This week we’re going to learn a few things. Such as: how to sell toothpaste, how to steal a car (maybe not) and how to be a vampire. Wait, what?
How to sell toothpaste, Leonie Thorpe
“Dom has left school and is about to launch into the real world. All his friends have their futures mapped out, but Dom is distinctly lukewarm about the prospect of doing a degree in science. Before he has to commit, however, there is the holiday job painting his dad’s offices. Dad is an award-winning creative in an ad firm, with possibly his greater success being his ability to look younger, and way, way cooler, than his 17-year-old son. Annoyed that his dad has beaten him to the stud earring, the bicep tatt, and the wardrobe, Dom decides to take on his dad on his own turf, an ad campaign. How hard can it be?” (Syndetics)
How to steal a car, Pete Hautman
“Fifteen-year-old, suburban high school student Kelleigh, who has her learner’s permit, recounts how she began stealing cars one summer, for reasons that seem unclear even to her.” (Syndetics)
How to ruin a summer vacation, Simone Elkeles
“Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer-no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… Goodbye pride, hello Israel.” (Syndetics)
How to (un)cage a girl, Francesca Lia Block
“A celebration of girls and women in a three part poetry collection that is powerful, hopeful, authentic, and universal.” (Syndetics)
How to say goodbye in robot, Natalie Standiford
“New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It’s not romance, exactly – but it’s definitely love. Still, Bea can’t quite dispel Jonah’s gloom and doom – and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?” (Syndetics)
How to ditch your fairy, Justine Larbalestier
“In a world in which everyone has a personal fairy who tends to one aspect of daily life, fourteen-year-old Charlie decides she does not want hers–a parking fairy–and embarks on a series of misadventures designed to rid herself of the invisible sprite and replace it with a better one, like her friend Rochelle’s shopping fairy.” (Syndetics)
“Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends–everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one. Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted–to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too? As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy–or as difficult–as it seems.” (Syndetics)
“Steph Landry’s been top of her school’s unpopularity list ever since she spilt her red Super Big Gulp all over It Girl Lauren Moffat’s white D&G mini-skirt. But now Steph’s got a secret weapon – an ancient book, HOW TO BE POPULAR, which her soon-to-be step-grandmother once used to break into her A-crowd. All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book and wait for the partying begin. But as Steph’s about to discover, it’s easy to become popular – it’s less easy staying that way!” (Syndetics)
“For those who join the decadent realm of the vampire, eternal life holds juicy perks–charm and strength, shape-shifting and flying, telepathy and super-powered senses. “How to Be a Vampire” is a comprehensive guide to the vampire lifestyle that quenches newcomers’ thirst for lore–and tasteful tips.” (Syndetics)
How to take the ex out of ex-boyfriend, Janette Rallison
“Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she’s still the newcomer. It doesn’t help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor’s son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse’s apparent defection triggers Giovanna’s rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she’s turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.” (adapted from Syndetics)
In the name of Spring (again), I bring you books featuring girls with flowery and botanical names. Violets, Daisys and Lilys, you’ll find them right here.
How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
“Fifteen-year-old Daisy thinks she knows all about love. Her mother died giving birth to her, and now her dad has sent her away for the summer, to live in the English countryside with cousins she’s never even met. There she’ll discover what real love is: something violent, mysterious and wonderful. There her world will be turned upside down and a perfect summer will explode into a million bewildering pieces. How will Daisy live then?'” (adapted from Syndetics)
Featuring awesome protagonist Daisy. We also have the movie version on DVD, but it is R16 so you may have trouble reserving it with a young adult library card. Give us a call if you get stuck!
Cinder, Marissa Meyer
“Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.” (Syndetics)
Cinder has one horrible step-sister, but her other, lovely step-sister is named Peony. We also have this book on CD, and Rebecca Soler does an incredible job of narrating all the unique characters.
Embrace, Jessica Shirvington
“Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend? Nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori, part angel and part human, and Violet is his eternal partner. Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity…” (adapted from Syndetics)
Marcelo In The Real World, Francisco X. Stork
“Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear–part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify–and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.” (adapted from Syndetics)
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
“Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?” (Syndetics)
Soulmates, Holly Bourne
“Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect match for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love, thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems. After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, they are left with an impossible choice: the end of the world, or a life without love?” (Syndetics)
This one doubly wins because the author (Holly) has a botanical name too!
Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
“St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger… Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.” (Goodreads)
If one’s not enough, we have the whole series here in our collection!
On a Clear Day, Walter Dean Meyers
“Dahlia is a Low Gater: a sheep in a storm, struggling to survive completely on her own. The Gaters live in closed safe communities, protected from the Sturmers, mercenary thugs. And the C-8, a consortium of giant companies, control global access to finance, media, food, water, and energy resources–and they are only getting bigger and even more cutthroat. Dahlia, a computer whiz, joins forces with an ex-rocker, an ex-con, a chess prodigy, an ex-athlete, and a soldier wannabe. Their goal: to sabotage the C-8. But how will Sayeed, warlord and terrorist, fit into the equation?” (Syndetics)
This one’s actually not out just yet, but you can still reserve it before its release in a couple of weeks.
Flora Segunda, Ysabeau Wilce
“Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall–the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler–and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.” (Syndetics)
The Fault In Our Stars, John Green
“Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.” (Syndetics)
I couldn’t make this list and NOT include Hazel Grace! It just couldn’t be done. We also have this as an audiobook on CD.
There are plenty more books that could have made it onto this list – have you got any suggestions? Let us know in the comments!
How is it that a top 10 books with chocolate in the title has escaped me? Here are some YA, some children’s, some other fiction, and the Dewey number of the gods.
The Chocolate War, and Beyond the Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – before young adult literature was something everyone wanted to be doing, there were the Roberts (Cormier, Swindells and Westall). The Chocolate War is classic YA literature. First published in 1974, it’s a disturbing tale of evil and good, corruption and the opposite of corruption (with chocolate as the catalyst). Plus there’s a sequel.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. A much-loved, pre-Twilight story of a werewolf who falls for a human boy with a very catchy title. Interestingly, the author also wrote a pre-Twilight vampire story (The Silver Kiss).
Bitter Chocolate by Sally Grindlay. The more serious side of chocolate. Bitter Chocolate is set in West Africa during a particularly violent time (Liberia and Sierra Leone were both in a state of civil war in the early 2000s). After rebel fighting kills his family, Pascal is made a child soldier, escapes, and then is forced to work as a slave in a cocoa plantation. For information about Fair Trade products, and an app to help find them, you can visit Fairtrade New Zealand.
Chocolate cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie. Twelve-year-old Helga Goebbels is the daughter of Joseph, the head of Nazi propaganda. As World War II comes to an end, chocolate cake for tea every day with Uncle Leader turns into hiding in an underground bunker, watching the Nazi leadership crumble.
In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin. This is the book that reminded me I hadn’t done a chocolate list, so it goes in too. The Birthright trilogy is set not too far in the future (2083 to start), in a time when chocolate and coffee are illegal (unimaginable!). Anya’s family manufactures chocolate, meaning they’re as good as the Mafia.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Tita is forbidden to marry, and must look after her mother until she dies. To complicate things, she falls in love with Pedro, who is seduced by her delicious cooking (Tita is a gifted cook, like Remy the rat in Ratatouille). Pedro marries Tita’s sister as a way of staying close to her (like that works, poor Tita). The title is a reference to the best way to make hot chocolate (I am dubious). There are recipes in the book, and it was made into a (Spanish language) film.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Another movie conversion (this one with Johnny Depp). One day, quite suddenly, Vianne breezes into a somewhat uptight French village and opens a chocolate shop, causing consternation among the locals who disapprove of her sinfully good chocolate and her outlook on life.
The Great Chocolate Cake Bake Off by Wellington’s own Philippa Werry. Home-grown chocolatey story about a boy who discovers he has a gift for baking, but can he come up with a great bake-off-winning recipe?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This is the most amazing book about chocolate, ever.
Everything at 641.6374. There is an unbelievable collection of chocolate recipes books. You should try one (pictured is one about Whittakers, for example).
2013 should be another great year for movies. Rebecca and Rachel are looking forward to The Perks of Being a Wallflower (starring Emma Watson (Hermione) and also Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries), which is one of many intriguing upcoming book-inspired films, like:
Can you take a zombie seriously? Sometimes yes, sometimes no (it depends largely on whether there is supposed to be kissing).
