Our graphic novel section is growing bigger by the day! Here are some of my picks, from the historical to the hysterical.
These two graphic novels tell the story of the Boxer rebellion from different points of view. The Boxer Rebellion was a clash between the occupying colonial powers in China and a pro-nationalist and anti-Christian movement that became known as the Boxers. Gene Luen Yang captures the hard lives of the protagonists: Little Bao, who fights for the Boxers, and Vibiana, who is Christian. Both books are heart-breaking stories of people caught up in larger events beyond their control.
The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun
This book serves as a stand-alone inthe Sixth Gun series. The Horsemen go their seperate ways, trying to escape the dreadful choices they made. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the Sixth Gun series, but for those who have, it’s an interesting look at our primary antagonists. As usual, the artwork is both lush and disturbing, with reddish tones and black shadows predominating. The Sixth Gun was mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts about graphic novels, and is well worth picking up.
Doctor Who: Dead Man’s Hand
Continuing the Western theme, here’s a new adventure featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara. They go to Deadwood, a frontier town in 1882, to pay their respects to the famous gunslinger, Wild Bill Hickock. But as always with the Doctor, nothing is as it seems. The town is being terrorized by a sinister, masked gunman. They meet up with real-life figures Calamity Jane and Oscar Wilde, who was on a tour of America at the time. (Bet you didn’t know that!) The art’s decent, but the real star is the story, which clips along in true Doctor Who style.
The thrilling adventure hour
A comic anthology featuring a plethora of awesome stories, by a whole range of different authors and artists. Western, science-fiction, steampunk, superheroes: there’s something here for everyone. The art and writing is consistently amazing, keeping close to the “pulp” feeling of the book. My pick for best story? “Beyond Belief” a screwball comedy about a pair of psychics who keep the various supernatural factions of their city from war in between drinking cocktails and delivering killer quips.
Bloodsong, Melvin Burgess (355 pages)Sigurd has a fabulous but frightening future predicted: even to start, he must leave everything he knows to go and fight a dragon, and from there descend into the Underworld. Sounds bad enough, but when you know that the dragon lives on a futuristic, industrially-ruined moonscape that was once Hampstead Heath, the scene is set for a staggeringly brutal fight on an epic scale. Unhappily for him, he meets the love of his life in the underworld, and Sigurd’s efforts to rescue his lover will cause huge heartache and grief for both of them, and also for everyone who ever meets them. (Goodreads)
First lines: Regin said, “It’s time.” He smacked his lips. An old guy like him, it’s all he can talk about. Adventure! And all the time there he is scowling away like it was a problem with the carburettor. “A monster, Sigurd. A real live un. It’s perfect. ” He licked his face like it was dipped in gravy.
Overpowered, Mark H. Kruger (423 pages) Nica Ashley is accustomed to traveling the globe with her journalist mother, so when she gets sent to live in a small town with the father she barely knows, she’s in for a bit of a culture shock. Barrington prides itself on being a sleepy, family community with the lowest crime rates in the state of Colorado. There’s even a private security force run by Barrington Technology (BarTech) and a nightly curfew for all residents.On Nica’s first day at school, she meets Jackson Winters and finds out he went from school superstar to living ghost after his girlfriend disappeared a few months ago. When Nica follows him out after curfew one night, they both witness a mysterious green flash-and the next morning the power has gone out and all the birds are dead. But secrets are well and alive, and as Nica and some of her friends discover they now have abilities best described as “super,” they also realize that Barrington might not be so safe. And that BarTech is looking for them.(Goodreads)
First lines: It all started with a stupid sandwich. Chicken curry and spinach stuffed inside a homemade pita pocket. I found it one Friday Morning in my backpack when I was getting ready for school. Neatly wrapped inside a neon-green plastic bag, one of those flimsy sacks used by the local Bangkok markets, along with a handwrittem note, which tumbled out: “Nica: remember to recycle!”
Unhinged, A. G Howard, (387 pages) Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. (Goodreads)
First lines: My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art is vile and gruesome ways.
