This week we highlight a couple of books with film connections from last year, and the start of a new series with a (we think) cool cover.
The Haters, Jesse Andrews. By the author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A book about being in a band and a road trip: winning combination! “For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.” (goodreads.com)
The Last Star, Rick Yancey. This is the conclusion to the Fifth Wave series. “We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.” (goodreads.com)
Firstlife, Gena Showalter. The first book in a new series. “Tenley ‘Ten’ Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl… who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live – after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death. In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision.” (goodreads.com)
We’ve just ordered these almost this very minute!
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire, Dan Howell and Phil Lester. Or rather, danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. “From YouTube sensations Dan Howell… and Phil Lester… comes a laugh-out-loud look into the world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the Internet. More than 8 million YouTube subscribers can’t wait for this book! Since uploading their first ever videos as teenagers, Dan and Phil have become two of the world’s biggest YouTube stars. Now they invite you on a behind-the-scenes journey, filled with absolutely essential advice, tons of humor, lots of awkwardness, and TMI honesty that they will probably regret… In The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire, Dan and Phil are candid, heartfelt, and hilarious. Their struggles and success haven’t changed their strong friendship or their core belief that it’s okay to be weird. The cat whiskers come from within!” (Vendor website)
Cruel Crown, Victoria Aveyard. From the author of Red Queen comes two novellas featuring two new (we think) characters, one red, one silver: ‘Queen Song’, featuring Queen Coriane, and ‘Steel Scars’, featuring Diana Farley. This also includes a sneak peek into Glass Sword, the next book in the series (due out this month, all things being equal).
Here’s a small selection of upcoming YA fiction: some dystopian Sci Fi, a Greek mythology reworking, and an alternate history fantasy of a gangster given a second go at life.
Surfacing, Mark Magro. Featuring an A.I. character, which is cool. “After a nuclear war has ravaged the planet, children of the few survivors are sent to renowned scientist Dr. Parkman and his subterranean Parkman Institute of Science and Solutions. There, they learn, create, and test the latest technologies until they turn 18 and are sent back to the surface to help rebuild society. Sixteen-year-old students Balt and Zoe have begun to realize something is amiss when Zoe is given a glimpse of an entirely different reality during a freak accident, one completely foreign to what Parkman has always described to his students. With the help of Balt and his midterm robotics project, the talkative head of an A.I. called Smith, the three devise a plan to escape the institute and travel through the ruins of the old labs to get to the surface. As they draw closer to their destination, they begin to see that their biggest threat might be each other. The old lab is full of secrets, and some answers are perhaps better left buried.” (goodreads.com)
Arrows, Melissa Gorzelanczyk. “A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom,” is the summary (goodreads.com). A story about Cupid’s son (Aaryn) basically having an incompetent time with one of his arrows (he was supposed to shoot the guy as well as the girl) should be a sort of comedy, but this book looks at some serious themes like teen pregnancy, responsibility, hopes for the future.
At the Edge of Empire, Daniel Kraus. Volume 1 in The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch. “May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected. His second life will be nothing like his first. Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares – and from poverty – in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. Love, hate, hope, and horror – Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?” (goodreads.com)
Rolling on from last week, here are some interesting books due to be published this May.
A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J. Maas. This is the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses by the author of the Throne of Glass series (who is super busy since the next one of those is also due out a bit later in the year!). “Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world cleaved in two” (goodreads.com)
The Crown, Kiera Cass. This is the next in the crazy popular Selection series. “Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult – and more important – than she ever expected” (goodreads.com)
The Rose & the Dagger, Renée Ahdieh. The sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn. “In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse – one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love” (goodreads.com)
The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson. “Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?” (goodreads.com).
So recently we looked at what’s being published in March; here’s April, with an interesting selection (May next week is a bit wow).
The Glittering Court, Richelle Mead. This is a new series by the author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books. The Glittering Court is described as “A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance” (goodreads.com). Adelaide, a countess, poses as her servant in order to escape an arranged marriage. In order to start a new life in the New World she must join the Glittering Court, a place where underprivileged girls go to be transformed into potential upper-class elite (Adelaide should therefore ace this).
Lady Renegades, Rachel Hawkins. The third book in the Rebel Belle series, by the author of the popular Hex Hall series. “Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend, her world goes crazy all over again. Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins – and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from. Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again. Now, it’s a desperate race for Harper to find and rescue David before she backslides from superhero to your garden-variety type – A belle” (goodreads.com).
The Mirror King, Jodi Meadows. The sequel to The Orphan Queen. “Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule” (goodreads.com).
I thought to end the year with a couple of fantasy-type novels that are the third in a series, which is sort of where the similarity ends. Apart from the stories both being excellent!
