We have loads of new books. We are overwhelmed! Something to do with the financial year ending, and budgets being spent. Today is the first day of the new financial year, so happy new financial year? Let us celebrate with some new YA fiction, as is traditional from times gone by.

Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry (458 pages) – It is the near future. And the world is no longer safe for anyone, thanks to a zombie apocalypse. Humans live in small settlements, and all teens have to start working at the age of 15 or they won’t get fed. Benny, who has just hit 15, reluctantly agrees to become a zombie-killing bounty hunter with his dull brother, Tom. What he thought would be a boring (!) job turns out to be … not boring at all.

First line: ‘Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird (423 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Maggie is accused of witchcraft, and flees for her life. For it is Scotland during the 1600s! Her grandmother, also accused, is hanged, so Maggie runs to her uncle’s place. Her uncle is part of a movement rebelling against the English crown, and she can not entirely escape her past (the whole ‘witch’ thing) when an old enemy puts in an appearance.

First line: ‘I was the first one to see the dead whale lying on the sand at Scalpsie bay.

You Killed Wesley Payne : A Novel, by Sean Beaudoin (359 pages) – Dalton Rev has just transferred to a new school. Dalton is a ‘hard-boiled PI’ and also seventeen, and he is going to take on his hardest case ever; to discover who killed Wesley Payne? A ‘smart, slick, and hilarious detective novel.’

First line: ‘Dalton Rev thundered into the parking lot of Salt River High, a squat brick building at the top of a grassless hill that looked more like the last stop of the hopeless than a springboard to the college of your choice.

Pull, by B. A. Binns (310 pages) – David is (understandably!) distraught after his father kills his mother, and he – and his sisters – move to a new, tough inner-city school in Chicago. He tries to make a new life for himself, all the while dealing with the burden of his grief, but ends up having to make a very difficult choice; to take a basketball scholarship, or quit school to work and support his family.

First line: ‘It’s fourth period, and so far not one teacher has questioned who I am.

Enclave, by Ann Aguirre (262 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘In a post-apocalyptic future, 15-year-old Deuce, a loyal Huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the Freaks outside her enclave, but when she is partnered with the mysterious outsider, Fade, she begins to see that the strict ways of the elders may be wrong – and dangerous.’ According to Publishers Weekly, this book is for fans of The Hunger Games. Which is nearly everyone! So you can’t go wrong.

First line: ‘I was born during the second holocaust.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth (487 pages) – Another dystopian story! This is the first in a series set in a future Chicago, where everyone at the age of 16 must choose one of five factions to join. Each faction is dedicated to a certain virtue. Beatrice Prior has to choose between staying with her family or being true to herself (i.e., she doesn’t belong to any one faction and is, in fact, a Divergent.) She very quickly discovers that her world isn’t as perfect as she thought. ‘Edgy,’ says Publishers Weekly. ‘Definately not for the fainthearted,’ they add.

First lines: ‘There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.

How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized  Trophy, by Crystal Allen (283 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lamar is a champion ten-pin bowler, but he is overshadowed by his uber-talented basketball-playing older brother. Lamar has no luck with the ladies, either. So a scheme to make money backfires he ruins his brother’s chance at getting into college as well as every relationship in his life. How can he mend everything? How?! ‘Heartwarming and humorous.’

First line: ‘Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.

Like Mandarin, by Kirsten Hubbard (388 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When shy, awkward fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter is paired with the beautiful and wild Mandarin on a school project, an unlikely, explosive friendship begins, but all too soon, Grace discovers that Mandarin is a very troubled, even dangerous, girl.’ Thanks, catalogue!

First line: ‘The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.

The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff (343 pages) – Mackie Doyle is a changeling, and was left in a human baby’s crib 16 years ago; although he would rather fit in to our world, all the iron, blood, and consecrated ground here are slowly killing him. When Tate – the girl he fancies – loses her baby sister, Mackie is drawn back to Mayhem to try to find her. Here’s the catalogue’s summary (I know I keep copying from it, but this sounds really good!); ‘“Edward Scissorhands” meets “The Catcher in the Rye” in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

First line: ‘I don’t remember any of the true, important parts, but there’s this dream I have.

The Lost Tohunga, by David Blair (368 pages) – Mat is on holiday in Taupo, and all he wants to do there is study and catch up with his magical mentor. But! Warlocks, determined to dominate the hidden land of Aoteoroa, seek Te Iho, and soon Mat is caught up in a deadly no-holds-barred struggle. This is the sequel to The Taniwha’s Tear, itself the sequel to The Bone Tiki

First line: ‘Auckland, 1956 – Whenever the girl heard the crunch of boots on the gravel path outside, she imagined that her father had come to take her away.