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Tag: time travel

Travel through time (and space?)

Time travel is one of my absolute favourite plot tropes, and it can be handled very differently from story to story. Sometimes more serious, sometimes less so. It’s also interesting to see how different interpretations deal with time continuity, and what happens when the past (or future) is altered. Here are a few time-travel picks which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThe here and now / Ann Brashares.
“Prenna and her doctor mom are not your average immigrants. No, they have immigrated to New York from the 2090s, a future of climate-change extremes and mosquito-borne plagues that wipe out entire families and civilizations. The few who have survived the plagues and the journey back to 2010 have been charged with two challenges: change the course of environmental history and assimilate into the culture without disclosing their origins or becoming intimate with the natives. Prenna knows her friendship with Ethan is red-flag behavior. When an elderly homeless man warns her that she and Ethan must prevent a murder on May 17, 2014 just days away she realizes she must defy the community and its counselors for civilization’s greater good.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe 57 lives of Alex Wayfare / MG Buehrlen.
“For as long as Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Vivid visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth; her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender — capable of traveling back in time to her past lives. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. And they will stop at nothing to make this life, her fifty-seventh, her last.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTempest / Julie Cross.
The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverA thousand pieces of you / Claudia Gray.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverTimebound / Rysa Walker.
“When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverAfter Eden / Helen Douglas.
“Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her. As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverSteel / Carrie Vaughn.
“Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverTimeRiders / Alex Scarrow.
“Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world…” (Goodreads)

Looking forward to:

Some fantasy, and a return to normality!

Raven Flight, Juliet Marillier – the second in the Shadowfell series. “Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec. Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn’s love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows.” (goodreads.com)

Love in the Time of Global Warming, Francesca Lia Block (September) – “Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything – her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy. In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.” (goodreads.com) Perhaps this book’s title is a salute to Love in the Time of Cholera, a 20th century classic by Gabriel García Márquez?

Emerald Green, Kerstin Gier – the German title is – fantastically – Smaragdgrün. This is the conclusion to the Ruby Red trilogy. “Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along” (goodreads.com). Gideon, you dastardly young man.

New Books

Flash Point, Nancy Kress (501 pages) – the Collapse has happened, and the economy is a mess. Amy now has to support her family, but it’s hard when there are no jobs. When an opportunity comes up for her to go on a reality TV programme and get paid – called ‘Who Knows People Baby – You?’ – she jumps at the chance. The show’s premise seems okay – put a bunch of teenagers together and see what they do in various crises – but the producers up the ante whenever the ratings drop, and soon it’s life and death.

First sentence: All the other girls were better dressed and prettier than she was.

The Dead and Buried, Kim Harrington (297 pages) – Jade and her family have moved to a new town and new house, which Jade loves, until strange things start happening. The house is haunted, doh. The ghost is that of the popular girl in school who died mysteriously last year. Jade decides to investigate, and her nice new school friends (including the guy with the “dreamy blue eyes”) appear to be keeping secrets…

First sentences: I’m not stupid. I know half of them only worship me because they fear me.

Sea of Whispers, Tim Bowler (214 pages) – “Hetty’s always been a bit of a loner, preferring to keep to the outer edges of the close-knit island community. But when a strange woman is washed up on the shore, Hetty finds herself under increasing scrutiny from the islanders. There’s a connection between Hetty and the woman that makes people suspicious, so when death comes to the community the woman is branded a bad omen and Hetty has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. As she heads out to sea, a storm is breaking and the whispers that she’s heard before are louder than ever. Voices from the very depths of the sea… and they’re calling her name” (goodreads.com)

First sentence: They told her she was a dreamer, that the pictures she saw were an illusion, that sea glass could not tell a story; but this was a different kind of story.

Turf, John Lucas (360 pages) – Jay is a member of the Blake Street Boyz gang in London. He has the opportunity to become a gang senior, but he must first stab and kill a rival gang member. (or face the consequences).

First sentence: When you’re fifteen, everything matters.

Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend, Cora Harrison (335 pages) – take it away goodreads: “Jane wants to meet a hero worthy of her extraordinary imagination: a gentleman who is dashing and daring and handsome and brave; who can dance like a viscount and duel like a king. Jane and Jenny are whiling away the season in Bath and there are plenty of dances, rumours and scandals to entertain them. But a good reputation, once lost, is gone forever; and Jane is in danger of becoming the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons…” (nicely put).

First sentences: ‘I hate Jane Austen! I really hate her!’

Gilt, Katherin Longshore (406 pages) – Kitty has always been the wind beneath Cat’s wings, so to speak, living in her shadow. Then Cat finds herself in King Henry VIII’s court – and his heart – and invites Kitty to join her. Soon Kitty is enjoying the glitz and glamour, and the interest of dashing men. But not the shady side of court life, the secrets, treachery, and the possibility of one losing one’s head, literally.

First sentence: “You’re not going to steal anything.”

When We Wake, Karen Healey (291 pages) – Tegan wakes up one day to discover it’s been 100 years since she was last awake. As the first cryonically frozen human, she’s an instant celebrity. When she learns appalling secrets about her new society she must choose between keeping her head down and learning how to fit in, or fighting for a better future.

First sentences: My name is Tegan Oglietti. One of my ancestors was a highwayman, and another was a prince.

Vortex, Julie Cross (360 pages) – Tempest is the division of the CIA that deals with time travel-related security threats. Jackson is an agent for Tempest, a role he’s dedicated his life to after losing Holly – who he altered history in order to save. When a rival organisation called Eyewall starts up, Jackson finds both he and Holly are under threat: his little history-tweaking is no longer a secret.

First sentence: The only things that gave me the strength to pull myself off that grassy spot and walk farther from Holly were the images that flashed through my mind – Holly, sitting in that orientation, hiding the book in her lap with her name carefully written inside, her hair twirling around the pencil she was using to take notes.

Looking forward to:

Time travel (maybe?), a gritty fairy tale, and the Big Easy.

Back to Blackbrick, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (February/March). “Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in… Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?” (goodreads.com

Teeth, Hannah Moskowitz (February). “Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.” (goodreads.com) This is described as a “gritty, romantic modern fairytale”.

Out of The Easy, Ruta Sepetys (February/March). Ruta Sepetys wrote the best-selling and award-winning Between Shades of Gray, about a Lithuanian teenager’s struggle for life during World War II. Here she turns her attention to the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950s. “Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.” (goodreads.com)

Best of 2012: MY pick

Radiant Days : A Novel, Elizabeth Hand

This is a book about Merle, a young artist who goes homeless in the late ’70s after her heart is broken. It is also about the nineteenth-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who, at the age of 16, was already on the way to becoming an established writer. He and Merle meet up via time travel, but this is not a science-fiction novel; this is about the isolation and transcendence of art. Arthur Rimbaud (a real person!) was a hero of mine when I was a teen and so I was thrilled to read a story in which he is a character. AND furthermore the book is beautifully written, something you’d always hope for but is especially appropriate in this case.

Here are more reviews and information.

New Books!

I am typing this in Wadestown library! Sort of like New Books on Tour. Haha. Haaa.

Blink Once, by Cylin Busby (290 pages) – West wakes up in a hospital bed, strapped down. He is paralyzed. The girl in the neighbouring bed, Olivia, is the only one who can communicate to him. But why? Why is she in hospital? How is she connected to all his nightmares? What is going on here, guys.  Publishers Weekly says that readers rush to the end to answer these questions, and ‘they won’t be disappointed by what they discover’, which is frankly very appealing.

First lines: ‘Someone is crying. A girl. Not a pretty kind of crying, like actresses do, tears delicately streaming down a beautiful face. This is sobbing, sniffling, gasping for air.

The Demon Catchers of Milan, by Kat Beyer (278 pages) – Mia’s distant family from Italy have come to visit. Just in the nick of time! As she has been possessed by a powerful demon, and they are actually all demon hunters. Once her cousins have exorcised her, she heads back to Italy with them to learn Italian, get more involved with the family business (i.e. killing demons) and fall in love with Italians. Not her cousins though! I don’t know.

First line: ‘I used to be the kind of girl who would check under the bed and in the closet every night before going to sleep.