Half Lost, Sally Green. This is the last book in the Half Bad trilogy. “Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet – an ancient artifact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle. But the amulet’s guardian – the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger – has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with the Gifts he has inherited from Marcus, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…” (goodreads.com)
A Tangle of Gold, Jaclyn Moriarty. This is the third book in the crazy and cool Colours of Madeleine series, which began with A Corner of White. “Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko’s deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King’s attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months. Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she’s about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she’ll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there’s nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound. Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.” (goodreads.com)
Well actually two.
The Year We Fell Apart, Emily Martin (January 2016). ” In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from – and fix – her past.” (goodreads.com) The book tells the story of Harper, who has really burned her friendship with Declan. On top of dealing with her mother’s illness, Harper must figure out whether or not it is possible to mend bridges, and if you should.
The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater (April 2016). Okay so we’ve been waiting a while now and finally the final instalment in the Raven Cycle has got a proper publication date. We hope. What’s going to happen? Well we don’t really know, except the author is assuring people the important awful thing(s) she’s been saying will happen will actually happen even though readers are saying, “No don’t, you wouldn’t really.” Start with The Raven Boys if you haven’t already (trying not to spoiler).
The YA nonfiction collection is not very large – ‘compact’ might be a good word – but we do stock it up with some good stuff. We’ve recently ordered some new history titles (World War II, precisely) and other interesting things.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, M. T. Anderson.
This is not just for classical music enthusiasts – it looks like a gripping book for anybody interested in World War II, or basically just for anybody. Written by the prize-winning author of Feed, Thirsty, and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.
“In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory.” (goodreads.com)
Hitler’s Last Days: the Death of the Nazi Regime and the World’s Most Notorious Dictator, Bill O’Reilly.
We note the American angle on this interesting subject!
“By early 1945, the destruction of the German Nazi State seems certain. The Allied forces, led by American generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, are gaining control of Europe, leaving German leaders scrambling. Facing defeat, Adolf Hitler flees to a secret bunker with his new wife, Eva Braun, and his beloved dog, Blondi. It is there that all three would meet their end, thus ending the Third Reich and one of the darkest chapters of history. Hitler’s Last Days is a gripping account of the death of one of the most reviled villains of the 20th century—a man whose regime of murder and terror haunts the world even today. Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s historical thriller Killing Patton, this book will have young readers—and grown-ups too—hooked on history.” (goodreads.com)
Really Professional Internet Person, Jenn McAllister.
The author is really (also) Jennxpenn, YouTube personality.
“Really Professional Internet Person offers both an insider’s guide to building a successful YouTube channel and an intimate portrait of the surreality of insta-fame and the harsh reality of high school. Brimming with honesty, heart and Jenn’s patented sense of humor, Really Professional Internet Person features top ten lists, photos, screenshots, social media posts and never-before-posted stories chronicling Jenn’s journey from an anxious middle-schooler just trying to fit in, to a YouTube sensation unafraid to stand out.” (goodreads.com)
Some more newly-ordered titles!
The Anatomy of Curiosity, Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff. These three authors read and critique each other’s work regularly: they have a writing group, which is cool. The Anatomy of Curiosity is the follow up to The Curiosities, and similarly it contains illustrations and annotations about their writing process, which would be really interesting for writers and other creative people.
“In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor… In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love… In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.” (goodreads.com)
Black Widow: Forever Red, Margaret Stohl. We did a double-take over this novel, thinking surely this is a graphic novel? But no, Black Widow gets some well-deserved attention from Margaret Stohl, co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series.
“Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives. Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type. Until now. When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams.” (goodreads.com)
Young Man With Camera, Emil Sher. “T– is used to getting grief. He gets it from his mom, who blames herself for his accident years earlier. He gets it from Mr. Lam, who suspects every kid of stealing from his shop. Worst of all, he gets it from Joined at the Hip, a trio of bullies so vicious that they leave T– terrified of even using his entire name. But T– has his own strength too: his camera, which captures the unique way he sees the world. His pictures connect him to Ms. Karamath, the kind librarian at school; his friend Sean, whose passion for mysteries is matched only by his love for his dog; and especially Lucy, a homeless woman who shares his admiration for the photographer Diane Arbus. When Lucy is attacked by Joined at the Hip, T– documents the assault on film. But the bullies know he has the photographs, and their anger could be deadly. What’s the right thing for T– to do? Do pictures ever tell the whole truth? And what if the truth isn’t always the right answer?” (goodreads.com) The novel is interspersed with T–‘s photographs, which is pretty cool.
March 2016 is a good month for bestselling authors, and we’ve just recently ordered some titles we think will be really popular.
Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare. This is the new book in the new Dark Artifices series and people have been hanging out for it for ages. “Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention – they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim. The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.” (goodreads.com)
The Winner’s Kiss, Marie Rutkoski. This is the final book in the Winner’s trilogy. “War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people – and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks. But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?” (goodreads.com)
Yellow Brick War, Danielle Paige. Dorothy Must Die #3! (Is she going to?) “In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm – the new girl from Kansas – must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more. Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy – and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all… Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West. Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.” (goodreads.com)