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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

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New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVengeance Road, Erin Bowman

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit , the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. (Publisher summary)

First lines: It weren’t no secret Pa owned the best plot of land ‘long Granite Creek, and I reckon that’s why they killed him. I was down at the water, yanking a haul ‘cus the pump had gone and stuck dry again, when I saw the smoke.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDawn raid, Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.(Publisher summary)

First lines: Dear Diary,
I can’t believe the first McDonald’s in the WHOLE country is here – in Porirua! – at the shopping centre in Cobham Court. They had all sorts of problems with the date for the official opening though. Dad said it was because of ‘red tape’ and had to do with them putting in the wrong benches or something. So it just had its opening ceremony last Saturday, and Mum said when she drove past, there were people lined up out the door and down the footpath!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe wicked deep, Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.(Publisher summary)

First lines: Three sisters arrived in Sparrow, Oregon, in 1822 aboard a fur trading ship named the Lady Astor, which sank later that year in the harbour just beyond the cape. They were among the first to settle in the newly founded costal town, and they strode onto the new land like thin-legged birds with wavy caramel hair and pastel skin. They were beautiful – too beautiful, the townspeople would later say.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHonor among thieves, Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell. Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan–a race of sentient alien ships–to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers. Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.(Publisher summary)

First lines: I feel the stars,
Energy pulses against my skin, murmuring secrets about this small galaxy, about obits and alignments and asteroids streaming in space. Impulse makes me want to dive and cruise those currents, but I control these urges.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIda, Alison Evans

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?Ida struggles more than other twentysomethings to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths. One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back? (Publisher summary)

First lines: My shift is finally over and I want to scream. The thing about hospitality is that you always have to be switched on, always nice, welcoming, smiling. Even when someone’s yelling at you because their three-quarter soy latte is too cold.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sacrifice box, Martin Stewart

Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice… Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings. Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact. As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town’s history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Sep knelt beside the box. The forest was tight with heat, and sweat prickled on his skin. The clearing around him was a blanket of root and stone, caged by silent trees and speckled by dark, leaf-spinning pools that hid the wriggling things of the soil.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnveiling Venus, Sophia Bennett

In the gossip-fuelled world of Victorian London, Persephone Lavelle is the name on everyone’s lips. As Mary’s secret identity is exposed and rumours fly, she flees the scandal by escaping to Venice. Lost among the twisting alleyways and shadowy canals she encounters a mysterious, masked young man. He offers her the world, but at what price? (Publisher summary)

First lines: My dearest Persephone,
Oh, how you must curse me, and how sorry I am! I haven’t written to you in an age. All I can say is I have been so busy! And I have much news. More of which in a minute…

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe diminished, Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone. The singleborn A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him. The diminished. When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace. As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures–one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The first queen built the Alskad Empire from scorched earth and ash after the goddess Dzallie split the moon and rained fire from the sky. The god Hamil called the sea to wash away most of what was left of humanity, but the people who managed to survive gathered in the wild, unforgiving north, calling on Rayleane the Builder to help them shape an idyllic community that would be home and have to descendants of the cataclysm.

Hot New e-Books

Huzzah. Here’s a selection of e-book additions to the library collection:

Drink, Slay, Love, Sarah Beth Durst

Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey

Crossed, Ally Condie

Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare

The Red Shoe, Ursula Dubosarsky

Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson

Note that the library e-books are available to borrow for two weeks, and you don’t have to worry about overdues (or losing them, obvs.). If you’re unsure what you need to do to start using the library’s e-book collection, then have a look at this step-by-step help guide (it should have all the answers).

Additionally, we have some new downloadable audiobooks, for example:

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater

Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson

Dead End in Norvelt, Jack Gantos

Beads, Boys and Bangles, Sophia Bennett

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, Cora Harrison

If you’re not sure you want to commit to an audiobook, you can test-drive it by listening to a sample, and if the title you want is not available, you can reserve it – you’ll get a notification by email when it’s ready to collect (note that you only have a couple of days to pick up your reserves).

