first love, addiction, gang violence, and a reptilian infestation. (Goodreads).
First lines: When it’s good and dark, I drag the two duffel bags to the edge of the lake. Out in front of me, smallmouth bass come alive on the surface of the water, and I wish I’d brought my fishing pole. But it’s good I didn’t – I don’t want to draw attention to myself.
The fall of butterflies, Andrea Portes
Willa Parker, 646th and least popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this new life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and it’s only the strength of her name that got Willa accepted in the first place. But Willa has no intentions of fitting in at Pembroke. She’s not staying long, she decides. Not at this school—and not on this planet. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel her spinning right out of her grasp. In Willa’s secret heart, all she’s ever wanted is to belong. But if Remy, the girl who gave her this world, is slip-sliding away, is Willa meant to follow her down? (Goodreads).
First lines: Bet you’d never though you’d be sitting at the freak table. It’s okay. You get used to it. Trust me.
Twenty questions for Gloria, Martyn Bedford
A bored teenager girl who meets a mysterious new boy bent on breaking all the rules. He is everything Gloria wishes to be, but he is not all he seems, and by the time she learns the truth about him, she is a long way from home. (Goodreads).
Question 1: Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Detective Inspector Katharine Ryan: This interview is being audio- and video-recorded, with parental consent and the agreement of the interviewee.
The star-touched queen, Roshani Chokshi
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself. (Goodreads).
First lines: Staring at the sky in Bharata was like exchanging a secret. It felt private, like I had peered through the veil of a hundred worlds. When I looked up, I could imagine -for a moment-what the sky hid from everyone else.
Charlotte cuts it out, K.A. Barson
Lydia and I were in eighth grade when we came up with our Grand Plan to go to cosmetology school and get jobs to build our clientele while we earned business degrees. Then we’d open our own salon . . .Now Charlotte and Lydia are juniors, in a Cosmetology Arts program where they’ll get on-the-job training and college credits at the same time. The Grand Plan is right on schedule. Which means it’s time for Step Two: Win the Winter Style Showcase, where Cos Arts and Fashion Design teams team up to dazzle the judges with their skills. Charlotte is sure that she and Lydia have it locked up—so sure, in fact, that she makes a life-changing bet with her mother, who wants her to give up cos for college. And that’s when things start going off the rails. As the clock ticks down to the night of the Showcase, Charlotte has her hands full. Design divas. Models who refuse to be styled. Unexpectedly stiff competition. And then, worst of all, Lydia—her BFF and Partner in Cos—turns out to have a slightly different Grand Plan…(Goodreads).
First lines: As I apply another layer of lip gloss and smooth my hair at the tiny mirror inside my locker, a deep voice whispers in my ear. “I don’t mean to alarm you, but there’s a severed hand sticking out of your backpack.”
The girl from everywhere, Heidi Hellig
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear. (Goodreads).
First lines: It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for much longer. I was in the crowded bazaar of a nearly historical version of Calcutta, where my father had abandoned me.
The problem with forever, Jennifer L. Armentrout
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day. It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard. (Goodreads).
First lines: Dusty, empty shoe boxes, stacked taller and wider than her slim body, wobbled as she pressed her back against them, tucked her bony knees into her chest.
Away we go, Emil Ostrovski
Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted—you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus. No one is expected to live to graduation.
What do you do when you go to a school where no one has a future? Noah Falls, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty spend their time drinking, making out, and playing video games on awaywego.com. But when an older boy named Zach (who Noah may or may not be in love with) invites Noah and Marty to join his secret Polo Club, the lives of both boys change as they struggle to find meaning in their shortened existence.(Goodreads).
First lines: I was fifteen years old. It was a dreary March day, a year and a half before the world was supposed to end. And the closest person I had to family wanted me gone.
This is the story of you, Beth Kephart
On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But when a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, when it strands Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland and upends all logic, nothing will ever be as it was. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing is gone. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.(Goodreads).
First lines: Blue, for example. Like the colour the sun makes the sea. Like the beach bucket he wore as a hat, king of the tidal parade. Like the word I and the hour of nobody awake but me. I thought blue was mine, and that we were each ourselves, and that some things could not be stolen.
The steep and thorny way, Cat Winters
Scene: Oregon, 1923. Dramatis personae: Hanalee Denney, daughter of a white woman and an African American man. Hank Denney, her father—a ghost. Greta Koning, Hanalee’s mother. Clyde Konig, doctor who treated Hank Denney the night he died, now Hanalee’s stepfather.
Joe Adder, teenage boy convicted of accidentally killing Hank Denney. Members of the Ku Klux Klan. Townspeople of Elston, Oregon.
Question: Was Hank Denney’s death an accident…or was it murder most foul?(Goodreads).
First lines: I drew a deep breath and marched into the woods behind my house with a two barrelled pistol hidden beneath my blue cotton skirt. The pocket-size derringer rode against my outer right thigh, tucked inside a holster that had, according to the boy who’d given it to me, once belonged to a lady bootlegger who’d been arrested with three different guns strapped to her legs.
The passion of Dolssa, Julie Berry
Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame. Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town.
The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies. When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers. (Goodreads).
First lines: I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it. Mine is the historian’s task, to record the events of the last century, showing God’s mighty hand in ridding these southern lands between the Garona and the Rose rivers of the heresy of the Albigensians.
Way down dark, J.P Smythe
There’s one truth on Australia: You fight or you die. Usually both. Seventeen-year-old Chan’s ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.
The only life that Chan’s ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive. But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead. Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery – a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger. And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain. (Goodreads)
First lines: The story goes that Earth was much older than the scientists though. We had assumed that we had billions of years left; that we would be totally prepared if the worst happened. Maybe that made us complacent. We thought that we understood what we were doing to the planet. We thought we had time to fix it.
An island of our own, Sally Nicholls
Siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family’s wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they’re not the only ones after the treasure… (Goodreads)
First lines: I told my brother Jonathan I was going to write a book about all the things that happened to us last year. About the home-made spaceships, and the lock pickers, and the thermal lances, and the exploding dishwasher, and the island that was old when the Vikings came, and Auntie Irene’s treasure, and all the things that happened before we found it.
Fire colour one, Jenny Valentine
A teenage girl will soon discover, there are some things which burn even brighter than fire. Iris’s father Ernest is at the end of his life. Her best friend Thurston seems like a distant memory to her. Her mother has declared war. She means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection so that she can afford to live the high life. But Ernest has other ideas.
There are things he wants Iris to know. Things he can tell her and things that must wait till he’s gone. What she does after that is up to her.(Goodreads)
First lines: At my father’s funeral, after everything, I lit a great big fire in his honour, built from stacked apple crates and broken furniture and pieces of a dallen-down tree. It towered over the scrubby piece of land I call the bonfire garden, and blazed, too far gone to fight, against the blazing afternoon.
Stone Rider, David Hofmeyr
Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive. The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury. And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything. (Goodreads)
First lines: Here for blood. Three dark Riders. In single file. They rise with bursts of spped, angled back in their seats, arms shaking as they steer their wild machines. Three Riders on low-slung, otherworldly bykes that catch the sun and bristle. Dort clings to their gold-mirrored sun-visors and their gleaming riding suits. They muscle across a wind-hammered landscape, riding up the slope of a dark mountain.
The six, Mark Alpert
Adam’s muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam’s only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero. Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam’s game. Created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam’s life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam’s dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son. Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat…before Sigma destroys humanity. (Goodreads)
First lines: I’m watching a virtual-reality program on one of my Dad’s computers. I wear a pair of VR goggles – a bulky headset that holds a six-inch-wide screen in front of my eyes- and on the screen I see a simulated football field. It looks like the field behind Yorktown High School but better, nicer.
