The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton (301 pages)Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. (Goodreads)
First lines: To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistake for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth-deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.
The inventor’s secret, Andrea Cremer (369 pages)Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks. (Goodreads)
First lines:Every heartbeat brought the boy closer. Charlotte heard the shallow pulls of his breath, the uneven, heavy pounding of his footfalls. She stayed curled within the hollows of the massive tree’s roots, body perfectly still other than the sweat that beaded on her forehead in the close air.
Nil, Lynne Matson (374 pages)On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die. Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time. (Goodreads)
First lines: Heat. Inexplicable, consuming heat-choking like smoke, burning like fire. That was my last memory before the invisble flames spoiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy though that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car.
The Dark Inside, Rupert Wallis (360 pages) When thirteen-year-old James discovers a homeless man in an abandoned house, the course of his life changes dramatically. Hoping to find a ‘cure’ for a dark curse inflicted on the homeless man, the pair embark on a journey together not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined…
First lines: Run. And James did. Out the back door. Through the gap in the garden fence. Not stopping even after after the bellowing of his stepfather had wasted in the wind and there was nothing but the whip of grass across his shins.
Fragile Spirits, Mary Lindsay (308 pages) Paul has always known he was a Protector, fated to serve a Speaker who could hear the voices of spirits lingering after death and help those souls find peace.
Vivienne ignores the voices of the dead. Paul has always followed the Protector’s rule book, preparing diligently for the day when he’d be matched with his Speaker and fulfill his destiny. Vivienne never does what she’s told. So when Paul is matched with Vivienne, they both find the pairing less than satisfactory. But a kidnapping, a malevolent spirit and power stronger than both of them may just prove that they are two halves of the same whole. (Goodreads)
First lines: 21st century Cycle, Journal entry 1: I have been instructed to keep a journal of my Speaker’s progress for this cycle in order to track his/her preferences and trends to carry over into our future lifetimes together. I await my assignment with great excitement. Paul Blackwell-Protector 993.
Control, Lydia Kang (393 pages)When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA. (Goodreads)
First lines: Maybe if I move a little slower, I can prevent the inevitable. Time will freeze and it’ll be easy to pretend we’re not moving again. I don’t want to budge from the roof of this cruddy building. The door to the stairwell creaks open. Dad sees the lump of me at the edge of the rood, unmoving. Dark clothes, dark frizzled hair. I am depression personified.
The Wall, William Sutcliffe (286 pages)Joshua lives with his mother and step-father in Amarias, an isolated town, where all the houses are brand new. Amarias is surrounded by a high wall, guarded by soldiers, which can only be crossed through a heavily fortified checkpoint. Joshua has been taught that the Wall is the only thing keeping his people safe from a brutal and unforgiving enemy.
One day, Joshua stumbles across a tunnel that leads underneath the Wall. The chance to catch a glimpse of life on the other side of The Wall is too tempting to resist. He’s heard plenty of stories about the other side, but nothing has prepared him for what he finds . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: We sprint for the ball, shoulder to shoulder, orbackpacks thumping from side to side. I get in front, but David grabs my schoolbag and pulls me back, like a rider stopping a horse.
“Oi!” I should. “That’s a foul!”
“There’s no such thing.”
“Yes there is!”
“Not when there’s no ref.”
Divided we fall, Trent Reedy (374 pages)Danny Wright never thought he’d be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enlisted in the National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the Idaho governor’s orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission … but then Danny’s gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd, and by the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead. The president wants the soldiers arrested. The governor swears to protect them. And as tensions build on both sides, the conflict slowly escalates toward the unthinkable: a second American civil war. (Goodreads)
First lines: I am Private First Class Daniel Christoper Wright, I am seventeen years old, and I fired the shot that ended the United States of America.
The Eye of Zoltar, Jasper Fforde (401 pages)Orphaned sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, a Mystical Arts Management company that rents out wizards for cash. The Mighty Shandar tells Jennifer that if she finds a mysterious jewel named The Eye of Zoltar, he will spare the dragons he didn’t manage to kill in Book One. It is said the Eye was last seen around the neck of the really very legendary and not at all likely Sky Captain Morgan, who reputedly plunders jetliners from the back of the equally legendary and probably not real Leviathan, a kind of flying manta ray the size of a coach.(Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing we had to do was capture the Tralfamosaur. The obvious question aside from “What’s a Tralfamosaur?’ was: ‘Why us?’. The answer to the first question was this was a Magical Beast, created by some long-forgotten wiszard when conjuring up exotic creatures was briefly fashionable.
Resistance, Jenna Black (366 pages) Nate Hayes is a Replica. The real Nate was viciously murdered, but thanks to Paxco’s groundbreaking human replication technology, a duplicate was created that holds all of the personality and the memories of the original. Or…almost all. Nate’s backup didn’t extend to the days preceding his murder, leaving him searching for answers about who would kill him, and why. Now, after weeks spent attempting to solve his own murder with the help of his best friend and betrothed, Nadia Lake, Nate has found the answers he was seeking…and he doesn’t like what he’s discovered. The original Nate was killed because he knew a secret that could change everything. Thanks to Nadia’s quick thinking, the two of them hold the cards now—or think they do. Unfortunately, neither of them fully understands just how deep the conspiracy runs.
First lines: “You can’t be serious!” Nadia told her mother.
She tried to keep her voice level and calm despite a stab of panic. She’d known her lide would never be the same after what had happened, and she’d known that being summoned to her mother’s private study hadn’t boded well, but nothing could have prepared her for the bombshell that had just exploded in her face.
Echo Boy, Matt Haig (399 pages)Audrey’s father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo – but he’s not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he’s determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.
First lines: It has been two weeks since my parents were killed. It has been the longest two weekens of my life. Everything has changed. Literally everything. The only thing that remains true is that I am still me. That is, I am still a human called Audrey Castle.