This is Not a Test, Courtney Summers – this book is a horror story: imagine being trapped inside your school building with five other students, with moaning masses of the undead outside, lying in wait, when you know it’s only a matter of time before the water supply runs dry, you eat your last food, and face the prospect of either starving to death or running the zombie gauntlet outside, to who knows where. What makes it worse is how the horror plays out in the way that you and your schoolmates cope. And then, when you think you’ve barricaded the school building enough, someone gets in.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan – to quote an earlier post: “Mary lives in a fenced village in the middle of the forest of hands and teeth; fenced, because the forest of hands and teeth is peopled with zombies (the Unconsecrated) with an undying drive to bite. When the village’s fortifications are compromised Mary must flee in the ensuing chaos, down the paths that run through the forest, following mysterious symbols that might lead her to the sea she dreams of.”
Rot & Ruin, Jonathan Maberry – the School Library Journal likes this series, perhaps even better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth: they say it “appears to be a retelling of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth but with a male protagonist. But Maberry’s vision of a zombie-infested future has more action, more violence, and more emotional depth” (School Library Journal). It must be good then! Instead of a forest, here there’s the Rot and Ruin where – Benny (the male protagonist) learns – the zombies actually aren’t even the scariest prospect.
The Enemy, Charlie Higson – the latest in the series (The Sacrifice) has recently arrived. When a sickness sweeps through London, affecting everyone over the age of 14, leaving them either (mercifully) dead or the walking undead, those under 14 find themselves in a fight to survive. Some, sensibly, hole up in supermarkets (the lucky ones in Waitrose, which is quite posh), while they must attempt to make their way to the relative safety of Buckingham Palace. But if they get to Buckingham Palace, what will they find? A zombie queen? Or something more problematic? We should’t be too flip: this one’s grim and doesn’t pull any punches.
Not quite as seriously:
Dearly Departed, Lia Habel – this series is called “Gone with the Respiration” (a salute to Gone With the Wind), so I think it’s safe to say it’s a bit fun. “Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead – or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?” (Goodreads.com). This brings a whole new meaning to the expression “undying love”.
You Are So Undead to Me, Stacey Jay – the first in the series about Megan Berry, Zombie Settler. Homecoming (and people’s lives) are in peril when someone starts using black magic to turn the average, bumbling undead of an Arkansas town into souped-up zombies. Can Megan save the day? Can she what! (I’m picking).
I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, Adam Selzer – take that Katy Perry. Ali meets the mysterious Doug – a strong, silent, Goth-type of singer – and falls madly in love with him before, doh, someone points out he’s actually a zombie. Naturally Doug’s mysteriousness is not all that attractive any more, but when Ali tries to dump him she learns it’s not so easy to get rid of a zombie. She also learns, along the way, that vampires don’t like their music being critiqued.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith – I think you have to give credit to someone who basically invents a new genre in the 21st century. This was the first Classic Novel Horror Mashup, and there’s a bunch of others, including Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, and P & P & Z even has it’s own sequels and prequels. Excellent.
A mixed bag:
Zombie Blondes, Brian James – Hannah is the new girl in a town where the many houses for sale and the, well, deathly quiet suggest something’s wrong. Hannah seems oblivious on her first day of school, when she meets the popular crowd: a group of cheerleaders who all look remarkably the same, and who Hannah really wants to be like.
Zombies Versus Unicorns – more to the point, can you take a unicorn seriously? One or two writers have had a crack at it in this oddly fab collection of short stories.
Since we published our list of Top 10 Dystopian novels (see it here), the publishing world has gone a bit barmy for them, the result being heaps and heaps more to choose from. So, it might be time for another list! Here’s the 10 dystopian novels (and series) I have enjoyed the most since (or more accurately, found the most gripping).
This is to go with Top 10 Tearjerkers, for balance. The tearjerkers were a whole lot easier to find than the happy endings. Perhaps a happy ending is a lot harder to write well? So, without giving away too many punchlines, here is a selection of happy and happier endings.
Do you like a really good sad story? We do. Here’s some.
The nineteenth century: mystery, adventure, magic, the supernatural, orphans, the industrial age of machinery and steam; all good stuff. Here’s a selection of fiction set in Victorian times (strictly speaking 1837 to 1901), mostly in London.
It is the central library’s 20th birthday today. To celebrate, we thought a Top 10 list was in order, so here are five books and five CDs that first appeared in 1991. You might not have realised they were so vintage.