Omega City, Diana Peterfreund
Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to the middle of nowhere, but Gillian knows he’s right and plans to prove it. When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey into the ruins of Omega City, a vast doomsday bunker deep inside the earth. But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried . . . forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: It started with a fire. When Eric and I walked through the front door, we were met by a wall of gray haze filling the rooms of the cottage, hot and thick and smelling very strongly of charred meat. My brother gave me a look.
“Third time this month.”
“You get the oven,” I suggested, coughing. “I’ll make sure Dad’s still conscious.”
The huntress of Thornbeck forest, Melanie Dickerson
Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game. Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers? The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher? (Goodreads)
First lines: The tip of the arrow found its mark, a perfect shot through the deer’s heart and lungs. The animal took two steps forward, then a side step. and fell over. Odette’s five men – more boys than men, as they were about forteen years old – darted out of the cover of the bushes and ran towards the animal that feed at least four families.
Three day summer, Sarvenaz Tash
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer. Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries. When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…(Goodreads)
First lines: “You. Are. A. Candy. Cane.”
The boy grips me by the arms, his enormous glassy eyes staring right at my chest through his long bangs. Under normal circumstances, I would feel terrified and violated. Instead I roll my eyes.
“He means candy striper,” Anna says as she zips across the tent, brining paper cups of water to the zoned-out patients slumped against the far side.
Into the dangerous world, Julie Chibbaro
17-year old Ror comes from the boonies and is tough as nails and all she really cares about is drawing and painting and making art. She ends up in the ghetto that was Manhattan in 1984, where she discovers that the walls, the subways, the bridges are covered with art. Before long, she runs into trouble with Trey, the ultimate bad boy and president of Noise Ink, a graffiti crew she desperately wants to join at all costs. When Ror falls in love with Trey, she realizes she’ll do just about anything to get up in the scene. She has some decisions to make: she wants to be a street artist but she doesn’t want get shot by the cops; she wants her stuff in the museum but she doesn’t want to die waiting to become famous; she wants to makes money selling her work in a gallery but she doesn’t want to be a puppet at the mercy of a dealer. The book follows her descent into a dangerous world, where her drawings are her only salvation. (Goodreads)
First lines: The night Dado burned down our house, he came upstairs and into my room. In his arms, he cradled a thick roll of brown butcher paper that he must have bought near the chemical plant where he worked. He smelled of sulphur, like a lit match. I hunched over my sketches on the wood floor, drawing the serrated edge of a knife, sharp and ready for a heart.
Survival strategies of the almost brave, Jen White
After their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station. Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.
When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found. (Goodreads)
First lines: Fake it. That’s definitely number one in my notebook. All people do it. Faking it could save your life. Just then, I was faking it. Writing in my notebook, like I had a purpose. A reason for being here. Like I had all of the time in the world to sit outside this sun-scorched gas station, waiting. I should have known better. All my natural instincts told me not to trust him.
Goodbye stranger, Rebecca Stead
Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games–or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl–as a friend? On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight? (Goodreads)
First lines: When she was eight years old, Bridget Barsamain woke up in a hospital, where a doctor told her she shouldn’t be alive. It was possible that he was complimenting her heart’s determination to keep pumping when half her blood was still uptown on 114th Street, but more likely he was scolding her for roller-skating into traffic the way she had.
Shadows of Sherwood, Kekla Magoon
The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown’s merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can’t rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.(Goodreads)
First lines: The sign on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS. Robyn scaled it anyway. Dogs? As in plural? she thought, as she laced her fingers in the chain link, wedged the toes of her boots into the diamond-shaped spaces, and climbed. That could be a problem. There were plenty of problems tonight.
Joe all alone, Joanna Nadin
When thirteen-year-old Joe is left behind in Peckham while his mum flies to Spain on holiday, he decides to treat it as an adventure, and a welcome break from Dean, her latest boyfriend. Joe begins to explore his neighbourhood, making a tentative friendship with Asha, a fellow fugitive hiding out at her grandfather’s flat. But when the food and money run out, his mum doesn’t come home, and the local thugs catch up with him, Joe realises time is running out too, and makes a decision that will change his life forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: I should know something’s up right from the off, because when I get in Dean isn’t on the sofa playing Xbox, there’s just that big dip there instead and a stain where he spilt Cherry 20/20 that time. And Mum has this smile on her like she’s on a TV game show, all stretched so wife you think her face is going to crack.
The hired girl, Laura Amy Schlitz
Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. (Goodreads)
First lines: Today Miss Chandley gave me this beautiful book. I vow that I will never forget her kindness to me, and I will use this book as she told me to – I will write in it with truth and refinement.
“I’m so sorry you won’t be coming back to school,” Miss Chandler said to me, and at those words, the floodgates opened, and I wept most bitterly.
The last good day of the year, Jessica Warman
Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder. Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.(Goodreads)
First lines: Midnight had come and gone, but Remy and I were still awake. How could anyone expect us to sleep with all the activity going on above us? Our mothers had tucked us into our sleeping bags hours ago, but the adults had continued their party upstairs.
Ruthless,Carolyn Lee Adams
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless. When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose. At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before. The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive. Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were. (Goodreads)
First lines: I can’t see. I don’t know why I can’t see. I do know I was just dreaming. Running in a white dress through a field of wildflowers, no less. It was like a commercial for laundry detergent or tampons or a prescription medication that has death listed as a possible side effect. The dream is embarrassing, but it’s better than the here and now.
The singing bones, Shaun Tan (Foreword by Philip Pulman, introduction by Jack Zipes.)
A unique and alluring art book showcasing Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures based on the timeless and compelling fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures. Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.(Goodreads)
First lines: It had always been my belief that, despite the multitude of beautifully illustrated editions of fairy tale collections that have piled up over the years, the best way to illustrate these little masterpieces of narrative is not to do it at all.
Forever for a year, B.T. Gottfred
When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice. (Goodreads)
First lines: It was my idea for us to start using our full names. It was going to help us take ourselves more seriously now we were starting high school. It’s like I used to be Carrie, this awkward eighth-grader, but now I was going to be Carolina, this amazing freshman. Oh my gosh, this sounds so dumb when I say it like that. Never mind.
No such person, Caroline B. Cooney
Murder. One of the Allerdon sisters has been charged with a pre-meditated killing and taken to jail. It doesn’t seem possible–but it’s happening. What was supposed to be a typical summer is anything but for this seemingly ordinary family. Shortly after they arrive at their cozy family cottage on the river, Lander meets and is smitten witha handsome young man, and they begin to date. Miranda has a bad feeling about her sister’s new boyfriend. And when the family must deal with an unimaginable nightmare, Miranda can’t help feeling that the boyfriend has something to do with it. The police say they have solid evidence against Lander. Miranda wants to believe in her sister when she swears she is innocent. But as Miranda digs deeper into the past few weeks of Lander’s life, she wonders why everything keeps pointing to Lander’s guilt.(Goodreads)
First lines: At first the police are casual. She too is casual. Puzzled, but not worried. The questions become more intense. The questions frighten her. Where are the police going with this? They are not giving her time to think. Her tongue is dry and tastes of metal. Her hands are damp. Her breath is ragged.
Silver in the blood, Jessica Day George
Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate… or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.(Goodreads)
First lines: Dearest Lou,
Whoever said that travel was exotic and full of adventure has clearly not sailed on the White Lady. Before you worry yourself sick that I am sitting in some squalid cabin, suffering from seasickness, fear not! Of course it is all that is respectable and luxurious, and I would never do anything so horribly undignified as become seasick.
Shadowshaper, Daniel Jose Older
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Sierra? What are you staring at?”
Blatant lie. Sierra glanced down from the scaffolding to where Manny the Domino King stood with his arms crossed over his chest.
“You sure?” he said.