Embers & Echoes, by Karsten Knight (461 pages) – This is the follow-up to Wildefire, about a bunch of gods who have reincarnated as teens. Ashline Wilde is the reincarnation of Pele, a Polynesian volcano goddess, and when her sister is taken by some evil gods she must join up with Wes, a reincarnated Aztec god, who has his own vendetta to hash out. ‘More X-Men than Clash of the Titans,’ says the Library School Journal, which is really quite a compliment.

First line: ‘Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.

Unfed, by Kirsty McKay (307 pages) – This follows on from Undead, about a zombie apocalypse during Bobby’s school trip. She survived it! Unfortunately, he best pal is missing and it’s up to her to find him in the zombie-infected wastelands AND and find an antidote before it’s all over for the human race. ‘Hysterically funny,’ says The Times.

First line: ‘When you’re staring into the jaws of death at the age of fifteen, there’s not a whole lot of life to flash before your eyes.

So Close To You, by Rachel Carter (313 pages) – Lydia’s great-grandfather disappeared, along with others, it is rumoured, because of some weird army experiment called the Montauk Project which occurred at the spooky abandoned military base near her home. When a portal opens up and takes her back to 1945, six days before her great-grandad disappears, she becomes part of the experiment. The first in a planned trilogy.

First line: ‘The bonfire in the clearing spits out flames and smoke. Red, yellow, orange sparks fly up into the night sky.

Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (292 pages) – Before Peter Pan met Wendy there was Tiger Lily, who faced all kinds of hurdles to be with Peter (and not this guy her family and tribe wanted her to marry). And then of course Wendy comes along to Neverland on an English boat and things get messy. A clever retelling of the Peter Pan story, as narrated by Tinkerbell. ‘Perplexing’ to those familiar only with the Disney version, which of course doesn’t include any Teen Blog readers.

First line: ‘She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house. There’s nothing left in the house but an upturned table, a ladle, and a clay bowl.

What’s Left of Me : The Hybrid Chronicles, by Kat Zhang (343 pages) – Eva and Addie were born in the same body, but are two distinct souls, or hybrids. However in this alternate reality, hybrids are against the law, so they must keep their dual existence a secret from the government and their family. Reviews say this is very well written, with a great ending, so go on reserve it why don’t you.

First lines: ‘Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.

Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon (310 pages) – Noa, a rebellious teen orphan, has woken on an operating table with no memory. She joins with Peter, a computer hacker from a wealthy background, to take down a large and evil corporation. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens’, a reviewer writes, if that’s a good thing?

First line: ‘When Noa Torson woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her feet were cold. Odd, since she always wore socks to bed.

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (358 pages) – Gonna let the catalogue describe this one – ‘Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.’

First line: ‘The servants called the malenchki, little ghosts, because the haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.

The Broken Lands, by Kate Milford (455 pages) – This is the prequel to steampunky The Boneshaker, and is set in New York, 1877. Two teenaged orphans – Sam and a pyromaniac girl named Jim – must battle ancient dark forces from turning the city into Hell.

First line: ‘A crossroads can be a place of gerat power; this should not come as any surprise. It is a place of choosing, of testing, of transition, and there is power in all of those things.

New Books

Time Spirit Trilogy, Melissa Pearl (New Zealand author). The Time Spirit Trilogy is Golden Blood, Black Blood and Pure Blood. Gemma Hart and her family are Time Spirits, able to travel through time (as and when her father desires). This sets her apart from others, and makes her a bit of an outsider at school. But then her crush, Harrison, looks like he might fancy her also: is her growing relationship with him going to jeopardise her family’s secret?

