The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais (275 pages) – Lotus says on the back cover, “This year, I will become an existentialist, go to France and fall in love (hopefully in Paris) with a dashing Frenchman named Jean something. We will both be existentialists, believe in nothingness, and wander around Paris in trench coats and berets.” Needless to say, Lotus loves all things French and sets up a French culture club at her school, which consists of her, her friend Joni and the handsome Sean. Things possibly go a bit awry on a trip to Montreal. Told in diary form and possibly (I say possibly) will be liked by Georgia Nicholson fans.

First sentence: As you may have guessed, my name is Lotus Lowenstein and this is my diary.

Secret Army, Robert Muchamore (Henderson’s Boys, 363 pages) – This also has what appears to be a large extract from the last CHERUB book Shadow Wave (yet to be published). In Secret Army, it is January 1941 and Charles Henderson is back in Britain, “but will the military establishment allow him to enact a plan to train teenagers as spies?” (says the website) This looks to be the beginning of the CHERUB campus – you can see how it all began!

First sentence (of chapter one): “Stand by yer beds!” Evan Williams shouted.

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (563 pages) – a veritable doorstop of a book at nearly 600 pages, Beautiful Creatures already features in our monthly Most Wanted list. We are currently reading it to see if it is Twilight-y. Ethan Wate has been having strange recurring dreams about an unknown beautiful girl. On the first day back at school there are rumblings about a new girl in town (nobody is ever new in the town of Gatlin), and Ethan’s life takes an unexpected and unsettling turn when dream and reality mingle. That’s the start, at any rate. A gothic southern supernatural romance.

First sentence: There were only two kinds of people in our town.

Loot, Grace Cavendish (The Lady Grace Mysteries, 201 pages) – a favourite YA series. When the crown of St Edward goes missing, Lady Grace must find out what has happened to it without anyone knowing that a) it’s gone missing and b) she’s trying to find it. Elizabeth I will not be amused if she is “publicly humiliated” (as the back cover puts it).

First sentence: Here I am, squashed into a corner of my bedchamber, far from the fire, while Mary Shelton and Lady Sarah Bartelmy fuss about new gowns that the Maids have been gifted.

Gone, Lisa McMann (214 pages) – the cover says that this the final book in the Wake trilogy, but trilogies have a habit of being tricksy and growing a fourth leg. Still, we must take it at its word: those of you who have read and enjoyed Wake and Fade must read this (let us know if it is indeed the end)! Janie must (she thinks) disappear in order to give Cabel a fighting chance at a normal life, but then a mysterious stranger arrives on the scene and Janie’s future is not what it once seemed, in fact it appears to be a whole lot worse. Tense.

First sentence: It’s like she can’t breathe anymore, no matter what she does.

Geek Magnet, Kieran Scott (308 pages) – KJ is a geek magnet, but would like to be a superstud-basketball-star-Cameron magnet (and isn’t). Tama Gold, most popular of the popular girls, kindly thinks she has the solution to KJ’s problem, but is KJ ready for such a radical turn of events? A theatrical story: “a novel in five acts”.

First sentence: Okay, so I was dizzy with power.

The Walls Have Eyes, Clare B Dunkle (225 pages) – the sequel to The Sky Inside. Martin’s family are the targets of a totalitarian government, and Martin must rescue his parents (having saved his sister Cassie), but things are treacherous, agents are following him, and Cassie looks like she’s in danger again…

First sentence(s): “She melted down? Completely?”

Viola in Reel Life, Adriana Trigiani (282 pages) – Viola is a New Yorker at boarding school in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. Needless to say she very much doesn’t like it to begin with, but just maybe it grows on her a little bit.

First sentence: You would not want to be me.

Waiting for You, Susane Colasanti (322 pages) – a love triangle story that’s very happy being a love triangle story. Marisa likes Derek (I think), but he has a girlfriend. She doesn’t particularly like Nash, but Nash likes Marisa. Plus there are other complicating factors in Marisa’s life, from family to friends, to school… Might be a good one for fans of Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.

First sentence: The best thing about summer camp is the last day.

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair, Delia Ephron (312 pages) – Sukie is obsessed with the way she looks, so when her mother gives her a beautiful antique full length mirror this seems like the perfect gift, but the mirror possibly reveals more about Sukie than just her appearance.

First sentence: Sukie kept track of herself in all reflective surfaces: shiny pots, the windowed doors to classrooms, shop windows, car chrome, knives, spoons.

Funny How Things Change, Melissa Wyatt (196 pages) – “Remy, a talented, seventeen-year-old auto mechanic, questions his decision to join his girlfriend when she starts college in Pennsylvania after a visiting artist helps him to realize what his family’s home in a dying West Virginia mountain town means to him.” (catalogue summing it up well) This story has good reviews: “Good writing drives stellar characterization of this strong but introspective protagonist struggling with his own version of the universal questions of who he is and what matters most” (School Library Journal via I’d like a review like that one day.

First sentence: On his arm – just above his left hand – were three black letters.

Dreams of the Dead, Thomas Randall (The Waking, 276 pages) – Kara moves to Japan and to a new school where she makes friends with Sakura, whose sister was murdered on school grounds… and the killer was never found. Things get pretty bad: Kara has strange nightmares, then more bodies appear… is this Sakura’s murdered sister exacting revenge? Or Sakura? Or some other sinister thing? The book also has a “sneak peak” at the sequel.

First sentence: Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love.

There are more books (yet more), so back soon.