The cut out, Jack Heath
Fero isn’t a spy. But he looks exactly like someone who is: Troy Maschenov – a ruthless enemy agent. But what starts as a case of mistaken identity quickly turns into a complicated and dangerous plan. Fero is recruited to fight for his country. He will have to impersonate Troy, enter enemy territory, hunt down a missing agent and bring her home in time to prevent a devastating terror attack. Fero is in way over his head. Hastily trained, loaded up with gadgets and smuggled across the border, he discovers the truth about espionage. Getting in is easy. Getting out alive is hard. (Goodreads)
First lines: “We shouldn’t be here,” Fero said.
“Will you relax?” Irla demanded. “It’s about to start.”
Irla didn’t look relaxed. She was shifting her weight from foot to foot on the cobblestones.
Adrift, Paul Griffin
Matt and his best friend, John, only came out to Montauk for the summer to make a little extra cash and then head back home. A seemingly basic plan for two guys from Queens.
And then Matt meets Driana. Because it’s always about a girl, right? The girl leads to a party, the party leads to a boat, which leads to being adrift at sea with three rich kids who have no clue about how to navigate a boat, let alone actually survive. Matt and John are used to creating stability in unstable situations, but Matt’s busy falling in love at the worst possible time, and John can rub people the wrong way when he’s focused on survival. Driana is trying to keep the peace, but her friends JoJo and Stef aren’t making it easy. The longer they are out there, the lower everyone’s reserves of mental and emotional strength, which is a problem since the biggest mistakes can happen when people are tired and hungry and have no hope. How far will each of them go to survive? (Goodreads)
First lines: The surfers called it The End for its killer waves. To Everyone else it was the end of Long Island. Montauk. It’s a town of beaches and bluffs on the tip of the south fork.
The glass arrow, Kristen Simmons
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning. (Goodreads)
First lines: Run. My breath is sharp as a dagger, stabbing through my throat. It’s all I hear. Whoosh. Whoosh. In and out. They’re here. The Trackers. They’ve followed Bian from the lowland village where he lives. The fool lead them right to us.
The accident season, Moira Fowley-Doyle
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? (Goodreads)
First lines: So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season,
To the river beneath is where we sink our souls,
To the bruises and secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling,
One more drink for the watery road.
Hit count, Chris Lynch
Arlo Brodie loves being at the heart of the action on the football field, getting hit hard and hitting back harder. That’s where he belongs, leading his team to championships, becoming “Starlo” on his way to the top. Arlo’s dad cheers him on, but his mother quotes head injury statistics and refuses to watch games. Arlo’s girlfriend tries to make him see how dangerously he’s playing; when that doesn’t work, she calls time out on their relationship. Even Arlo’s coaches begin to track his hit count, ready to pull him off the field when he nears the limit. But Arlo’s not worried about tallying collisions. The winning plays, the cheering crowds, and the adrenaline rush are enough to convince Arlo that everything is OK—in spite of the pain, the pounding, the dizziness, and the confusion. (Goodreads)
First lines: “All I ever wanted to do was hit people, is that so bad? Does that make me a bad guy?”
That would have been funny if Lloyd was trying to be funny but he wasn’t.
“That’s not so bad, Lloyd,” I told him, “And you are not a bad guy. I think you should stop that though.”
Reawakened, Collen Houck
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind. But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. (Goodreads)
First lines: In the great city of Itjawy, the air was thick and heavy, reflecting the mood of the men in the temple, especially in the countenance of the king and the terrible burden he carried in his heart. As King Heru stood behind a pillar and looked upon the gathered people, he wandered if the answer his advisers and priests had given was their salvation or instead, their utter destruction.
Lair of Dreams, Libba Bray
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer? (Goodreads)
First lines: Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each skinny steel beam, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or a filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new façade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park.
Legacy of Kings, Eleanor Herman
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise. Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters. (Goodreads)
First lines: Katerina races across the meadow, scanning for any roots or rocks in her way. Her heart thumps wildly in her chest. Her legs ache. The gazelle leaps slightly ahead of her, its hooves barely touching the grass. it is a blur of tan and white, with long, black-ringed horns; a creature not fully of the earth, but also of the sky.
Gotham Academy (graphic novel), Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits… Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude…and an unexplained fear of bats. Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals. Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled? (Goodreads)
To this day: for the bullied and the beautiful, Shane Koyczan
In February 2013, Shane Koyczan’s passionate anti-bullying poem “To This Day” electrified the world. An animated video of the lyric narrative went viral, racking up over 12 million hits to date and inspiring an international movement against bullying in schools. Shane later performed the piece to sustained applause on the stage of the 2013 annual TED Conference.
Now this extraordinary work has been adapted into an equally moving and visually arresting book. Thirty international artists, as diverse as they are talented, have been inspired to create exceptional art to accompany “To This Day.” Each page is a vibrant collage of images, colors and words that will resonate powerfully with anyone who has experienced bullying themselves, whether as a victim, observer, or participant. Born of Shane’s own experiences of being bullied as a child, “To This Day” expresses the profound and lasting effect of bullying on an individual, while affirming the strength and inner resources that allow people to move beyond the experience. A heartfelt preface and afterword, along with resources for kids affected by bullying, make this book an invaluable centerpiece of the anti-bullying movement. (Goodreads)
This is not a love story, Keren David
Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that’s impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father’s unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn’t take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect? In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time. (Goodreads)
First lines:Love is not necessarily a good thing. You generally end up getting hurt, or hurting someone else. Or both. Like last night. I’m talking about emotional stuff, just to be clear. Maybe actual physical injury would be a lot easier. Not in a Fifty Shades kind of way, obviously. Just, well, if Kitty had punched me in the jaw last night, I wouldn’t feel so guilty.
The summer of chasing mermaids, Sarah Ockler
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak. Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one. Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them. (Goodreads)
First lines: This is the part where I die. Don’t panic; it isn’t unexpected. The sea is prideful, after all, and Death never goes back on a deal. Granna always believed that the d”Abreau sisters were immortal, even after her daughter-in-law died delivering the last of us (me.) But among our six bodies, she said, there were only five souls. Twins were special. A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
Bomb, Sarah Mussi
When Genesis goes on a blind internet date, she just wants to get over her ex-boyfriend Naz. She just wants someone to like her again. But when Genesis wakes up the morning after the date, she can’t remember a thing. She doesn’t know where she is, or how she got there. And she can hardly move because she is strapped into some kind of body armour. Before she has time to figure it out, she receives an order through an earpiece stuck in her ear. And then a voice sounds in her head: ‘You have been chosen for an assignment. The vest you’re wearing is packed with high explosives. And with one mobile call we can detonate it.To her horror Genesis has become an agent of mass destruction, a walking weapon in the hands of a terrorist cell.
The countdown to detonation has begun: Genesis must re-examine everyone and everything she loves and make terrifying choices in the face of certain death.(Goodreads)
First lines: They held the girl face down. The man knelt on her legs. The teenage boy sat on her back.
“Pass the straps under her chest,” said the man.
The boy lifted her limp form, passed the webbed belts beneath her breasts.
“Careful. Don’t use the clip.” The man’s voice, sharp.
The boy hesitated.
The game of love and death, Martha Brockenbrough
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance? Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him. The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess. (Goodreads)
First lines: The figure in the fine gray suit materialised in the nursery and stood over the sleeping infant, inhaling the sweet, milky night air. He could have taken any form, really: a sparrow, a snowy owl, even a common housefly. Although he often travelled the world on wings, for this work he always preferred a human guise.
Dime, E.R Frank
As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets-a daddy and two “wifeys.” So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love. Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn’t realize it was happening until it was too late. But when a new “wifey” joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn’t love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her? (Goodreads)
First lines: The problem is the note. It has to be perfect or else my entire plan will be ruined. It has to be so perfect that its reader will have no choice but to do the right thing, see it all the way through. I’ve been in a lot of dilemmas in my life, but never one as complicated as this. I’ve though up more versions of the note than I can count. There is so much that needs to be said.