 

Old Books

Just kidding! These are new books. Not to dismiss older books though! They’re still worth reading.

Anyway, this week’s new books are serious, or grim, or thrilling, or kind of funny, or supernatural, romantic and also scary. Or a mixture of those!

Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale (233 pages) – In 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, a city in Texas. It was the USA’s deadliest natural disaster. This is the story of Seth, a boy whose family has just moved to Galveston and will need to try to survive through the storm (which struck before hurricanes were given names).

First line: ‘The train clicked on its rails, rumbling past cow pastures and summer-parched fields of grain and hay.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King (326 pages) – Vera’s best friend, who she secretly loves, goes and dies shortly after betraying her in retaliation for something she didn’t actually do. She can clear his name, but only if she can forgive him.

First line: ‘The pastor is saying something about how Charlie was a free spirit.

Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers (230 pages) – Eddie Reeves’ father was a successful photographer until he killed himself. Eddie needs to know why her father took his own life, and the mystery of his death deepens when she meets and falls for Culler Evans, an ex-student of her father’s.

First lines: ‘My hands are dying. I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I’m crazy.

The Last Ghost, by Helen Stringer (356 pages) – Belladonna Johnson can talk to ghosts, including those of her parents. When the spirits start to disappear, she and her pal Steve have to travel to the Other World to see what’s what in spirit land.

First line: ‘It was Wednesday – the day of the week when it feels like Friday will never arrive.

Sequins, Stars & Spotlights, by Sophia Bennett (327 pages) – This is the third book in the Threads series, about some friends in London who are getting their sequined? feet through the door of the fashion industry. In this, the final book of the series, the four chums are so close to beginning ‘glittering careers’ but! their ‘challenges suddenly seem so overwhelming.’

First line: ‘I’m sitting in the back row of a mega-tent in Paris, surrounded by fashion students, buyers, editors and movie stars, and watching THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATWALK SHOW I WILL EVER SEE IN MY LIFE.

Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand (432 pages) – At the age of fourteen Clara learnt that she was part-angel. Now she is sixteen and she must complete a rite of passage – her purpose – that every part-angel must do. She soon finds that she is only a small part of some major celestial battle between angels and bad angels, the Black Wings. ‘Supernatural powers, forbidden romance’!

First line: ‘In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.

Tyme’s End, by B. R. Collins (319 pages) – Bibi finds refuge in a deserted house called Tyme’s End. She bumps into its owner, who has been away for the past decade, and together they are pulled towards the ‘romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent’ house. Terror awaits them. And the reader!

First lines: ‘I’ve had enough. There’s only so long anyone can stand being shouted at, and I’m way past it.’

Entice, by Carrie Jones  (263 pages) – Evil pixies are kidnapping teens, Zara and her friends anticipate an all-out war. Zara’s soulmate, Nick, has been taken to Valhalla however, and the good guys need all the warriors they can get. BUT Zara gets pixie-kissed! So obviously that hampers things.

First line: ‘“Am I really not allowed to complain about being here?” I ask as we enter Bedford High School about an hour late for the winter ball.

New! Books!? yes.

Spells, by Aprilynne Pike (425 pages) – Laurel is a faerie, placed among the humans when she was a baby. A baby faerie! She still lives in the human world (a boyfriend you see) but the faerie realm is threatened, so she’s got to do something about it.

First line: ‘Laurel stood in front of the cabin, scanning the tree line, her throat constricting in a rush of nerves.’

f2m – The Boy Within, by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy (330 pages) – Skye is in an all-girl punk band, and her world is turned upside-down when she decides to transition to male. Skye becomes Finn, and his family and friends will need to come to terms with this.

First line: ‘Tick the box. M or F.

Where I Belong, by Gillian Cross (340 pages) – Human smuggling, Somalia, and supermodels!

First line: ‘Spin the globe, boy,’ my father used to say.

Jaguar Warrior, by Sandy Fussell (212 pages) – Atl is an Aztec boy who runs from captivity (and human sacrifice I think?) towards freedom. Who can blame him!