Sky Run, Alex Shearer (277 pages) In a world where islands float above the sun and Cloud Hunters sail the skies for water, orphans Gemma and Martin live with their 120-year-old great, great, grand aunt Peggy and the sky-cat Botcher on a remote rock miles from civilisation. When Peggy decides they should visit City Island to register at school, the group embarks on a trip that will take them through uncharted territories, navigating a very dangerous sky. Encountering cloud pirates, sky rats and an axe murdering motel owner, Gemma and Martin must learn to fend for themselves, and fight for what’s right in a perilous world.
First lines: I was one hundred and twenty years old last birthday. Which is a good age in some places, although it’s not so much around here. But it’s no time of life to be looking after teenagers. I can tell you that.
Uncrashable Dakota, Andy Marin (309 pages)In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.Now, in Andy Marino’s Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?(Goodreads)
First lines: Hollis Dakota was ten years old when his parents took him to the shipyard that sprawled like a bucket of as across the river from New York City. His family owned the shipyard, but Hollis had never been there, because he lived in the sky.
The Lazarus Machine, Paul Crilley (261 pages) An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.But all is not well…A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.Professor Moriarty.When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war. (Goodreads)
First lines: Tonight, seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed was going to be the voice of a fifty-year-old woman. More specifically, he was going to be the voice of Mrs. henrietta Shaw-missing and presumed dead for over a year now.
Conquest, John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard (407 pages)Earth is no longer ours. . . .It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders. Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape. But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home. For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . .(Goodreads)
First lines: In the beginning was the wormhole. It bloomed like a strange flower at the edge of the solar system, dwarfing Pluto in size and majesty. It was beautifal: theory become real. One it was discovered, the eyes of the Earth turned upon it, and the space telescope Walton eas redirected to examine it more closely. Within days, images were being sent back to Earth.
Alliance, Mark Frost (338 pages) After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights’ shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what’s going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight. (Goodreads)
First lines: Lyle Ogilvy had trouble staying dead. During the past seven months, the medical staff had given up on him half a dozen times, only to realise that he was a xase for which they could find no precedent in the history of medicine. They finally had to admit that the question Is he dead or alive? had them baffled.
These Broken stars, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, (374 pages)It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
First lines: Nothing about this room is real. If this were a party at home, the music would draw your eye to human musicians in the corner. Candles and soft lamps would light the room, and the wooden tables would be made of actual trees. People would be listening to each other instead of checking to see who’s watching them.
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah , (236 pages ) Paula J. Freedman During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.
First lines: “When Ben-O came over on Saturday for movie night, my Dad answered the door in grey silk pajama bottoms and his Math Teachers play by the numbers T-shirt, an unlit pipe clenched between his teeth. “Ben-o, old chap!” He cried heartily, “How are you, dear boy?”
Promise me Something, Sara Kocek, (311 pages) As if starting high school weren’t bad enough, Reyna Fey has to do so at a new school without her best friends. Reyna’s plan is to keep her head down, help her father recover from the car accident that almost took his life, and maybe even make some friends. And then Olive Barton notices her. Olive is not exactly the kind of new friend Reyna has in mind. The boys make fun of her, the girls want to fight her, and Olive seems to welcome the challenge. There’s something about Olive that Reyna can’t help but like. But when Reyna learns Olive’s secret, she must decide whether it’s better to be good friends with an outcast or fake friends with the popular kids…before she loses Olive forever.
First lines: The night Olive Barton vanished into the woods at Talmadge Hill, I got my first kiss. I was wearing sticky drugstore lip gloss that smelled like a Creamsicle. Sugar-drunk off cherry coke and peppermint patties, I had no idea that a mile away in the frigid dark, the night was opening its mouth to swallow a girl.
Freakboy , Kristin Elizabeth Clark (427 pages)From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?
First lines: A pronoun is a ghost of who you really are short sharp harsj, whispering its presence, taunting your soul. In you ogf you but not all you. Struggling my own He She Him Her I You. Scared that for scrambled-pronoun Me, We might never exist.