The sacred lies of Minnow Bly, Stephanie Oakes
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past. (Goodreads)
First lines: I am a blood-soaked girl. Before me, a body. Pulped. My boots drenched with his blood. I search out his eyes, but they’re gone, hidden away behind pale lids.
The world within, Jane Eagland
Emily Brontë loves her sisters, responsible Charlotte and quiet Anne, and her brother, tempestuous Branwell. She loves the moors that stretch all around her home and the village of Haworth, and she loves wandering over them even in the worst of weather. Most of all, she loves the writing that she and her siblings share, creating imaginary kingdoms, vivid characters, and exciting adventures. But change comes to the family when their beloved father falls ill, and Emily’s happy, isolated world crumbles. Charlotte is sent away to school, where she meets new friends and new ideas. Branwell is growing up and becoming absorbed in his own concerns, with no time for little sisters. And even dependable Anne, in the end, lets Emily down. She is left alone to face her enemies—old insecurities from the past that haunt Emily, and threaten to overwhelm her. (Goodreads)
First lines: Though it is night, the sun cats an eerie light over these regions, forlorn indeed. The snow is so yielding that at every step I plunge up to my knees and can barely make any headway. A cry from behind freezes my blood.
Louis Lane: Fallout, Gwenda Bond
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screen name, SmallvilleGuy. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Remember the plan,” I muttered
I sped up as the school came into view, a telltale yellow bus lumbering away from the curb. The soles of my knee high boots clicked against the concrete sidewalk. Fit in. Don’t make waves. A small herd of stragglers were still dragging their feet toward the three-story, pristine brick structure of East Metropolis High. I made it before the first bell, then – barely.
Scarlett Undercover, Jennifer Latham
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder. (Goodreads)
First lines: The kid was cute. Her bare, knobby legs swung back and forth like pendulums between the chipped legs of my client chair. Plastic safety googles rested on her forehead, held tight by en elastic band that circle her head and pooched her bobbed brown hair up at the crown. She was thin. Delicate, even. But her eyes were clear and blue and smart.
“I think my brother killed someone.”
Out of control, Sarah Alderson
When 17 year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she’s taken into police custody for her own protection. But when the police station is attacked and bullets start flying it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she’s a target. Together with a car thief called Jay, Liva manages to escape the massacre but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit two killers who will stop at nothing to find them. (Goodreads)
First lines: The policeman is looking at me, his head tilted to one side, a deep line etched between his eyebrows. He taps his pen in a slow staccato rhythm on the edge of the desk.
“What were you doing on the roof?” he asks.
I take a breath and try to unknot my cramping fingers, which are stuffed in the front pocket of the NYPD sweater I’m wearing.
“I was getting some air,” I say.
The girl who soared over fairyland and cut the moon in two, Catherynne M. Valente
September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home, and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers. (Goodreads)
First lines: Once upon a time, a girl named September told a great number of lie. The trouble with lies is that they love company. Once you tell a single lie, that lie gets terribly excited and calls all its friends to visit. Soon you find yourself making room for them in every corner, turning down beds and lighting lamps to make them comfortable, feeding them and tidying them and mending them when they start to wear thin.
The Darwin Faeries, William Geradts, Richard Fairgay and Gonzalo Martinez (graphic novel)
Survival of the fittest doesn’t work unless there are a few accidents along the way. This is the story of one such accident, creating Charles Darwin’s legacy, and the Faeries that will stop at nothing to ensure it. (Goodreads)
Read me like a book, Liz Kessler
Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her…Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?(Goodreads)
First lines: Where’s your best friend when you need her? I mean, seriously. It’s Saturday night and here I am in Luke’s front room with his sister, Zoe, and a bunch of his mates, listening to a rock band blaring about how we’re all going to die and watching a couple of lads do something that I think is meant to be dancing but looks more like they’re being slowly electrocuted.
Lullaby, Bernard Beckett
Rene’s twin brother Theo lies unconscious in hospital after a freak accident left him with massively disrupted brain function. There is hope, though. An experimental procedure—risky, scientifically exciting and ethically questionable—could allow him to gain a new life. But what life, and at what cost? Only Rene can give the required consent. And now he must face that difficult choice. But first there is the question of Rene’s capacity to make that decision. And this is where the real story begins. (Goodreads)
First lines: I remember the machine by his bed. It made a sound like sighing. Numbers twitched, unable to settle. A jagged line sawed across the screen. At least it was something to look at. Something that wasn’t him. They’d brushed his hair, as if he were already dead. A song came into my head, as if he were already dead. A song came into my head, I couldn’t chase it away. ‘Girlfriend in a Coma.’
The alex crow, Andrew Smith
Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel’s story of his summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a depressed bionic reincarnated crow. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Here, kitty-kitty.”
The cat had a name -Alex-but General Parviz always called him in the same generic manner. General Parviz, all gilded epaulets, and clinking medals, a breathing propaganda poster, repeated, cooing, “Here, kitty-kitty.”
The wrath and the dawn, Renee Ahdieh
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
First lines: It would not be a welcome dawn. Already the sky told this story, with its sad halo of silver beckoning from beyond the horizon. A young man stood alongside his father on the rooftop terrace of the marble palace. They watched the pale light of the early morning sun push back the darkness with slow, careful deliberation.
Disappear home, Laura Hurwitz
In 1970, as the hippie movement is losing its innocence, Shoshanna and her six-year-old sister, Mara, escape from Sweet Earth Farm, a declining commune, run by their tyrannical and abusive father, Adam. Their mother, Ella, takes them to San Francisco, where they meet one of her old friends, Judy, and the four of them decide to head off and try to make a life together. Finding a safe haven at the farm of kind, elderly Avery Elliot, the four of them find some measure of peace and stability. Then their mother’s crippling depression returns. Confused and paranoid, Ella is convinced that she and the girls must leave before Adam finds them and extracts revenge. The girls don’t wish to leave the only stable home they’ve ever had. But as Ella grows worse and worse, events conspire to leave them to face a choice they never could have imagined. Shoshanna has always watched over her sister and once again she has to watch over her ailing mother. Will she ever live a “normal” life? (Goodreads)
First lines: Shosanna knew evil when it crossed her path. Hell, she had walked with it by her side, whispering, like a serpent in her ear, for nearly fifteen years. She and Ella knew that time had run out. The time to think maybe next month, next week had passed. What came next had to be stopped. They had to leave. Now.
Bone gap, Laura Ruby
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame? Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go. (Goodreads)
First lines: The people of Bone Gap called Finn a lot of things, but none of them was his name. When he was little, they called him Spaceman. Sidetrack. Moonface. You. As he got older, they called him Pretty Boy. Loner. Brother. Dude. But whatever they called him, they called him fondly.
Extraordinary means, Robyn Schneider
At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French. There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times. But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. (Goodreads)
First lines: My first night at Latham House, I lay awake in my narrow, gabled room in Cottage 6 wondering how many people had died in it. And I didn’t just wonder this casually, either. I did the math. I figured the probability. And I came up with a number: right. But then, I’ve always been terrible at math.
Skandal, Lindsay Smith
Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia’s allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Yulia Andreevna Chernina.” The general’s mouth stretches around the rubbery Russian vowels as he reads from the file before him. “Did I get that right?” He smiles at me like any mistake would be my fault, somehow. “We are here to determine whether someone of your…background is fit to serve the United States of America in her constant battle against tyranny.”