Ngā waituhi o Rēhua, Katerina Mataira (379 pages) – This is a dystopian novel in Māori, or more accurately, four stories in one volume (plus audiobook): Rēhua, Hōkio, Maungaroa, Hokingaroa. The book “follows four teenagers living on Rēhua, a planet settled after Earth is destroyed by ecological disasters and global war. The four raise hōkio, giant mystical birds, which take them on flights to explore their new world. On one flight, they discover an island with another colony of people and are given a quest to interpret a message drawn on cave walls. Deciphering the symbols leads them to appease a gargantuan octopus and help the Tūrehu, fair-skinned sea fairies, who have discovered a way to return to Earth.” (catalogue description)

The Poison Diaries, Maryrose Wood (with The Duchess of Northumberland, 278 pages) – Jessamine Luxton has lived her whole life in a cottage near Alnwick Castle, where she has been learning about the power of plants from her apothecary father and hanging out for the day when he will let her in to his locked, poison garden. One day a traveler called Weed arrives, who – as the name suggests – has an affinity for and knowledge of plants that goes beyond her father’s. Will Jessamine’s growing fascination for Weed draw her into the dangerous secrets of the poison garden? (The Duchess of Northumberland is herself the proud owner of a Poison Garden.)

First sentence: Gray skies; the rain came and went all morning.

Devine Intervention, Martha Brockenbrough (297 pages) – Heidi is a junior in high school and would most like to be an artist but instead must play basketball, on account of her height. Jerome is Heidi’s guardian angel, except he’s not especially good at it (he’s in rehabilitative training). When things go badly wrong (and “the unthinkable happens” – what? what unthinkable??), will the two be able to muddle through and save Heidi?

First sentence: One Monday morning, a couple of years before my cousin Mike shot me in the forehead with an arrow, my eighth-grade homeroom teacher brought two cartons of raw eggs to school.

Lucy in the Sky, Anonymous (267 pages) – “The author of this diary began journaling on her sixteenth birthday. She lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Santa Monica with her mom, dad, and Berkeley-bound older brother. She was a good girl, living a good life… but one party changed everything. One party, where she took one taste, and liked it. Really liked it. Social drinking and drugging lead to more, faster, harder… She convinced herself that she was no different from anyone else who liked to party. But the evidence indicates otherwise: soon she was she hanging out with an edgy crowd, blowing off school and everything she used to care about, all to find her next high. But what goes up must come down, and everything, from her first swig, to her last breath is chronicled in the diary she left behind.”

First sentence(s): Dear Diary. That’s ridiculous. Who writes “Dear Diary” in a diary?

Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl (261 pages) – Someone suggests this is like I Capture the Castle meets Pride and Prejudice. We shall see! Althea is under pressure to “marry well” in order to keep her mother and brother and sisters in a manner to which they are accustomed, and to stop the family castle – Crawley Castle – from crumbling into ruins. Enter Lord Boring. Althea decides he’s a good candidate, and swings into action, only to find Lord Boring’s business manager, Mr Fredericks, has plans of his own that may foil Althea’s.

First sentence(s): We were walking in the castle garden. The silvery light of early spring streaked across the grass, transforming the overgrown shrubbery into a place of magic and romance.

Interrupted, Rachel Coker (247 pages) – “After the loss of her mother, Allie is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Betrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Clinging to the past is comforting but will it cost Allie her chance to be loved?” (catalogue)

First sentence(s): I stared at the ceiling in silence. Although it was so dark I don’t think it could really be called staring at all.

New Books

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw (290 pages) – West Point is a really, really old school in New York for officer cadets in the US Army. It is steeped in tradition! But don’t just take my word for it; check wikipedia! Seventeen-year-old Andrea Davis has been accepted, which gives her the chance to escape her dysfunctional family and to ‘prove to herself that she has what it takes’. But is she prepared for what the training (which is called “Beast” by the cadets, so presumably it’s far from easy). Battle Dress is based on the author’s own experiences.

4First line: ‘The morning I left for West Point, nobody showed up at my house to say good-bye.

Family, by Micol Ostow (376 pages) – Melinda Jensen is seventeen, and flees to San Francisco to escape her abusive home life. She falls in with Henry, a charismatic leader of a cultish ‘family’ of people. It is the seventies! Henry is a bit Charlie Manson-ish! This book is written in the form of episodic verse (poems).

First line: ‘I have always been broken

Purple Daze, by Sherry Shahan (207 pages) – 1965, and the times were changing very quickly! Riots, assassinations, wars, and all the kinds of other social upheavals that made the decade famous. For those things. You know what I mean. This group of high school friends live through it all, and their stories are told via letters, diaries, notes, and poems. Mainly poems, for it is written in the form of episodic verse.

