A song for Ella Grey, David Almond
Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final. (Goodreads)
First lines: I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both, knew how they lived and how they died. It didn’t happen long ago. I’m young, like them. Like them? Can that be possible? Can you be both young and dead?
When Nona’s guardian kills himself, she is immediately suspected of murdering him. In a world where nature and darkness are feared, where wild animals are killed or held captive and cities are illuminated by permanent light, who will believe her innocence? Nona must flee with her only friend – a bear who is strangely human. In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two strange boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge – where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries. (Goodreads)
First lines: The snow falls heavily that night and in the morning lies in deep drifts, which smooth over the shapes of the edges of the jagged rocks and grassy knolls. It hides the bog holes that lie at the edge of the marshes and covers the recks of the burnt-out cars.
Mortal Heart (The fair assassin book III), Robin LaFevers
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…(Goodreads)
First lines: For most, the bleak dark months when the black storms come howling out of the north is a time of grimness and sorrow as people await the arrival of winter, which brings death, hunger and bitter cold in its wake. But we at the convent of Saint Mortain welcome winter with open arms, for it is Mortain’s own season, when he is full upon us.
Talon, Julie Kagawa
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Ember, when did your parents die, and what was the cause of death?”
I stifled a groan and tore my gaze from the car window, where the bright, sunny town of Crescent Beach shimmered beyond the tinted glass. The air in the black sedan was cold and stale, and, annoyingly, the driver had engaged the child safety locks so I couldn’t roll down the window.
The hangman’s revolution (W.A.R.P book II) Eoin Colfer
Young FBI agent Chevie Savano arrives back in modern-day London after a time-trip to the Victorian age, to find the present very different from the one she left. Europe is being run by a Facsist movement known as the Boxites, who control their territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie’s memories come back to her in fragments, and just as she is learning about the WARP program from Professor Charles Smart, inventor of the time machine, he is killed by secret service police. Now they are after Chevie, too, but she escapes–into the past. She finds Riley, who is being pursued by futuristic soldiers, and saves him. Working together again, it is up to Chevie and Riley to find the enigmatic Colonel Clayton Box, who is intent on escalating his power, and stop him before he can launch missiles at the capitals of Europe. (Goodreads)
First lines: Towards the end of the twentieth century, Scottish professor Charles Smart succeeded in stabilizing a time tunnel to Victorian London (constructed from exotic matter with negative energy density, duh). Within months the FBI had established the Witness Anonymous Relocation Program to stash federal witnesses in the past.
Revolution, Deborah Wiles
It’s 1964, and Sunny’s town is being invaded. Or at least that’s what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi, are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They’re calling it Freedom Summer. Meanwhile, Sunny can’t help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool — where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs. (Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing we do, me and Gillette, is make sure everybody is asleep. Daddy and Annabelle (I still can’t call her Mama) go to bed after watching the Lawrence Welk show on television. Parnell will be home at midnight, after he sweeps the floors and locks the doors on the corner of Fulton and West Washington Streets. Little Audrey-champion sleeper- has been snoring for hours, so we don’t worry about her.
Paranoia (Book II of the Night Walkers), J.R Johansson
In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working…until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn’t have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker’s life. When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They’re emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they’re even killing other people–all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what’s happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger…because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn’t the only one that could be lost. (Goodreads)
First lines:Weird stuff was going down in Oakville, and this time I was definitely – well, fairly – sure that I had nothing to do with it. The Sunday morning news headline on the muted television above the kitchen counter read: Another mysterious withdrawal.
Fiendish, Brenna Yovanoff
When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged. (Goodreads)
First lines: When I was little, everything twinkled. Trees and clouds all seemed to shine around the edges. At night, the stars were long tails of light, smeared across the sky like paint. The whole county glowed.
Blind, Rachel De Woskin
Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her manysmall victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow. (Goodreads)
First lines: Going blind is a bit like growing up. Maybe because the older you get, the more you have to close your eyes partway. From the time I was tiny, if I thought the words, When I die, I’ll be dead forever, I could actually understand, in my bone marrow, what forever meant.