The haunting of sunshine girl, Paige Mckenzie
Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “ Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…(Goodreads)
First lines: She turned sixteen today. I watched it happen. Katherine, the woman who adopted her, baked her a cake: carrot cake, a burnt sort of orange colour with white frosting smothered over the top. A girl named Ashley came over to her house with candles, which they lit despite the sweltering Texas heat.
Every last promise, Kristin Halbrook
Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.
Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.
First lines: We came back from spring break in Florida – me and Jen and Selma and Bean- with tans. Dark for Selena, whose skin deepened and just a kiss of golden cream for strawberry-haired bean. It has been, for all of us, our first trip without our parents.
Liberty’s fire, Lydia Syson
Paris, 1871. Four young people will rewrite their destinies. Paris is in revolt. After months of siege at the hands of the Prussians, a wind of change is blowing through the city, bringing with it murmurs of a new revolution. Alone and poverty-stricken, sixteen-year-old Zephyrine is quickly lured in by the ideals of the city’s radical new government, and she finds herself swept away by its promises of freedom, hope, equality and rights for women. But she is about to fall in love for a second time, following a fateful encounter with a young violinist. Anatole’s passion for his music is soon swiftly matched only by his passion for this fierce and magnificent girl. He comes to believe in Zephyrine’s new politics – but his friends are not so sure. Opera-singer Marie and photographer Jules have desires of their own, and the harsh reality of life under the Commune is not quite as enticing for them as it seems to be for Anatole and Zephyrine. And when the violent reality of revolution comes crashing down at all their feet, can they face the danger together – or will they be forced to choose where their hearts really lie? (Goodreads)
First lines: Jules stared intently at the image emerging under the sunlight. Blues turning to browns, the tones shifting before his eyes. Trapped behind the glass of the wooden printing frame were the ruins of the emperor’s out-of-town palace: scarred columns, gaping roof, sky and rubble, all slowly appearing in their sudden and terrible decay.
When my heart was wicked, Tricia Stirling
16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She’s a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.
Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter’s heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the “old” Lacy starts to resurface. But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?
First lines: My stepmother, Anna, swears magic exists in the everyday. I used to think she was full of it, but then one morning at Big Chico Creek we found a mermaid’s eye under a patch of bird’s-foot trefoil. The eye was large and perfectly round like a human’s, but it had the glittering green iris of a fish.
One true thing, Nicole Hayes
Frankie is used to being a politician’s daughter, but it’s election time, so life’s crazier than usual. Add a best friend who’s being weirdly distant, a brother to worry about, and the fact that Frankie’s just humiliated herself in front of a hot guy – who later turns up at band practice to interview her about her music. Jake seems to like Frankie – really like her. But then everything crumbles. Photos appear of Frankie’s mum having secret meetings with a younger man – and she refuses to tell the public why. With her family falling apart around her, Frankie is determined to find out the truth – even if it means losing Jake. (Goodreads)
First lines: Most sixteen-year-olds get woken by their parents because they’re late for school, or the dog needs walking, or there’s a maths test in the first period. My mum drags me out of bed with reminders she has to fight for international peace or solves world hunger.
Things we have in common, Tasha Kavanagh
Yasmin would give anything to have a friend… And do anything to keep them.The first time I saw you, you were standing at the far end of the playing field. You were looking down at your brown straggly dog, your mouth going slack as your eyes clocked her. Alice Taylor. I was no different. I’d catch myself gazing at the back of her head in class, at her thick fair hair swaying between her shoulder blades. If you’d glanced just once across the field, you’d have seen me standing in the middle on my own looking straight at you, and you’d have gone back through the trees to the path quick, tugging your dog after you. You’d have known you’d given yourself away, even if only to me. But you didn’t. You only had eyes for Alice.(Goodreads)
First lines: The first time I saw you, you were standing at the far end of the playing field near the bit of fence that’s trampled down, where the kids that come to school along the wooded path cut across.
Don’t stay up late, R.L Stine
Ever since a car accident killed her father and put Lisa and her mother into the hospital, Lisa can’t think straight. She’s plagued by nightmares and hallucinations that force her to relive the accident over and over again in vivid detail. When Lisa finds out that a neighbor is looking for a babysitter for her young son, she takes the job immediately, eager to keep busy and shake these disturbing images from her head. But what promised to be an easy gig turns terrifying when Lisa begins to question exactly who — or what — she is babysitting. (Goodreads)
First lines: My name is Lisa Brooks and I’m a twisted psycho. I wasn’t always a total nutcase. Before the accident, I thought I was doing pretty okay. My family moved to Shadyside in February. It took a little while to adjust to a new house, a new town, and a new high school. That’s normal, right?
Othergirl, Nicola Burstein
Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers.
When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.(Goodreads)
First lines: I’ve started to do a new thing where I pretend to ignore her when she taps on my window. It’s funny to sense her getting quietly furious while she’s hovering out there, hair illuminated blazing gold by the garden security light, while I carry on with home. Of course it’s not all that funny for long because Erica’s quiet fury quickly turns to an irate pounding on the glass.
Exile, Kevin Emerson
Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will. Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: As all true music fans know, this year is the fifteenth anniversary of one of rock’s greatest triumphs and tragedies: the release of Allegiance to North’s seminal second album, Into the Ever & After, which dropped one year after the death of lead singer and songwriter Eli White.
Misfits of Avalon, vol.1 Kel McDonald (Graphic novel)
Four modern-day misfit teens are reluctant recruits to save the mystical isle of Avalon. Magically empowered–and chained to the task–by a set of rings, and directed in their mission by a tight-lipped talking dog, they must stop the rise of King Arthur. But as they struggle to get used to their powers and each other, they’re faced with an even greater challenge: the discovery that they may not be the good guys in this story…
Bandette vol.2: Stealers, Keepers, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Graphic novel)
Bandette returns to steal readers’ hearts once again! The teenaged master burglar has thrown down the gauntlet with the Great Thieving Race, and friendly rival Monsieur has stepped in to take the challenge. This second charming collection of the award-winning digital series sees the two competing to steal the most priceless artifacts from the criminal organization FINIS and turning over whatever they learn about its plans to the long-suffering Inspector B. D. Belgique. But FINIS’s response could make this Bandette’s final crime spree!
What waits in the woods, Kieran Scott
It’s a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie’s new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip — a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances. (Goodreads)
First lines: There’s no question things could have gone differently out there in those woods. One zipper more tightly zipped, one foot more carefully placed on a rotting wood plank and I might not be here today. I might be roaming free instead of sitting locked up in this hole, sucky my every meal through a straw, staring at a padded wall.
We all looked up, Tommy Wallach
Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But then we all looked up and everything changed.
They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end. Two months to really live. (Goodreads)
First lines: “It’s not the end of the world,” Stacy said.
Peter looked down. He ‘d been staring vacantly at the sky, replaying his brief conversation with Mr. McArthur in his head. He still wasn’t sure of what to make of it.
Black Dove, white raven, Elizabeth Wein
Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes-in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat. Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation? (Goodreads)
First lines: Sindu told me I should aim for the sun. I still have a plane. There must be some way I can get Teo out safely. I think Momma’s hoard of Maria Theresa dollars is enough to pay for the travel. I am hoping my new passport is waiting for me in Addis Ababa. But Teo…Teo is trapped.
Along the river, Adeline Yen Mah
After a fall, CC is whisked away to a hospital. As she drifts in and out of consciousness, she is haunted by vivid dreams that seem strange—yet somehow familiar. Thus begins CC’s emotional journey back to a privileged life lived eight hundred years ago during the Song dynasty. CC is the daughter of a wealthy and influential man, but she finds herself drawn to a poor orphan boy with a startling ability to capture the beauty of the natural world. As the relationship between these two young people deepens, the transforming power of art and romantic love comes into conflict with the immovable rules of Chinese society. (Goodreads)
First lines: CC first noticed the woman in black when she stopped at the spice booth to buy salt and soya sauce. The market was packed with people. They crowded the narrow aisles between the stalls, jostling each other and bargaining for better value.