First line: ‘We’re slumped on the front seat of a low-slung Pontiac, cherry paint job.

Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough (454 pages) – Long Lankin is a very old folk song about a man who murders his lord’s wife and infant son when he’s not paid for some work he did on the lord’s castle. I didn’t say it was a happy song! Grim were the days before Fair Go, haha. ANYWAY, this book is about two girls who go to stay with their great-aunt who lives in ye olde house, Guerdon Hall. The aunt isn’t too happy they’re there; the last time two young girls were there her life was ‘devasted’. And now an old evil presence has been awakened …

First line: ‘There’s too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.

Venomous, by Christopher Krovatin (323 pages) – High-school junior Locke Vinetti has a problem with his anger. He can not control it, and he calls it ‘the venom’. Now he’s a bit of a loner! He meets Renee, the ‘beautiful, messed-up goth girl of his dreams’. But can he get rid of the venom also? This book is interspersed with comic-style illustrations! 

First line: ‘The city is absolutely gray today.

Rampart, by Diana Peterfreund (402 pages) – Astrid Llewelyn’s boyfriend is rendered unable to take her to the prom when he is attacked by a killer unicorn. Astrid had always ignored her mother’s belief in killer unicorns (can you blame her) and now she’s off to Rome to train as a killer unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters, for she is descended from one of the greatest killer unicorn hunters that ever hunted. Killer unicorns!

First lines: ‘“‘I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.'” I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.

Crusade, by Linda Press Wulf (245 pages) – A boy atop a white charger rides into Georgette’s village. He is surrounded by other children, and he wants more to join his Crusade to the Holy Lands. It is a journey of great danger and peril! And one that may have happened, and most likely failed disastrously. (Another book set during the Children’s Crusade is Angel Fish, by Lili Wilkinson.)

First lines: ‘Foundling. Orphan. Parish child. All these names belonged to him but he didn’t want to belong to them.

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn (294 pages) – Jill is sixteen and a master fencer. She goes on holiday with her family to the Bahamas and finds a old, broken, piece of a rapier blade. It transports her back it time, and she winds up on the deck of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. Luckily she can use a sword! ‘Time travel, swordplay, and romance’, says the blurb, accurately.

First lines: ‘Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Rearanged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip.

Shine, by Lauren Myracle (359 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Cat’s former best friend, Patrick, is founded nearly beaten to death for being gay, she swears vengeance on the attackers. She doesn’t believe the sherriff, who reckons it was done by out-of-towners, but Cat is sure it was someone in their isolated rural community. ‘Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone in the name of justice.’

First lines: ‘Patrick’s house was a ghost. Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch.

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (330 pages) – Gwen is a normal teenaged girl living in an exclusive part of London. Her family haven’t told her about the ability some of the women have to time travel, since it seems that the gene skipped over her. But! When she started time travelling she doesn’t know what’s going on, and so goes on a crash course in time travel, secret societies, living in the olden days, and Gideon, a gorgeous fellow time traveller.

First lines: ‘Hyde Park, London: 8 April 1912. As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park. Just as he’d expected, it was empty at this early hour.

Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer (377 pages) – Tansy Piper moves to a tiny Texan town with her mother. They move into an old, spooky house, and Tansy finds some things that belonged to Henry, a mysterious and troubled man who lived (and died!) there long ago. She can visit his world through the lens of her camera and soon she becomes more involved with his life than the real life of the present. oOooOo ghoooooosts oOooOo

First line: ‘I died on a bitter, cold night.

New Books

This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

(Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’

More New Books

Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castellucci (197 pages) – It is 1982 in New York and Rose is a ballet dancer who attends the High School of Performing Arts. Yrena is Rose’s neighbour, a visiting Russian dancer who, due to the Cold War between USSR and the United States, is all but a prisoner in her apartment. One night Yrena, intent on experiencing New York life, escapes through Rose’s apartment window, and the two hit the town for a wild night of adventure.

First sentence: I was black inside so I took everything black.