BayGirl, Heather Smith (275 pages)Growing up in a picturesque Newfoundland fishing village “should” be idyllic for sixteen-year-old Kit Ryan, but living with an alcoholic father makes Kit’s day-to-day life unpredictable and almost intolerable. When the 1992 cod moratorium forces her father out of a job, the tension between Kit and her father grows. Forced to leave their rural community, the family moves to the city, where they live with Uncle Iggy, a widower with problems of his own. Immediately pegged as a “baygirl,” Kit struggles to fit in, but longstanding trust issues threaten to hold her back when a boy named Elliot expresses an interest in her.
First Lines: As soon as I opened the door, I could smell it. I looked at my watch. It was only three twenty in the afternoon. But time of day never made any differnce to him. He had a whiskey with his bacon and eggs once. he drank it our of a coffee mug, as if that made it ok.
Love in Revolution B.R Collins (263 pages) Esteya is fifteen. As war rumbles closer, Esteya’s brother – an important figure in the Revolutionary Communist Party – is able to protect their family from the worst of the privations of war. Then Esteya meets an extraordinary girl, Skizi, an outcast, shunned by all. But Esteya and Skizi are drawn to each other. Slowly and wonderfully love blossoms … And then Esteya’s family are betrayed and forcibly taken away. Skizi disappears. Esteya is left deserted, heartbroken and in terrible danger. But she must find a way to escape – and to find Skizi.
First lines: When I was small, ther was a house at the end of the town that had falled down We weren’t allowed to play there, of course, but we did sometimes. We’d play furious, clumsy games of pello against one intact wall, and when we were tired out we’d collpase in the shade with tepid bottles of cheery juice that stained our teeth pink. We’d argue about the bumps and curves in the wall and the angle of of our shots as if we were professionals.
If I ever get out of here Eric Gansworth (350 pages) Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?
First lines: “Cut it off,” I yelled. “Shut up or my Dad will hear you,” Carson Mastick said. “He’s not that drunk yet, and I’m gonna have a hard enough time explaining fow you come down looking like a different kid that the one that went upstairs.”
Cy in chains David L. Dudley (320 pages) Cy Williams, thirteen, has always known that he and the other black folks on Strong’s plantation have to obey white men, no question. Sure, he’s free, as black people have been since his grandfather’s day, but in rural Georgia, that means they’re free to be whipped, abused, even killed. Almost four years later, Cy yearns for that freedom, such as it was. Now he’s a chain gang laborer, forced to do backbreaking work, penned in and shackled like an animal, brutalized, beaten, and humiliated by the boss of the camp and his hired overseers. For Cy and the boys he’s chained to, there’s no way out, no way back.And then hope begins to grow in him, along with strength and courage he didn’t know he had. Cy is sure that a chance at freedom is worth any risk, any sacrifice. This powerful, moving story opens a window on a painful chapter in the history of race relations.
First lines: There was no way to escape the shuting and the noises of animal terror bursting from Teufel’s stall. The crack of the whip against the stallion;s side, the horse’s madded whinnying of rage and fear, the curses from John Strong’s moth. Cy put an arm around Travis, who pushed closer to him. Travis had his hands over his ears, like that would do any good. I tried to tell you we shouldn’t of sneaked down here, Cy thought, feeling the younger boy trembling. But you had to have your way, and the see the mess we in?
You don’t even know Sue Lawson (332 pages)Alex Hudson is a good guy. He plays water polo. He has a part-time job. He’s doing okay at school.Then the thing that anchors Alex is ripped away and his life seems pointless. How can he make anyone else understand how he feels, when he doesn’t even know?
First lines: A low keening noise ices my skin and fills the room. I slip out the door, down the corridow and into the faded afternoon. As I stumble past the man in a wheelchair sucking on a cigarette and the two guys in green scrubs laughing, I grind to a halt. Srounf me people bustle to the tram stop, weave between ars to cross the road and send text messages as rhey walk back the way I’vee come. My life has shatted into a thousand shards of glass, but nothing out here has changed.
The war within these walls Aline Sax and Caryl Strzelecki (171 pages)It’s World War II, and Misha’s family, like the rest of the Jews living in Warsaw, has been moved by the Nazis into a single crowded ghetto. Conditions are appalling: every day more people die from disease, starvation, and deportations. Misha does his best to help his family survive, even crawling through the sewers to smuggle food. When conditions worsen, Misha joins a handful of other Jews who decide to make a final, desperate stand against the Nazis.Heavily illustrated with sober blue-and-white drawings, this powerful novel dramatically captures the brutal reality of a tragic historical event.