A Court of thorns and roses, Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
First lines: The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice. I’d been monitoring the parameters of the thicket for an hour, and my vantage point in the crook of a tree branch had turned useless. The gusting wind blew thick flurries to sweep away my tracks, but buried along with them any signs of potential quarry.
In a split second, Sophie McKenzie
Charlie’s life is torn apart by a terrorist bomb in a London market. Months later, she meets Nat, whose family was devastated by the same explosion. But as Charlie gets closer to Nat she uncovers secrets and a whole cast of shady characters that lead her to believe Nat knows more about the attack than he is letting on. (Goodreads)
First lines: I glanced at my phone. It was almost 3pm. Three pm was when the bomb would go off. I raced along the street, my heart banging against my ribs. I had to find Lucas. Canal Street market. That’s what the text had said. That was where Lucas would be.
Boys don’t knit, T.S. Easton (Librarian’s choice)
Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…(Goodreads)
First lines: Mum and Dad are at it again. They’re doing that thing where they make food-based double entendres all the time, thinking it goes over our heads. It goes over Molly’s head; she’s only six and she never listens to Mum or Dad anyway.
Saint Anything, Sarah Dessen
Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time. (Goodreads)
First Lines: “Would the defendant please rise.”
This wasn’t an actual question, even though it sounded like one. I’d noticed that the first time we’d all been assembled here, in this way. Instead, it was a command, an order. The “please” was just for show.
Read between the lines, Jo Knowles
Thanks to a bully in gym class, unpopular Nate suffers a broken finger—the middle one, splinted to flip off the world. It won’t be the last time a middle finger is raised on this day. Dreamer Claire envisions herself sitting in an artsy café, filling a journal, but fate has other plans. One cheerleader dates a closeted basketball star; another questions just how, as a “big girl,” she fits in. A group of boys scam drivers for beer money without remorse—or so it seems. Over the course of a single day, these voices and others speak loud and clear about the complex dance that is life in a small town. They resonate in a gritty and unflinching portrayal of a day like any other, with ordinary traumas, heartbreak, and revenge. But on any given day, the line where presentation and perception meet is a tenuous one, so hard to discern. Unless, of course, one looks a little closer—and reads between the lines. (Goodreads)
First lines: I step out of the mass of stinking bodies and get ready to catch the ball.
“Granger’s open!” someone yells.
Ben Mead has it. He pivots on one foot, trying to find an opening among the hands blocking his vision. He sees me and pauses doubtfully, then looks around for someone else. Anyone else.
Footer Davis is probably crazy, Susan Vaught (Librarian’s choice)
“Bless your heart” is a saying in the South that sounds nice but really isn’t. It means, “You’re beyond help.” That’s what folks say about fifth grader Footer Davis’s mom, who “ain’t right” because of her bipolar disorder. She just shot a snake in Footer’s yard with an elephant gun, and now she’s been shipped off to a mental hospital, and Footer is missing her fiercely yet again.
“Bless their hearts” is also what folks say about Cissy and Doc Abrams, two kids who went missing after a house fire. Footer wants to be a journalist and her friend Peavine wants to be a detective, so the two decide to help with the mystery of the missing kids. But when visiting the crime scene makes Footer begin to have “episodes” of her own, she wonders if maybe she’s getting sick like her mom, and that’s a mystery that she’s not at all sure she wants to solve. (Goodreads)
First lines: The day my mother exploded a copperhead snake with an elephant gun, I decided I was genetically destined to become a felon or a big-game hunter. That was good, since I had tried being a ballerina, poet, artist and musician, and I sucked at all of those.
Part-time Princesses, Monica Gallagher (Librarian’s Choice)
Working as costumed princesses at the local amusement park is a nice gig, but it’s not what Courtney, Amber, Tiffany, and Michelle want to do with their lives. These queens of high school have their own plans for life post-graduation, and they do not involve fixed games and fried pickles. But when all their plans fall apart, what are the girls to do? Left with no other options, they decide to keep their part-time jobs as princesses–for the moment. But even that plan is threatening to fall apart, thanks to the sudden and increasing muggings plaguing the park and chasing away customers. With their back-up jobs in peril, the girls have no choice but to take matters into their own hands and fight back. But the more they work to save the park, the more their part-time jobs become full-time, and the more their carefully-planned futures get pushed to the wayside. Will these princesses ever get their lives back on track?
Will they even want to? (Goodreads)
Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula, Andi Watson (Librarian’s choice)
Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated. This princess of the underworld has plenty of her own work to do but always seems to find herself doing her layabout father’s job, as well. The king doesn’t feel quite well, you see. Ever. So the princess is left scurrying through the halls, dodging her mummy, werewolf, and ghost subjects, always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well. Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He’s a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends. And then…more than friends? Maybe eventually, but first Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life. And with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she’ll succeed. (Goodreads)
Undead with benefits, Jeff Hart
Jake and Amanda are in love, on the run—and undead. They’ve teamed up with Cass, who’s ditched her former job as shady government psychic zombie-tracker, and they’re headed across the border into Iowa, where there’s rumored to be a zombie cure. Armed with a trunk full of guinea pigs (aka zombie snacks), they’re ready to take on the Midwest’s first undead warlord, the psycho psychic out for their blood, and their own superawkward love triangle. But the virus is spreading faster than you can say “zombie apocalypse,” and Jake, Amanda, and Cass have to find the cure—if it even exists—before the whole state of Iowa goes up in flames. (Goodreads)
First lines: My first week as a zombie ended when a dark haired psychic collapsed into my arms, blood curling out of her nose, her eyes wide and pleading with me. Behind us: a farmhouse where a hoard of Iowan zombies were still snacking on recently massacred government agents. Around us: Tall grass and the unconscious bodies of our friends, courtesy of some psychic mojo I couldn’t even begin to understand. In front of us: the future, the great unknown, and probably a lot of walking.
The boy I love, Nina de Gramont
Sixteen-year-old Wren has been content to stay in her best friend Allie’s shadow. It doesn’t bother her that Ally gets the cutest guys, the cutest clothes, and even a modeling gig—Wren is happy hanging with the horses on her family’s farm and avoiding the jealousy of other girls. But when Tim, the most intriguing guy in school, starts hanging out with Ally and Wren, jealousy is unavoidable, but not the kind Wren expects. Because even though Ally is way into him and Wren hasn’t flirted, not one little bit, it becomes increasingly clear that Tim prefers Wren’s company above anyone else’s. Tim’s unexpected devotion comes at the exact time Wren’s home life is about to be turned upside down. But at least there is Tim…always a gentleman and ever dependable. But as his own seemingly perfect world comes spiraling down around him and he tells Wren his biggest secret, Wren must decide what she’ll really do for love. (Goodreads)
First lines: I could tell you that the trouble between Allie and me started with Tim Greenlaw, but that wouldn’t be completely true. If I’m going to be honest (and what’s the point of telling this story of I’m not going to be honest?), it’s never been easy having a friend who looks like Allie.
Zodiac, Romina Russell
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories. When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts. Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians. But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?(Goodreads)
First lines: When U think of home, I see blue. The swirl blue of the seawater, the infinite blue of the sky, the brilliant blue of Mom’s gaze. Sometimes I question if her eyes were really that blue, or if the blue of House Cancer colours them in my memory.
The last leaves falling, Sarah Benwell
Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. (Goodreads)
First lines: I stare at the cursor blinking expectantly at the top of the page. Who do I want to be? There are so many choices; honest, funny, brave. A superhero with a tragic past and a bright, mysterious future; with super strength or telekinetic powers. I could be anyone and they would never know.
