This week we’re bringing you the gems that haven’t gone out in a while, part four! You can see the reasoning behind this collection and the previous instalments here and here.
33 Snowfish, Adam Rapp
On the run in a stolen car with a kidnapped baby in tow, Curtis, Curl, and Bobbie are three young people with troubled pasts and bleak, uncertain futures. As they struggle to find a new life for themselves, it becomes painfully clear that none will ever be able to leave the past behind – though for some, redemption is waiting in the unlikeliest of places. It’s a harrowing and haunting read that’s sure to stay with you.
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons, Ann Rinaldi
Kidnapped from her home in Senegal and sold as a slave in 1761, a young girl is purchased by the wealthy Wheatley family of Boston. Phillis Wheatley – as she comes to be known – has an eager mind and a knack for learning that leads her on an unusual path for a slave. When the Wheatley’s discover Phillis’s talent for writing poetry, they begin to mold her future by having her “perform” for influential guests. Eventually she is sent to England, where her work is finally published – the first book of poetry by and African American woman. Despite her great achievement and the fame that follows, Phillis is troubled about her way of life. All of the trappings of success do nothing to change the fact that she is still a slave.
Variant X, Sue Robinson
A deadly strain of botfly is causing fear and panic on Australia’s east coast. In a race against time, Adam Wilde follows his scientist father to South America in search of a biological remedy. On board the Carlotta, their floating laboratory on a tributary of the Amazon, Adam meets Sharma, the daughter of a family friend. The two are suspicious of each other from the outset and, in the melting heat of the forest, tension builds to breaking point. Things are about to go very, very wrong.
Anonymity Jones, James Roy
Once, in a street not very far from yours, there lived a girl called Anonymity Jones. Anonymity’s life is falling apart. Her father has left to have a mid-life crisis, her mother’s new boyfriend is a definite worry, her Europe-bound sister has changed her name (just to make a point), and all her girl friends are now girlfriends, with boyfriends. And then there’s the art teacher. Anonymity’s losing control, and it’s decision time. Does she hang on, get out, or get even?
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet, Kashmira Sheth
Jeeta’s family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. Even though tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations, and the elaborate displays, sixteen-year-old Jeeta wonders what happened to the love and romance the movies promise? She dreads her turn at the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how Jeeta’s dark skin and sharp tongue will turn off potential husbands. But when Jeeta’s smart mouth and liberal ideas land her in love with her friend’s cousin Neel, she must strike a balance between duty to her tradition-bound parents, and the desire to follow her heart.
General Winston’s Daughter, Sharon Shinn
When seventeen-year-old heiress Averie Winston travels with her guardian to faraway Chiarrin, she looks forward to the reunion with her father, who is commanding general; seeing her handsome fiancé, Morgan; and exploring the strange new country. What she finds is entirely different from what she expected. Although the Chiarizzi appear to accept the invading army, rebels have already tried to destroy them; Morgan is not the man she thought he was; and she finds herself falling in love with Lieutenant Ket Du’kai, who himself comes from a conquered society. Can the irrepressible Averie remake herself in this new world?
Damosel : in which the Lady of the Lake renders a frank and often startling account of her wondrous, Stephanie Spinner
Water spirit Damosel, the Lady of the Lake, glides through Arthur’s kingdom like a glamorous wraith. She shimmers and shifts between the worlds of fairies and humans, with the Rules Governing the Ladies of the Lake always on her mind: The Rule of Thorough Preparation for a Difficult Task, The Rule of Eternally Binding Vows to Wielders of Magic, Especially Wizards, The Rule of Service to Future Kings. Her knowledge is vast (magic, metal, men’s hearts) and leads to her greatest honor – and worst mistake. Damosel makes a promise to the wizard Merlin to protect young King Arthur, and then dares to break it – with devastating results.
Inferno, Robin Stevenson
For Dante, high school is hell. She hates her new home in the suburbs, her only friend has moved away, her homeroom teacher mocks her and her mother is making her attend a social skills group for teenage girls. When a stranger shows up at school and hands Dante a flyer that reads: “WOOF, WOOF. YOU ARE NOT A DOG. WHY ARE YOU GOING TO OBEDIENCE SCHOOL?” Dante thinks she’s found a soul mate. Someone who understands. But there are all kinds of ways of bringing about change … and some are more dangerous than others.
Toads and Diamonds, Heather Tomlinson
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family’s scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks. It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely step-sister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward. Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince – and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province’s governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters’ fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love … or death?
The Bad Girls’ Club, Rhian Tracey
Four girls – Mary, Bea, Meena and Atlanta – are thrown together when they are picked for very different reasons by their teacher, to form a book review club. Their discussions and reviews will be heard on radio, chaired and presented by the incredibly cool Jazz. As the girls gradually relax and talk more and more animatedly about what they think about the different books, they find they are learning from, as well as about, each other. And so they become friends. Until one day Mary does the unforgivable and, having flirted outrageously with Bea’s new boyfriend, makes an all-out play for him. The tender new friendship of the foursome is fractured as a result of what Mary has done.
No and Me, Delphine De Vigan
Lou Bertignac is thirteen, has an IQ of 160, a head full of questions and a good friend in class rebel Lucas. At home, her father puts a brave face on things but cries in secret in the bathroom, while her mother has hardly left the house in years, not since her second child died in its sleep. To escape this desolate world, Lou likes to go to one of Paris’s main railway stations, Gare d’Austerlitz, to see emotion writ large in the smiles and tears of arrival and departure. But there she also sees the homeless and meets a girl called No, not much older than herself. She determines to make No the subject of her class project, and bit by bit, coaxed with drinks and a seat in a warm cafe, No begins to talk.
Wendy, Karen Wallace
Wendy’s imagination never runs away with her – it flies. Wendy Darling is not the perfect girl her parents would like her to be. Intrepid, outspoken, and wilful, she’s always getting into trouble. One evening, confined to the nursery by her horrible nanny, she sneaks out to spy on one of her parents’ glamorous parties. What Wendy sees changes her life forever and triggers a series of confusing adventures as she tries to solve the mysteries that lie at the heart of her family…
The Midnight Charter, David Whitley
In the city of Agora, anything can be bought and sold. Even children are possessions until their twelfth birthday. Mark has been sold by his father and Lily, an orphan from birth, has bartered for her life. Thrown together by chance, in the ancient tower of Count Stelli, they face an existence of poverty and servitude unless they can find a way to break free. But, unbeknown to Mark and Lily, they are being watched by the ruler of the city. Can they survive the treachery that awaits them and discover the dark secret that binds them together?
Message in a Bottle, Valerie Zenatti
After a suicide bomb attack on her local Jerusalem cafe, seventeen-year-old Israeli Tal Levine sends a message in a bottle to Gaza. It is a desperate act, but Tal hopes that by starting a dialogue with a Palestinian, their shared experiences could lead to some kind of mutual understanding. Her message is found by a young man calling himself Gazaman, and a remarkable email correspondence begins…