First line: ‘“Why isn’t that boy dead yet?” When the captain shouts, even the temple walls shiver.

Shadow of the Dragon: Book 2 – Elspeth, by Kate O’Hearn (374 pages) – The king’s ‘First Law’ is an incredibly restrictive bunch of rules preventing girls from going anywhere near dragons (torture then execution you see) but Elspeth and her sister Kira aren’t having any of it.

First line: ‘The heavy rain that fell from the stormy skies around them did little to dampen the celebrations of the dragon riders cutting through the thick dark clouds.

Witchfinder : Dawn of the Demontide, by William Hussey (337 pages) – The Demontide is coming, and Jake Harker is ‘the only one who can stop it.’ Sounds pretty grim! This is the first book in a planned trilogy. There is an official website here.

First line: ‘“HELP! Someone – anyone – please, help me!”

Thief Eyes, by Janni Lee Simner (259 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Haley goes to Iceland with her father to try to find her mother, who disappeared there some time ago. She touches a magic coin Hallgerd  (Haley’s ancestor – and a sorceress!) that curses her. Haley now needs to break the spell, and sets off with the gorgeous but dangerous Ari.

First line: ‘ Icy rain blew into my hood and dripped down my neck as I knelt on the mossy stones.

Bead, Boys, and Bangles, by Sophia Bennett (304 pages) – This is the second book in the Threads series, which is about four girls and ‘their amazing adventure with fashion.’ In this installment Crow’s designs may be manufactured by children in India!

First line: ‘I’ve never seen Crow look so scared. And this time she’s got a point.

Greener Grass, by Caroline Pignat (276 pages) – Ireland 1847. The Great Famine! Kit’s family is to be evicted – is there anything she can do to help her family? She will do anything.

First line: ‘They say home is where the heart is. I believed that, once.

Borderline, by Allan Stratton (298 pages) – Sami is the only Muslim at his private school. When is father is implicated in a terrorist plot, Sami’s ‘must fight to keep his world from unraveling.’ A thriller!

First line: ‘I’m next door in Andy’s driveway, shooting hoops with him and Marty.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann, by Karen Cushman (167 pages) – Meggy is sent from her country village to Elizabethan-era London. From a dire beginning she works her way to improve her lot in the same way that her father, an achemist, attempts to turn base metal into gold.

First line: ‘“Ye toads and vipers,” the girl said, as her granny often had, “ye toads and vipers,” and she snuffled a great snuffle that echoed in the empty room.

Burned : A House of Night Novel, by P. C. and Kristin Cast (323 pages) – Book seven in the series, and one of the Most Wanted books this month. Having not read this I do not know what is going on. High Priestesses! Neferet! Bringing back Zoey!

First line: ‘Kalona lifted his hands. He didn’t hesitate.

Sources of Light, by Margaret McMullan (233 pages) – Mississippi, 1962, and fourteen-year-old Sam ‘learns to use her camera to look for the shades of gray’ in a black and white world.

First line: ‘The year after my father died, my mother took a job teaching at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi.

Spirit Bound : A Vampire Academy Novel, by Richelle Mead (489 pages) – This is the fifth novel in the series. And what happens? ‘Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s and to her best friend, Lissa. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere. He has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him–forever.’ So says the catalogue.

First line: ‘There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.

Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins (323 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Sophie discovers she’s a witch, but after screwing up a love spell she’s sent to Hecate ‘Hex’ Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters, and faeries. Also ghosts and a vampire. There’s a mystery predator also.

First line: ‘Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom. Again.

The Reckoning : The Darkest Power, by Kelley Armstrong (391 pages) – Book three! Chloe is fifteen and is a genetically engineered necromancer, and has feelings for a sorcerer and his brother, a werewolf, all the while on the run from the corporation that created her (and the others).

First line: ‘After four nights on the run, I was finally safe, tucked into bed and enjoying the deep, dreamless sleep of the dead … until the dead decided they’d really rather have me awake.