Avalon, Mindee Arnett
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light. Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.(Goodreads)
First lines: Stealing a spaceship shouldn’t be this easy. Jeth Seagrave peered around the corner and counted the number of sentries standing at the docking bay terminal. There were two of them, both sporting the tan uniforms of the local guards, with matching bored expressions. He slipped back before being spotted.
First team, Tim Green
Brock Nickerson is on the run…again. But this time his dad promises it’s going to be different. With his strong left arm, Brock knows he can be a great quarterback, and with the help of his new friend, Mak, he has a plan to beat the odds and make the first team. But the coaches have plans of their own, especially for the kids from the wrong side of the tracks, which is exactly where Brock now lives. Brock is trying to finally fit in, but his father’s past is creeping up on him—and one chance meeting causes everything to come crashing down. Will Brock finally be able to navigate his new life, or will his past force him back on the run? (Goodreads)
First lines: Brock was used to running. It’s just what he and his dad did. He could hear the thump of his own pounding heart. He looked out the window. The darkness outside their racing car was complete. Clouds covered the moon and a light drizzle rushed by in a mist.
Slump, Kevin Waltman
Derrick Bowen’s sophomore year is a grind. He’s been looking forward to the basketball season all summer, but his girlfriend Jasmine leaves him for putting too much focus on basketball. The promise his Marion East basketball team showed at the end of last season isn’t materializing. And the sweet jumper D-Bow worked on all summer just isn’t falling. When Derrick’s father is severely injured in a car crash, Derrick is faced with a new reality where basketball can’t be his only priority. (Goodreads)
First lines: Any other sixteen-year-old gets invited over to his girl’s place to watch a movie and it doesn’t mean they’re going to “watch a movie.” But with Jasmine, it actually means that’s what we’re doing – sitting on the couch in her living room, her tablet between us, checking out Jackie Robinson and 42.
Rat runners, Oisin McGann
Four young criminals. One simple task: steal a mysterious box from the daughter of a dead scientist. They have to follow her, bug her phone, hack her computer, search her home, all without her knowing. But WatchWorld run this city now. On every street are cameras, X-ray scanners, microphones. Terrifying Safe-Guards can see through walls, hear your heartbeat, analyze the smell of your sweat. Their motto? If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear. But Nimmo, Scope, Manikin and FX, who work in the blind-spots of the city’s shady underworld, are soon caught in a maze of deception, treachery and murder… will they make it out of the rat-runs alive?(Goodreads)
First lines: Nimmo heard the whistles and immediately stopped what he was doing. People on the ground floor of the tenement were warning those above. There was a Safe-Guard in the building. He looked at his watch, noting the time. Six-fifteen – three hours before sundown. He needed to be gone before seven, or he’d have to leave the job for another night.
Waiting for Unicorns, Beth Hautala
After her mother dies, twelve-year-old Talia McQuinn goes to the Arctic with her father, a whale researcher. Over the course of one summer, and through several unlikely friendships, Talia learns that stories have the power to connect us, to provide hope, and to pull us out of the darkness.(Goodreads)
First lines: The Inuit woman told me that if I ever saw a unicorn, to close my eyes. Tight.
“Unicorns break your heart,” she said, all the warmth seeping out of her voice. She was warning me against the very thing I was dying to see.
Diamond boy, Michael Williams
“Diamonds for everyone.” That’s what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields. Soon Patson is working in the mines himself, hoping to find his girazi–the priceless stone that could change his life forever. But when the government’s soldiers comes to Marange, Patson’s world is shattered.(Goodreads)
First lines: How did you get here, Patson? Sometimes the simple questions are the hardest to answer. My tongue lay like a chisel in my mouth; my eyes leaden. I was swimming from a place of no feeling, moving steadily upward into a world of sensation to the dark, throbbing pain that lived in my leg.
Knockout games, G. Neri
Knockout Games is set in modern day St. Louis amidst a disturbing rash of seemingly random attacks on bystanders by a group of urban teenagers in a crew called the TKO club. The protagonist, Erica, is one of a few girls who is down with TKO in part due to her natural skill with a video camera and her ability to make art out of the attacks. (Goodreads)
First lines: It came out of nowhere. The sound of Nikes charging across asphalt – the bounce of baby fat in the black kid’s face- the meat of his fist smashing into a random stranger’s jaw- I heard the SMACK! from where I was standing. Through my lens, I saw the stranger’s cigarette fly out of frame, his eyes rolling back into his head _ and then he just fell. Hard.
The Halcyon Bird, Kat Beyer
Mia has settled into her life with the Della Torres — Milan’s premier demon-catching family, accompanying them to exorcisms and even learning some way to be useful in the family trade. Then Bernardo comes into her life, handsome, well-mannered, someone who makes her forget her impossible crush on Emilio, her cousin. But always lurking in the background is the demon who possessed Mia once before, and who has not given up on possessing her again–this time for good. (Goodreads)
First lines: It was only a small candle. The first match went out, but the second took, and Nonno Giuliano nodded at the tiny flame like an old friend. The man on the floor lay perfectly still, his eyes on the ceiling, in the middle of a rug full of shattered glad, his head twisted at a frightening angle.
Seeker, Arwen Elys Dayton
Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’. Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. (Goodreads)
First lines: It would be nice to make it through alive, Quinn thought, She ducked to the right as her opponent’s sword came whistling past the left side of her body, nearly slicing of her arm. Quin’s own whipsword was coiled in her hand in its whip form. With a crack, she flicked it out, and it solidified into a long sword.
Salt and storm, Kendall Kulper
Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother – the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic – steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe’s power. The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches’ help to thrive. Avery has never read a dream that hasn’t come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance. (Goodreads)
First lines: Despite my mother’s best efforts, I never forgot the day my grandmother taught me how to tie the winds. That was ten years ago, when Prince Island was more than just a rock out in the Atlantic Ocean, when its docks choked with ships, when the factory furnaces spat out a constant stream of thick black smoke and the island’s bars spat out a constant stream of laughing men, their faces round and shiny.
A cold legacy, Megan Shepherd
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.
Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own. (Goodreads)
First lines: The last traveller’s inn on the road from Inverness was no place to die. Freezing rain lashed the windowpanes as I huddled over a warm bowl of soup in a corner of the inn’s ground floor tavern. Across the table, Montgomery rubbed a scar on his arm and stared out the window, scanning the muddy road for signs we were being pursued.
The unfinished life of Addison Stone, Adele Griffin
From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison’s life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28. (Goodreads)
First lines: The New York City Police Department confirmed they are investigating the death of artist Addison Stone. Her body was recovered early this morning in the East River near the Manhattan Bridge. Initial reports indicate that the victim fell while attempting to plaster a billboard at the Manhattan Bridge overpass.
They all fall down, Roxanne St. Claire
Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed. All because of the list. Kenzie Summerall can’t imagine how she’s been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her. This is the power of the list. If you’re on it, your life changes. If you’re on it this year? Your life ends. The girls on the list have started to die, one by one. Is it a coincidence? A curse? Or is the list in the hands of a killer? Time is running out for Kenzie, but she’s determined to uncover the deadly secret of the list…before her number’s up.(Goodreads)
First lines: I run away from home in a downpour. Guilt wends its way through my belly, knotting things up before catapulting into my throat, making it impossible to swallow or breathe. But I have to breathe. I have to exhale the taste of the words my mother and I just slung at each other.
For the forest of a bird, Sue Saliba
Nella waits for the swallows by the creek each spring. It’s a secret vigil she’s followed ever since her father left. This year she’s going to take him with her . . . but can we ever return to the way things were?(Goodreads)
First lines: Nella stood by the creek and waited. Blue sky above and thistles below that reached her knees, she knew the swallows returned in the second week of spring. Nella was fifteen and each September, she came here. No one knew about her vigil and she held it private inside her like a thing that might die if it were to flee into the open.
