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Newly Ordered Books

This week, a historical fantasy from a Christchurch-based author, two short stories from a popular series, a moving novel about grief and loss, and a holocaust story of survival.

Awakening, Natalie King (New Zealand writer) – “When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken. At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful. A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.” (goodreads.com)

Tales from the Half-Continent, D M Cornish – this is number 3.5 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, and it’s really two short/long stories: ‘The Corsers’ Hinge’ and ‘The Fuller and the Bogle’. “Bunting Faukes has a debt and no way to repay it – times are tough for grave robbers. But a way out is presented in the person of Atticus Wells, a sleuth with strange eyes that see into everything — Virtue Bland is alone in the world. Packed off to Brandenbrass to serve the household of her late father’s employer, she has only her old pa’s olfactologue to remember him by. But with it she can smell monsters.” (goodreads.com)

The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss. “The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…” (goodreads.com)

Alexander Altmann A10567, Suzy Zail. “Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567; he knows it by heart. He also knows to survive Auschwitz, he must toughen up. Being soft will get him killed. Alexander will take any chance he’s given – and when that chance is caring for the German officers’ horses he grabs it. He just can’t let them know he’s scared.” (goodreads.com)

Most Wanted: March 2014

These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Happy reading!

1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [no change] * **
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change] *
3. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1] * **
4. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [no change, on order]
6. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
7. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 1] **
8. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
9=. Looking for Alaska, John Green [back] **
9=. The One, Kiera Cass [new, on order]

* We also have this as a book on CD.
** We also have this as an eBook/eAudiobook.

Recently ordered

City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (due in New Zealand in May/June) – the next instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. They say it’s the last, but we’ve heard that before (can it really be true?). “Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!” (goodreads.com)

Raging Star, Moira Young (May) – the conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy that began with Blood Red Road. “Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world… for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.” (goodreads.com)

The One, Kiera Cass (May) – the next in the Selection series. “The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen. America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” (goodreads.com) That’s an amazing dress.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – we’ve ordered extra copies of this, for re-reading after watching the movie (opening on Thursday, tomorrow).

Most Wanted: January 2014

The Book Thief has raced up the reserves list since New Year’s. It’s got staying power: first published in 2006, it was on our most wanted list in 2009 – 2010, and has been on the New York Times bestsellers list continually for a very long time. It’s also one of 5 movie books on our list this month.

1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
4. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [back after 4 years]
5. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 4]
6=. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 2]
6=. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
6=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
9=. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
9=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]

Best of 2013: Bridget’s Picks

Mortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox

“Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie’s vacation takes a turn when she stumbles upon a mysterious and enchanting valley, occupied almost entirely by children who can perform a special type of magic that tells things how to be stronger and better than they already are. As Canny studies the magic more carefully, she realizes that she not only understands it–she can perform the magic, too, so well that it feels like it has always been a part of her. With the help of an alluring seventeen-year-old boy who is held hostage by a spell that is now more powerful than the people who first placed it, Canny figures out the secrets of this valley and of her own past.” (goodreads.com)

This is another highly original fantasy story featuring a strong and unique female hero, from New Zealander Elizabeth Knox.

I also really liked:

Dark Triumph, Robin LaFevers

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater

Picture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff

Best of 2013: Rebecca’s Pick

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

“When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.” (catalogue description)

This is the companion novel to Code Name Verity

Also intriguing:

Dangerous Girls, Abigail Haas

Looking forward to:

Another gut-wrenching war thriller, the end of two series (one dystopian, one spy), and the other side of the story…

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein (September) – this is another World War 2 thriller from the author of Code Name Verity, and we’re super excited! “While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?” (goodreads.com)

Champion, Marie Lu (November) – the final book in the Legend trilogy. “He is a Legend. She is a Prodigy. Who will be Champion? June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic – and each other – and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.” (goodreads.com)

Just One Year, Gayle Forman (October) – Willem gets a crack at telling his story in this parallel/sequel to Just One Day. We suggest you probably read Day first, and also we won’t say too much here for fear of *spoilers*. So, what’s it all about then? “Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) Just One Day and Just One Year show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself.” (goodreads.com) Looking forward to Bollywood!