Koh Tabu, by Ann Kelley (260 pages) – A group of girls are stranded on an island after their boat is blown off course. It’s all an adventure to begin with but quickly becomes an all-girl Lord of the Flies + Man Vs Wild mashup.

First line: ‘It all began with my mother changing her mind.

Rich and Mad, by William Nicholson (341 pages)
The Island, by Sarah Singleton (294 pages)
Ondine : The Summer of Shambles, by Ebony McKenna (291 pages)
Because I Am Furniture, by Thalia Chaltas (352 pages)

New Books

Why hello there. Here are SOME of this week’s (and last week’s) new books. (The rest are forthcoming.)

Lifegame, by Alison Allen-Gray (339 pages) – Fella and Grebe escape from the island to the outside world; a world, so they’ve been led to believe, has been subject to a cataclysmic disaster. But has it? Fella has a diary that belonged to his mother, who came from the Outside. Sci-fi thrill!

First line: ‘The baby was brought to the Orphanage straight from the car accident that killed his mother.’

Threads, by Sophia Bennett (254 pages) – A fairy tale about for London girls and fashion. There’s a website with more details! Interactive. ‘Girls will love it’, says Jacqueline Wilson.

First line: ‘We’re standing in a fashion designer’s studio in Hoxton, admiring ourselves in the mirror.

Crossing the Line, by Gillian Philip (267 pages) – Nick’s sister’s boyfriend was murdered; his father drinks and his mother is a religious maniac. He’s also in love with Orla, the sister of his murdered sister’s boyfriend. She (Orla) blames him (Nick) for his (the brother’s) death. Grim.

First line: ‘In this life you have to look after yourself.

Forbidden Island, Malcolm Rose (230 pages) – Mike and his pals explore an island off the Scottish coast. There are warnings! But they ignore them and find that the island is much, much more dangerous than other Scottish islands. Like Mull, Eigg, Yell, or even Fuaigh Mòr.

First line: ‘”There’s land ahead!” Mike shouted about the growl of the motor.

Morning in a Different Place, by Mary Ann McGuigan (195 pages) – ‘In 1963 in the Bronx, New York, eighth-graders Fiona and Yolanda help one another face hard decisions at home despite family and social opposition to their interracial friendship, but Fiona is on her own when popular classmates start paying attention to her and give her a glimpse of both a different way of life and a new kind of hatefulness.’ (Copied from the catalogue entry. Full credit!)

First line: ‘Now I know what invisible feels like.

You Are So Undead To Me, by Stacey Jay (265 pages) – Megan can communicate with zombies, semi-dead people who aren’t too troublesome. But someone in her school uses black magic and she and friend Ethan must team up to save homecoming from a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

First line: ‘The cold wind swept across the hill, whistling through the headstones that poked from the ground like dozens of crooked baby teeth.

Dreaming of Amelia, by Jaclyn Moriarty (519 pages) – Amelia and Riley have transferred to Ashbury, a rich kids’ school, from Brookfield High. They are brilliant and mysterious, and soon everyone at Ashbury is obsessed with them. However! They have dark secrets. And ghosts. Also, locked doors, femme fatales, madness and passion feature.

First line: ‘My first look at her was her name.

The Wisdom of Dead Men, by Oisín McGann (468 pages) – Berto is the head of the ‘rich and ruthless’ Wildenstern family. He and his younger brother, Nate, want to change the cruel ways typical to their family. Nate and his sister-in-law Daisy must also investigate a spate of spontaneous combustion – and the deaths mightn’t be the fault of a Wildenstern.

First line: ‘Vicky Miller stumbled dizzily out into the darkness, away from the house and the stranger who lay dead inside it – the man she had just killed.
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Voices in the Dark : The Last Descendants Trilogy Book II, by Catherine Banner (455 pages) – From the reliable old catalogue, source of so many synopses: ‘Sixteen-year-old Anselm Andros’s world is turned upside-down when he learns the identity of his birth father, and this personal upheaval mirrors that of his country, Malonia, which is on the brink of another war after fifteen years of relative peace.’

First line: ‘I want more than anything to tell you the truth about my life.