Playlist for the dead, Michelle Falkoff
Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand. As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.(Goodreads)
First lines: All my years of watching TV made me think it was possible you could find a dead body and not know it until you turned the person over and found the bullet whole or stab wound or whatever. And I guess in some ways that was right – Hayden was lying under the covers, tangled up in a bunch of his lame-ass Star Wars sheets (how old were we, anyway?), just like he always was when I slept at his house.
Shutter, Courtney Alameda
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever. When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.(Goodreads)
First lines: Call it Reaper’s insomnia, but the dead wouldn’t let me sleep at night. Every time the sun went down, I swore I sensed them stirring, starving. Killing. Tonight was no different. As the boys and I pulled up to St. Mary’s hospital, the scene seized and help my nerves at knife-point. The hospital’s power? Out.
Suspicion, Alexandra Monir
“There’s something hidden in the maze.”
Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor. For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope. Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.(Goodreads)
First lines: I should know this room. I’ve been inside countless times. But everything looks different now. The vibrant colours have all turned gray, the view out the windows is a foreign blur, and someone must have rearranged the furniture without telling me. Everything feels out of place, and as I moved toward a favourite chair, I nearly sink into empty space.
City of Savages, Lee Kelly
It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.
When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel. Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past. (Goodreads)
First lines: Through our wall of windows, I watch darn stand up and take on the city. It throws a thick, molten net over the sky-scrapers, sets the river on fire, and makes me restless to be outside. It’s our last day downtown, and I want to enjoy every second of it.
X, Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon
Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.(Goodreads)
First lines: Friends tell me trouble’s coming. I ease out of the restaurant onto the sidewalk, gun in my pocket. Hand in there, too, keeping it close for good measure. I gotta get back to my pad, and quick now. One foot in front of the other. Keep my head down, hope no one sees me.
Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass, Meg Medina
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.(Goodreads)
First lines: “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.”
A kid named Vanesa tells me this in the morning before school. She springs out with no warning and blocks my way, her textbook held at her chest like a shield. She’s tall like me and caramel. I’ve seen her in the lunchroom, I think. Or maybe just in the halls. It’s hard to remember.
Hidden, Donna Jo Napoli
Lost at sea when her sister is taken captive on a marauding slave ship, Brigid is far removed from the only life she knew as a princess and the pampered daughter of an Irish king. Now Brigid has few choices. Alone and abandoned, she disguises herself as a boy and vows to find her innocent sister taken into slavery. Through her search many years pass and she grows from being a child to a woman, tough Brigid does not give up. She lives from the land, meets friend and foe along the way, and gains a reputation as a woman thought to be fierce enough to conquer men. It is not fierceness that guides her but the love of isster and the longing for her family to be united. One day she finds her way, knowing that her only real power comes from within herself.(Goodreads)
First lines: The shock of the cold makes me go instantly rigid. I lift my arms and break the water’s surface and claw at my cheeks till I manage to pull the gag down, and I’m gasping. White glitters the water, the air. Splashes come from somewhere. My arms flail. Shivers seize me. I clamp my jaw shut to hold down the chattering.
Waiting for Gonzo, Dave Cousins
Meet Oz . . . he’s got a talent for trouble but his heart’s always in the right place (well, nearly always).
Uprooted from his friends and former life, Oz finds himself stranded in the sleepy village of Slowleigh. When a joke backfires on the first day at his new school, Oz attracts the attention of Isobel Skinner, the school psycho – but that’s just the beginning.
After causing an accident that puts his mum in hospital, Oz isn’t exactly popular at home either. His older sister’s no help, but then she’s got a problem of her own . . . one that’s growing bigger by the day. Oz knows he’s got to put things right, but life isn’t that simple, especially when the only people still talking to you are a hobbit-obsessed kid and a voice in your own head!(Goodreads)
First lines: Listen, G- this is important and there isn’t much time. I want you to know what really happened, because things weren’t supposed to end like this. I blame Marcel Duchamp, but he’s dead, so there’s not much anybody can do to him now.
Monkey wars, Richard Kurti
When the Langur monkey troop rises to power on the dusty streets of Calcutta, it is at a price. A brutal massacre drives the Rhesus troop out of the place they called home and forces them to embark on a dangerous journey. But one Langur monkey, Mico, is prepared to stand up to the tyrannical Langur regime and fight for truth, friendship and love. As Mico uncovers the secrets and lies at the heart of the corrupt Langur leadership, he quickly realizes he is playing a dangerous game. And when monkeys turn on each other, there can be no survivors…(Goodreads)
First lines: They struck at noon. Monkeys shrieked in confusion as langur fighters sprang down from the cemetery walls, howling in an attacking frenzy. As they stormed through the tombs, fear and panic flashed everywhere. And with the screams came the smell of blood.
Like water on stone, Dana Walrath
It is 1914, and the Ottoman Empire is crumbling into violence. Beyond Anatolia, in the Armenian Highlands, Shahen Donabedian dreams of going to New York. Sosi, his twin sister, never wants to leave her home, especially now that she is in love. At first, only Papa, who counts Turks and Kurds among his closest friends, stands in Shahen’s way. But when the Ottoman pashas set their plans to eliminate all Armenians in motion, neither twin has a choice. After a horrifying attack leaves them orphaned, Shahen and Sosi flee into the mountains, carrying their little sister, Mariam. Shahen keeps their parents’ fate a secret from his sisters. But the children are not alone. An eagle named Ardziv watches over them as they run at night and hide each day, making their way across mountain ridges and rivers red with blood. (Goodreads)
First lines: Three young ones,
one black pot,
a single quill,
and a tuft of red wool
are enough to start
a new life
in a new land.
I knew this is true
because I saw it.
Vango: between sky and earth, Timothee de Fombelle (translated by Sarah Ardizzone)
In a world between wars, a young man on the cusp of taking priestly vows is suddenly made a fugitive. Fleeing the accusations of police who blame him for a murder, as well as more sinister forces with darker intentions, Vango attempts to trace the secrets of his shrouded past and prove his innocence before all is lost. (Publisher’s information).
First lines: Forty men in white were lying facedown on the cobbled square. It looked like a giant snowfield. Swallows whistled as they brushed past the bodies. Thousands of people were watching the spectacle. The cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris spread her shadow over the assembled crowd.
There will be lies, Nick Lake
In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody. (Goodreads)
First lines: I’m going to be hit by a car in about four hours, but I don’t know that yet. The weird thing is, it’s not the car that’s going to kill me, that’s going to erase me from the world. It’s something totally different. Something that happens eight days from now and threatens to end everything.
Killing time in Crystal City, Chris Lynch
Crystal City called for him, and Kevin answered. And why wouldn’t he? His relationship with his father is broken—as is his arm. With barely anyone to miss him or care if he’s gone, it seemed like the perfect time for Kevin to run away to his estranged uncle and create an entirely new identity. New name. New attitude. New friends. Maybe even a new girl. From the first moment of adventure, Kevin’s life takes a turn for the exciting. Making friends seems easy with his new persona, especially when a group of homeless beach bums instantly includes him in their crew. But do they like the real Kevin, or the guy he’s pretending to be? And will this new lifestyle help Kevin escape from the misery of his former life—or will it drag him right back into the reasons he left home? (Goodreads)
First lines: I came for the name. I should probably be embarrassed to admit making a decision on such lameness. But I figure if you are aiming for a place to do a total reboot on your entire self, then you aim for a place with a name like Crystal City.
Falling Kingdoms, Morgan Rhodes
In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love. (Goodreads)
First lines: She’d never killed before tonight.
“Stay back,” her sister hissed.
Jana pressed against the stone wall of the villa. She searched the shadows that surrounded them, briefly looking up at the stars, bright as diamonds against the black sky.