First lines: It was September 1939 when the Germans invaded our country. A month later, they marched into Warsaw and took up residence as if they’d never leave. The war seemed to be over. But after the dust of the bombings has settled, a very different war began… A war against some of us.
The Extra Kathryn Lasky (307 pages)One ordinary afternoon, fifeen-year-old Lilo and her family are suddenly picked up by Hitler’s police and imprisoned as part of the “Gypsy plague.” Just when it seems certain that they will be headed to a labor camp, Lilo is chosen by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to work as a film extra. Life on the film set is a bizarre alternate reality. The surroundings are glamorous, but Lilo and the other extras are barely fed, closely guarded, and kept in a locked barn when not on the movie set. And the beautiful, charming Riefenstahl is always present, answering the slightest provocation with malice, flaunting the power to assign prisoners to life or death. Lilo takes matters into her own hands, effecting an escape and running for her life. In this chilling but ultimately uplifting novel, Kathryn Lasky imagines the lives of the Gypsies who worked as extras for the real Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, giving readers a story of survival unlike any other.
First Lines: “Disappeared?What are you talking about? People don’t disappear. She went some place.” “So where do you think Mila went? Why wasn’t she in school? Today of all days, recitation day. She had been practicing forever. She was sure to get the prize.” “Maye she’s sick.” ” Mila sick? Never- she’s as healthy as a horse. And if if she is. she would have dragged herself to school. No- something’s fishy.”
These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Hollywood rules: if they’re making movies of you (or your series) you’re onto a good thing. We’re really looking forward to The Fault in Our Stars (June) and Divergent (April).
1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [up 3]
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
3. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 2]
4. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1]
5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [new, on order]
6. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 3]
7=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
7=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 2]
7=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [back]
10. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
Blythewood, Carol Goodman (489 pages) At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes. (Goodreads)
First lines: I heard the bells that morning as I was entering Washington Square. I stopped just past the arch and looked south to see if the sound might be a streetcar but I didn’t see one. Then I looked north, through the arch and up fifth avenue, listening for the bells Og Grace Church playing the quarter hour-but it wasn’t the tune they played. And if the bells weren’t from Grace Church or a streetcar, that meant they were my bells, the ones I heard inside my head, the ones I’d been hearing for the last six months whenever something bad was going to happen.
Deadly: a Pretty little liars novel, Sara Shepherd (305 pages) Deadly, the fourteenth volume in Sara Shepard’s YA Pretty Little Liars series, delivers more juicy scandals, dark secrets, and shocking plot twists. This #1 New York Times bestselling series is also a hit ABC Family original TV show.High school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have all done horrible things—things that would put them behind bars if anyone ever found out. And their stalker “A” knows everything.So far A has kept their secrets, using them to torture the girls. But now A’s changed the game. Suddenly the girls are hauled in for questioning, and all their worlds begin to unravel. If A’s plan succeeds, Rosewood’s pretty little liars will be locked away for good. . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: Remember when you learned about omnipotence in English class? It’s when a narrator is all-knowing and and can see and hear everything. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Sort of like being the Wizard of Oz. Imagine what you could do if you were all-knowing.
Haunted, William Hussey (332 pages) Milton Lake is a seemingly ordinary town, where tales of hauntings and strange goings on ripple beneath the surface. When a mysterious boy comes to town and moves into a large, derelict house, all alone, his arrival changes everything. Shrouded in secrecy, he senses a kindred spirit in Emma Rhodes, and reveals to her a shocking truth. Someone in Milton Lake is using the fabled Ghost Machine to call the spirits of the dead back to our world. Now it is up to these two lost souls to find out who is operating the strange invention before it is too late …For call by call, the dead will be unleashed. (Goodreads)
First lines: “You gotta bring them back the head, Henry, or won’t count. Good luck.” Henry Torve sidestepped through a gap in the rusted vars, his teeth clenching at the clatter-clang of the gate. Ever since he’d heard the stories about this place, most of them told by his cousin Emma, he had dreamed of this moment: his leg reaching through the gate, his foot touching down upon the cursed earth, and then…he shivered. Henry wouldn’t let go of the bars, not yet, the others might notice how his hands shook.