The truth against the world, Sarah Jamila Stevenson
When Olwen Nia Evans learns that her family is moving from San Francisco to Wales to fulfill her great-grandmother’s dying wish, she starts having strange and vivid dreams about her family’s past. But nothing she sees in her dreams of the old country–the people, the places–makes any sense. Could it all be the result of an overactive imagination . . . or could everything she’s been told about her ancestors be a lie?Once in Wales, she meets Gareth Lewis, a boy plagued by dreams of his own–visions he can’t shake after meeting a ghost among the misty cairns along the Welsh seaside. A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans.
First lines: “Right over there, behind the old church.” Gareth’s mother pointed. “You used to love rolling down that hill. Over and over until you got dizzy.” She laughed, the wind blowing her pale hair out of its ponytail and whipping it around. Gareth glanced up from his phone. The hill looked a lot smaller than it had seemed in his memory.
The fire wish, Amber Lough
Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love. (Goodreads)
First lines: The earth and all her layers sped past while I traveled to the surface. I was smoke and flame, swirling through granite, through shale and sand. It took only a moment, then I emerged, myself again.
Mayday, Jonathan Friesen
Seventeen-year-old Crow will stop at nothing to protect her younger sister—even if it costs her her own life. But then she’s given a chance to come back and make things right. There are a few catches, though. First, she won’t come back as herself. And before she can set things straight, she’ll have to figure out what’s what—and things aren’t exactly as clear-cut as she remembered.
First lines: Let’s start with where I’m not. I’m not in dark tunnel walking toward a bright light. I’m not drifting toward heaven, looking down on my body. I’m seated in the front of an amubulance -alone- waiting. I’me not sure if this is a normal rest stop before the long trip; I’ve never died before.
Starbreak, Phoebe North
The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other . . . but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters.
Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.
First lines: I’ve never kept a journal before. Never thought about it. It’s not how my brain works, not really. I see colours, the way shadows mingle with light. But words? I could take them or leave them, or so I always thought. One of my ancestors kept a journal. All about how she arrived on the Asherah, how she came to live inside the dome. How she hated it there. She thought she was trapped in the deepness of space. She could never forget it- how her freedoms had been taken from her, one by one, by the High Council.
I’m just me, M.G Higgins
Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls. But they stand out at Arondale High. And kids make assumptions about the only Muslim and the new black girl–the only African American–in school. “Who let you into the suburbs?” Samantha asks. Everyone gawks. Nasreen has kept her head down for years. Eighteen months and she’s out, she tells herself. Off to college. Mia is bold. Yeah, she wishes she were somewhere else, but she’s not going to take the bullying lying down. She has to live her life. Graduate. Get into a good school. The school administrators are ignorant. And worse. The bullying escalates. Both at school and online. The girls come up with a plan to fight back. To regain some dignity. To turn the tables on the bullies. (Goodreads)
First lines: I knock on my brother’s door. His rap music is so loud, I’m sure he can’t hear me. I pound louder. “Jaffar! Open up!”
The volume goes down. He opens his door a crack and glares at me.
I clear my throat. He never lets me forget he’s older than me.
Evil librarian, Michelle Knudsen
When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!
First lines: Italian class. The shining highlight of my Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Not because I am any good at Italian (I’m not), or because I like the teacher (I don’t.) It’s because Ryan Halsey sits one row over and two rows up from where I sit, which is absolutely perfect for forty-five minutes of semi-shameless staring.
Eden, Joanna Nadin
After her cousin Bea is killed in a house fire, Evie returns to her childhood home of Eden, full of guilt for what might have been. She is not the only one seeking redemption. Bea’s boyfriend, Penn, arrives in Cornwall, desperate to atone for a terrible mistake. And as Penn and Evie’s feelings for each other intensify, Evie slowly unravels the dark truth behind Bea’s tragic death.
First lines: I still dream of Eden. Not the burnt, broken shell it is now, now even the sweating, stifling coffin it became that last summer, when it was shrouded in dust sheets, awaiting burial like a corpse. No, the Eden in my mind if the one from my childhood, when my entire world was contained within it’s cool, granite walls and high hedges, and my imagination played out on its velvet lawns and in the creeping dampness of the woods.
Brown girl dreaming, Jaqueline Woodson
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. (Goodreads)
First lines: I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital
a country caught
between Black and White