The Children of the Lost, David Whitley (357 pages) – the second book in the Agora trilogy that began with The Midnight Charter. Mark and Lily are exiled from the city of Agora, and find refuge in a small nearby village. Lily is happy, but Mark longs to return to Agora to take revenge and find answers.

First sentence: Gradually, Lily became aware that she was being watched.

Kick, Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (197 pages) – Ross Workman wrote to Walter Dean Myers saying he was a fan of his books and Walter Dean Myers replied saying let’s write a book together, so they did. True story. Kick is about a troubled boy who’s an excellent football (soccer) player, on his way to the state cup final, until he ends up in jail. Can he and his mentor, a policeman called Sergeant Brown, turn his life around?

First sentence: Bill Kelly and I had been friends since we played high school basketball together.

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, Cora Harrison (342 pages) – Jenny Cooper is Jane’s cousin, and goes to live with the Austens, which is an education in the world of balls, beautiful dresses, turns about the room, gossip, and other such things. When she (Jenny) falls in love, Jane is there to help her out.

First sentence: It’s a terrible thing to write: Jane looks like she could die – but it’s even worse to have the thought jumping into your mind every few minutes.

Pathfinder, Orson Scott Card (657 pages) – Rigg is able to see into people’s paths, a secret he shares only with his father. When his father dies, Rigg learns that he’s been keeping a whole lot of other secrets, about Rigg and his family. Rigg has other powers…

First sentence: Rigg and Father usually set the traps together, because it was Rigg who had the knack of seeing the paths that the animals they wanted were still using.

Firespell, Chloe Neill (278 pages) – Lily is a new girl at an exclusive academy and she doesn’t fit in and has no friends apart from her roommate Scout. When she discovers that Scout has magical powers and protects the city from supernatural monsters, Lily is keen to help, but can she, if she has no powers of her own?

First sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure.

The Body at the Tower, Y S Lee (344 pages) – the second book in the Agency Victorian detective series (the first is A Spy in the House). Mary Quinn, under cover, investigates the mysterious scandals surrounding the building of the Houses of Parliament, but there are distractions (suspicious workmates, past secrets, and the return of James Easton).

First sentence: A sobbing man huddles on a narrow ledge, clawing at his eyes to shield them from the horror far below.

The Doomsday Box, Herbie Brennan (328 pages) – a Shadow Project book. Time travel is possible, trouble is someone (secret codename Cobra) has used it to transport the black plague into the 21st Century. The supernatural teen spies of the Shadow Project must avert disaster, while also averting their own disaster, on the run from the KGB in Moscow in the 1960s.

First sentence: Opal fastened the strap around her ankle and stood up to admire her new shoes.

Zora and Me, Victoria Bond and T R Simon (170 pages) – based on events in the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. When a young man’s body is found on train tracks in a small Florida town Zora thinks she knows who did it, so she and her friends set out to prove her theory and search for the truth. Narrated by Zora’s best friend Carrie, hence the title.

First sentence: It’s funny how you can be in a story but not realise until the end that you were in one.

The False Princess, Eilis O’Neal (319 pages) – Nalia believes herself to be princess of Thorvaldor, but discovers she’s actually a stand in. She’s cast out, called Sinda, and sent to live with her unwelcoming aunt in a village where she (Sinda) learns she has magic, which is Sinda’s ticket out, albeit a dangerous ticket. This one is called “A dazzling first novel” and “an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance”, which sounds great.

First sentence: The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds.

Fallout, Ellen Hopkins (663 pages) – the companion to Crank and Glass. About Kristina’s three oldest children, who must climb out from under their mother’s meth addiction and the hold it has over the family. Novel in verse form.

First sentence: That life was good / before she / met / the monster, / but those page flips / went down before / our collective / cognition.

Accomplice, Eireann  Corrigan (259 pages) – Two friends stage a kidnapping as a joke and in order to gain notoreity. Of course this is going to be a very bad idea indeed.

First sentence: The picture they usually use is one from the Activities spread of the yearbook.

Pride, Robin Wasserman (231 pages) – one in the Seven Deadly Sins series, and we have the complete set.