Full ride, Margaret Peterson Haddix (343 pages) Becca thought her life was over when her father was sent to prison for embezzlement. It didn’t help when he used her as his excuse: “How else is a guy like me supposed to send his daughter to college?” She and her mother fled their town and their notoriety, started over, and vowed never to let anyone know about their past.Now a senior in high school, Becca has spent the last four years hiding in anonymity. But when it’s time to apply to colleges and for financial aid, her mother gives her a rude awakening: If she applies, her past may be revealed to the worldBut Becca has already applied for a full-ride scholarship. And as she begins to probe deeper into the secrets of her past, she discovers that she and her mother might be in danger of more than simple discovery – by revealing the truth about their past, she might be putting their very lives in jeopardy. (Goodreads)
First lines: My mother and I ran away after the trial. We’d gone back to the house and it felt completely wrong:too big, too empty, too booby-trapped with memories. I used to sit there by the front window when I was a little kid, waiting for Dady to come from work…He won’t be coming home now.
This song will save your life, Leila Sales (274 pages) Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. (Goodreads)
First lines: You think it’s so easy to chane yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? Do you change your clothes, your hair, your face? Go on, then. Do it.
Brotherhood of Shades, Dawn Finch (265 pages)From the chaos of Dissolution rises a secret order, a Brotherhood formed to protect the world of the living from the world of the dead.Adam, a teenage boy living on the streets of London, knows nothing of the fantastic and precarious world that exists just beyond his reality – until he dies, cold and alone, aged 14. After years of rejection, Adam discovers he is important, and the Brotherhood needs him. His recruitment to their Order will take him on an adventure that spans the worlds of both the living and the dead, as he and a living girl (14-year-old Edie Freedom) battle to solve a prophetic riddle and save the world. (Goodreads)
First lines: The small dark room was filled with the stench of bodies, a harsh, acidic smell of unwashed flesh and decay that clung to all those who passed through. A bare flame guttered and spat on its fatt candle as two men, clothes in black robes with a white cord binding their waist, leaned over the two ragged bundles on the floor.
“The Mother is dead?”
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer Katie Alender (292 pages)Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .
First lines: In her apartment high above the streets of Paris, Gabrielle Roux stood in front of the bathroom mirror, still wearing her daringly short purple dress and sky-high platform heels. The light glanced off her golden hair and she brished it and thought back to the glittering party from which she had just come.
The new book by E Lockhart (!), breaking free in Edwardian London, and “The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report”.
We were liars, E Lockhart (May) – we’ve been waiting a very long time for the new E Lockhart book (Frankie Landau-Banks was 5 years ago!). May’s not that far away really. “A beautiful and distinguished family. — A private island. — A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. — A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. — A revolution. An accident. A secret. — Lies upon lies. — True love. — The truth.” (goodreads.com)
A mad, wicked folly, Sharon Biggs Waller – “Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist – a nearly impossible dream for a girl. After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse – or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?” (goodreads.com)
Uninvited, Sophie Jordan – an interesting new two-book series! “When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS) – aka the kill gene – she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.” (goodreads.com)
City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (due in New Zealand in May/June) – the next instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. They say it’s the last, but we’ve heard that before (can it really be true?). “Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!” (goodreads.com)
Raging Star, Moira Young (May) – the conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy that began with Blood Red Road. “Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world… for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.” (goodreads.com)
The One, Kiera Cass (May) – the next in the Selection series. “The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen. America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” (goodreads.com) That’s an amazing dress.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – we’ve ordered extra copies of this, for re-reading after watching the movie (opening on Thursday, tomorrow).
The Book Thief has raced up the reserves list since New Year’s. It’s got staying power: first published in 2006, it was on our most wanted list in 2009 – 2010, and has been on the New York Times bestsellers list continually for a very long time. It’s also one of 5 movie books on our list this month.