United We Spy, Ally Carter (September) – the final in the Gallagher Girls series from the queen of teen spies. “Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie – and her country – forever.” (goodreads.com)

Amazon’s Top Ten Books for Teens in 2012

Terrifyingly it’s already that time of year when Amazon produces its best books of the year lists. The Top 20 list for teens is here. It’s an interesting, varied collection, with some of our favourites of 2012.

  1. Reached, Ally Condie – we’re still waiting patiently for this. You can reserve it though!
  2. The Fault in our Stars, John Green
  3. Son, Lois Lowry – we’ve just ordered this one.
  4. Insurgent, Veronica Roth
  5. Days of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor – again, we’re waiting patiently (join the queue!).
  6. The Kill Order, James Dashner – The Maze Runner prequel.
  7. Dodger, Terry Pratchett
  8. The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater – one of our favourites of the year. Perfect for after-exam recovery (you can suspend your reserve until after you’ve finished).
  9. Every Day, David Levithan
  10. The Diviners, Libba Bray – Grimm is half way through (it’s quite epic).
  11. Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
  12. Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
  13. Cinder, Marissa Meyer
  14. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
  15. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  16. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein – loved this book. One of our favourites of the year also.
  17. Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler – who is also Lemony Snicket.
  18. Grave Mercy, R L LaFevers – again, this was a great read.
  19. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily M Danforth
  20. For Darkness Shows the Stars, Diana Peterfreund – we’ve just ordered this one too.

Looking Forward To:

Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare. The third (and we think final, although Cassandra Clare has pulled a fast one on us before) in the Infernal Devices trilogy, to be published in March next year. Who is the clockwork princess? Is “Tessa” too obvious an answer – it’s her on the cover we think. They’re not giving much away. The Infernal Devices Facebook Page may be the place to go for news.

One Shot Kill, Robert Muchamore. This is the sixth book in the Henderson’s Boys series (January 2013). “Spring, 1943. The war is turning against Germany, but Hitler isn’t giving up. In a secret bunker deep in occupied France, scientists are hard at work on Hitler’s latest deadly weapon: code name FZG-76. Back in England Henderson’s boys will need to undergo advanced sniper training if they have any chance of infiltrating the bunker. Parachuting into occupied France, they track down a secret dossier filled with invaluable material and uncover the meaning of the enigmatic code.” (goodreads.com)

Beautiful Redemption, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is the final book in the Beautiful Creatures series (October/November). “Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves. Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan’s return, vowing to do whatever it takes — even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect. Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate” (amazon.com)

Braveheart

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein.

“I AM A COWARD,” begins Verity. “I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.”

“Verity” has been captured in a town in France because she looked the wrong way crossing the road, crashing into a truck right outside Gestapo headquarters in 1943. So, she’s not the most talented spy the British have ever seen then, or is she? Tortured by Gestapo Captain von Linden and his underlings, Verity has cracked under the intense pressure, and agreed to give up British war secrets in exchange for her clothes (“The warmth and dignity of my flannel skirt and woolly jumper are worth far more to me now than patriotism or integrity”). She tells her story on recipe cards, music scores and doctor’s prescription forms, gradually revealing the truth about herself, the British espionage effort, and her best friend Maddie – who flew her across the Channel to begin her short-lived mission – all the time loathing herself for her cowardice, and being loathed by her fellow prisoners. Her story reaches its stressful conclusion about half way into the novel, and I shall say no more!

Except, Code Name Verity is an awesome World War II espionage novel. “Verity” is a wonderfully unreliable narrator (would you trust a spy?), and her story is of two heroic young women who throw themselves headlong into the war with unexpected and frightening consequences. Bring your hankie, or two.

Elizabeth Wein has said this novel was inspired by her research into female pilots in World War II (as a pilot herself – cool! – she wondered what role she could have played), and you can read about her other literary inspirations for the story in this Book Smugglers post here.

If you’re also interested in reading more about women’s participation in World War II (the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, for example), then here are some titles.

Also, Flygirl by Sherri L Smith is about an African American woman who pretends to be white in order to be accepted into the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

~ Grimm

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