The Poison Eaters And Other Stories, by Holly Black (212 pages) – A collection of stories, all ‘gritty, grim, and fabulous’, by the author of the Modern Faerie Tales (some of the stories in this collection are in the same setting) and the Spiderwick Chronicles. To sweeten the deal! there are illustrations.

The Emerald Casket : The Billionaire Trilogy Book II, by Richard Newsome (378 pages) – This continues this detective/mystery series about a billionaire (lucky!) who recovers stolen jewels, solves murders, and has some pretty sweet adventures. (The author, Richard Newsom, was born in New Zealand. We shall claim him as our own.)

First lines: ‘A meaty hand slapped down on top of the alarm clock. Of all the sounds that Constable Lethbridge of the London Metropolitan Police might want to hear on a Sunday, a buzzer at six o’clock in the morning was not high on the list.

Infinity : Chronicles of Nick, by Sherrilin Kenyon (464 pages) – This is the first in a series, I guess? About Nick Gautier, who is sarcastic and wise to the ways of the streets. He is accidently drawn into the world of the Dark-Hunters*, and there are vampires, werewolves, and zombies, everywhere.

*These are a related series for adults. This is her first YA book

First lines: ‘Free will. Some have called it the greatest gift bestowed on humanity.

The Boneshaker, by Kate Milford (372 pages) – Natalie’s love of machinery means only she is able to save her small Missouri town from the threat posed by Doctor Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show. Historical fantasy (it is 1913!) meets steampunk and magic. This book has great illustrations and – this might just be me! – a wicked cool typeface*

*11-point Letterpress

First line: ‘Strange things  can happen at a crossroads.’

Epitaph Road, by David Patneaude (266 pages) – It is 2097, and a virus has wiped out 97% of all men. Now women rule the world and there is no war, crime, hunger, and poverty. Fourteen-year-old Kellen tries to find his outcast father (the surviving males lead a restricted life) and ‘uncovers a secret so frightening that his life and the future of the world will never be the same again.’

First line: ‘Charlie frowned as muted sunlight leaked through the ragged umbella of evergreen boughs overhead.

The Exile of Gigi Lane, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos (340 pages) – The catalogue says, ‘Heathers meets Bring It On in this story of a high school queen bee’s fall from glory,’ which is, if you’ve never seen Heathers, a pretty favourable comparison. Gigi – the high school queen bee – does fall from grace, but she won’t stand for it.

First line: ‘I’m Gigi Lane and you wish you were me. Oh my God, that has to be the most powerful affirmation in the history of the world.

Empire of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (298 pages) – This is the second book in a series. As the title might suggest! the series is about vampires. LOADS of them in fact. It is also 1666. (Gary Cross is a NZ writer, so if there’s still an NCEA requirement that you read a NZ author, here’s a good one.)

First line: ‘Fifteen-year-old Mary Shire hated being undead.

Here are some non-fiction books! The titles tell you all you need to know, I’m thinking.

Max Your Marks : Tip From Top Students on How to Conquer Year 13, by Rowena Austin, Annie Hastwell, & Dorothy Vinicombe (273 pages)
Living With a Willy : The Inside Story, by Nick Fisher (151 pages)
The Twilight Saga : Eclipse – The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, by Mark Cotta Vaz (140 pages)