1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
4. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [back after 4 years]
5. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 4]
6=. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 2]
6=. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
6=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
9=. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
9=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]
Stay Where You Are And Then Leave, John Boyne
“The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place…” (catalogue description)
“John Boyne (best-selling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) shows huge skill at showing us how Alfie thinks and feels,” says Julie. If you loved TBITSP then make sure you read this!
and now for something completely different:
All the Truth That’s in Me, Julie Berry (266 pages) – After two years missing, Judith returns home – her tongue cut out, her best friend dead. No one knows what has happened and Judith cannot speak of it. All she can do is silently pour out her feelings to the boy who has owned her heart for as long as she can remember: Lucas. In a voice filled with hurt, yearning, hope and love, this is Judith’s story.
First lines: “You didn’t come. I waited all evening in the willow tree, with gnats buzzing in my face and sap sticking in my hair, watching for you to return from town.”
Zac & Mia, A. J. Betts (307 pages) – The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note… then a friendship neither of them sees coming. You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.
First lines: “A newbie arrives next door. From this side of the wall I hear the shuffle of feet, unsure of where to stand. I hear Nina going through the arrival instructions in that buoyoant air-hostess way, as if this ‘flight’ will go smoothly, no need to pull the Emergency Exit lever. Just relax and enjoy the service. Nina has the kind of voice you believe.”
Leap of Faith, Jamie Blair (240 pages) – Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth: Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers; Faith kidnapped her. Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?
First lines: “The bangbangbanging of Mom’s headboard against my wall needs to stop before my head explodes. I’m exhausted and wish he’d just leave so I can sleep. Of course Mom’s bed has to be shoved right up against the other side of my wall. I roll my eyes and take a deep breath, pulling the covers up higher around my neck.”
The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo (384 pages) – In 1890s Malaya, Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
First lines: “One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. ‘Asked’ is perhaps not the right word. We were in his study. I was leafing through a newspaper, my father lying on his rattan daybed. It was very hot and still. The oil lamp was lit and moths fluttered through the humid air in lazy swirls. ‘What did you say?’”
Bracelet of Bones, Kevin Crossley-Holland (256 pages) – One morning, Solveig wakes to find her father, Halfdan, has gone. He has followed the young Viking warrior Harald Hardrada to Miklagard (Constantinople), where he is leader of the Empress’s guard. Solveig sets off in a tiny boat to find him. So begins a fierce journey of discovery and survival, where the young Viking girl will meet a ghost ship and befriend an English slave, shoot rapids, survive an arrow storm, and witness a living sacrifice. Will Solveig reach Miklagard? And will her father be there?
First lines: “‘Is this it?’ Solveig called out. No trees stood on the battlefield. Nothing but little scrubby, twisted black bushes. Without breaking his long, limping stride, Halfdan glanced over his shoulder. ‘You all right, girl?’ It’s all dead, thought Solveig. There’s nothing left but black fingers, black hands, thousands of them. Stiklestad. What can ever grow in this place again?”
Sweet Peril, Wendy Higgins (371 pages) – Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind. When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
First lines: “Unbeknownst to the Roman community, 666 earthbound demons were making use of the infamous Colosseum. Twelve of the fallen ones, the Dukes, were present in human form, while the others hovered as spirits, blotting celestial light from the night sky. Rahab, the Duke of Pride, took his place in the center, exhilarated by the attention his presence commanded.”
The Messengers, Edward Hogan (214 pages) – When fifteen-year-old Frances is sent down to the coast to Helmstown, to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin, she meets and befriends Peter Kennedy, a somewhat tramp-like character who lives in a beach hut along the seafront. As soon as they meet, Peter recognizes that Frances is a messenger, just like him. As messengers, they experience black-outs, and when they come round, they have the ability to draw, in minute detail, the scene of an accident. Although Frances can’t change the past, she realises that she can change the future, at least for a chosen few.
First lines: “We’re drawn to each other, us messengers. We must be. I remember the first time I saw him, down by the beach huts. There was something about him. The look of him. How could I not go over? You might even say it was fate, but I don’t believe in that.”
