In time for the long weekend (happy Queen’s Birthday to you)!

From Simon:

The Dreamwalker’s Child, by Steve Voake (300 pages) – Young Sam lives in the country and hates it. He has no pals and everything is relaxed and peaceful slow and dull. Until he’s in an accident which sticks him in a coma. However! His mind wakes in another world run by giant smart insects who want to wupe humanity from the face of Earth with mosquito-spread disease. It’s up to Sam and his allies to stop this from happening.

First line: ‘When they are first born, most people find the world a fascinating, magical place.

The Girl in the Mask, by Marie-Louise Jensen (311 pages) – It is 1715 or so, and Sophie’s duty is to look pretty and get hitched ASAP. She hate all the balls and dances and so on required of her, so when it’s dark she secretly moonlights as a highway robber. Which seems reasonable. She also gets involved with the failed Stuart rebellion, just to add a touch of historical context.

First lines: ‘I didn’t hear my cousin’s voice at first. It wasn’t until the library door was flung open with a bang, making me jump, that I came back down to earth.

The Calling, by Kelley Armstrong (326 pages) – This is the second book in the Darkness Rising series (the first is The Gathering). Maya. who has a pawprint birthmark and can talk to animals (I think?), and her similarly supernatural friends have all been kidnapped. They escape! And are now being chased through the Vancouver wilds.

First line: ‘I don’t know who was more anxious – Daniel or Kenjii – but they weren’t making this emergency helicopter evacuation and easier.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (372 pages) – In a vast virtual reality world (designed by Willy Wonka’s futuristic twin), Wade Watts escapes the ecological wasteland that is Earth in 2044. The world’s founder died a few years previously and had left his fortune to whoever can solve numerous 1980s-pop-culture riddles throughout the world. 1980s pop culture! Well I am sold. Ready Player One has been showered with praise and awards probably and I think a movie is on its way.

First line: ‘Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when the first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing the James Halliday had died during the night.’

From Grimm, since Simon is sickathomewithacold:

Lovetorn, by Kavita Daswani (250 pages) – Shalini has moved from India to Los Angeles, which is a rather large cultural shock (accent, hair, clothes etc.). Additionally, and most differently of all, she is set to marry Vikram (and has been almost her whole life). Then there’s Toby at school, who is bound to turn Shalini’s sense of her destiny on its head.

First sentence: In a carved wooden frame on my mother’s bedside table sits a photograph of me taken on the day that I got engaged.

The Difference Between You and Me, by Madeleine George (256 pages) – Jesse and Emily are really rather different. One is an activist (or rather, the only member of NOLAW – the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos) the other is vice president of the student council. But they are attracted to one another. Things get complicated when they end up on opposite sides of an issue – what will win over, their relationship or their commitment to their causes?

First sentence: Jesse is in the sophomore hall girls’ bathroom, the farthest stall from the door, one huge, scuffed fisherman’s boot propped up on the toilet seat so she can balance her backpack on her knee and rifle through it.

Trafficked, by Kim Purcell (384 pages) – Hannah struggles to look after her grandmother in Moldova, so she leaps at the chance to go to Los Angeles to work as a nanny. However, the family treats her like a captive slave, and when she is caught sneaking out the house to visit Colin, her neighbour, she is threatened with prostitution. Hannah, fortunately, has a lot of gumption, and her investigations into her employers captors may lead to the truth about a missing uncle who disappeared mysteriously in Moldova, but they may also put her in danger.

First sentence: Hannah took two small steps forward in the immigration line entering America at LAX.

When the Sea is Rising Red, by Cat Hellisen (296 pages) – Felicita lives an elite life as a member of Pelimburg’s founding family, but she has few choices. When her friend throws herself off a cliff rather than marry the man she’s been assigned to, Felicita fakes her own suicide and escapes to the city’s slums. There she meets Dash (a “charismatic renegade”, what’s not to like?) and the vampire Jannik. Things take a turn for the disturbing when pale corpses begin washing up on the beach. In her death, Felicita’s friend has (maybe unknowingly?) unleashed some sinister magic from the sea, which those who want to overthrow the powerful classes of Pelimburg might use to start a rebellion.

First sentence: She’s not here.

Frost, Marianna Baer (396 pages) – Strange goings on are going on at Frost House, a boarding school with a rather creepy name. Door slam, pictures fall off walls. Leena’s room mate, Celeste, thinks it’s the other students trying to scare her off, but Leena is not so sure, and fears increasingly for her safety: “does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind… or in Frost House itself?” (book cover). Warning: this book may also contain a love interest named David.

First sentence: Before I lived here, before any of this happened, I imagined Frost House as a sanctuary.

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis (148 pages) – Ben is a bit of a star: he’s bright, popular, and talented. He surprises everyone when he enlists in the army straight out of high school, saying he feels compelled to serve his country. But things go horribly wrong when he’s serving in Iraq, and Ben returns with a brain injury: he comes back hardly able to speak or walk, and with no memory of who he is.

First sentence: The knife came out of nowhere.