The Neptune Project, Polly Holyoke (340 pages) – Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident swimming with the dolphins that her mother studies than hanging out with her classmates on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who – unbeknownst to them – have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of “The Neptune Project” are given a mission to build a better future under the sea, safe from the dangers on land. But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment; the other Neptune kids aren’t exactly the friendliest bunch; and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids … dead or alive.
First lines: “I wake to an urgent tap at my window. My heart thudding, I sit bolt upright in bed. The night is hot and still. I push my sweaty hair away from my face and try to ignore the twist of fear in my gut. No one brings good news at this hour. I slip from my bed and peer cautiously through my window.”
SYLO, D. J. MacHale (407 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come. It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world.
First lines: “It was the perfect night for a football game. And for death. Not that the two have anything in common. When you hear the term “sudden death,” you normally don’t expect there to be an actual loss of life, sudden or otherwise, but there was nothing normal about that night.”
Death & Co., D.J. McCune (279 pages) – Adam Mortson is a Luman, one of the elite band of spirit guides who travel to the Hinterland to guide dead souls into the afterlife. And though Adam just wants to be a normal teenager – one who dates girls like Melissa, hangs out with his mates and avoids his homework – his role as a Luman is strictly non-negotiable. But as a hidden and dangerous power grows within him, Adam must make a terrible choice: to stand by and watch as lives are lost, or to disobey the rules of death … and risk everything.
First lines: “Nathanial Mortson stood in the darkness, hands thrust into the pockets of his camel-hair coat. In the physical world it was freezing, the road glittering with ice, but here in the Hinterland he couldn’t feel it. It was the middle of the night and he was tired. Usually he had company but on a job like this he preferred to work alone.”
Starglass, Phoebe North (448 pages) – Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn’t interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he’s yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she’s got. But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain’s guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship’s idyllic surface. As she’s drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime–one that will determine the fate of her people.
First lines: “On the day of my mother’s funeral, we all wore white. My father said that dressing ourselves in the stiff, pale cloth would be a mitzvah. I ran the word over my tongue as I straightened a starched new shirt against my shoulders.
He Forgot to Say Goodbye, Benjamin Alire Sáenz (321 pages) – On the surface, Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove could not be more different. Ram is Mexican-America, living in “DizzyLand,” the poor side of El Paso. He’s struggling to keep his family together as his younger brother descends into a dangerous world of drugs and violence. Jake is a rich WASP with anger-management issues who can’t stand the falseness of his mother’s materialistic world. But as circumstances in both of their lives begin to spiral out of control, Jake and Ram turn to each other for comfort, friendship, and understanding. No one realizes what it’s like to know that all of your problems stem from one thing: that your father didn’t even care enough to say goodbye.
First lines: “My mom says I need to stop and think about things. I think about things all the effen time. Think and think and think. You know, it’s not like all that thinking has gotten me places.”
Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson (384 pages) – Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
First lines: “I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. It happened ten years ago; I was eight. My father and I were at the First Union Bank on Adams Street. We used the old street names than, before the Annexation.”
Ashes of Twilight, Kassy Tayler (320 pages) – Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren’s friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.” What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.
First lines: “The Bible teaches us that the heavens and earth were made by the one true God. I have heard these things all of my life but I dare not ask the questions that the lessons have created in my mind. I am certain I know quite a bit about the earth, as I spend most of my waking moments within its clanking iron bowels. The heavens, however, are a mystery to me as my world is hollow and my sky is made of glass.”
Coda, Emma Trevayne (309 pages) – Deep in an abandoned basement, Anthem sings of truth and freedom with his illegal underground band. Yet on the surface and under watchful eyes, Anthem is unable to resist the call of the Corporation’s addictive, mind-altering music tracks, even as he knows they are used to control him and his fellow citizens. When tragedy strikes close to home, Anthem realizes that defying the Corp comes at a deadly price … and the stakes of preventing his brother and sister from being claimed by the government drug are worth every heart-pounding second. The key to the revolution might lie with the girl Anthem loves, but will he trust her enough to let her join the fight?
First lines: “I’m drawn toward the door. I can’t hear it yet, but I can feel it. A pulse, a heartbeat. The floor shakes. Inside, the cavernous, soundproof room is already packed, black and neon and flashing lights and stifling heat from the crush of bodies.”