After the fire, Will Hill
The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade. Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire? (Publisher information)
First lines: I sprint across the yard, my eyes streaming, my heart pounding in my chest.
The noise of the gunfire is still deafening, and I hear – I actually hear – bullets whizzing past me, their low whines like the speeded-up buzz of insects, but I don’t slow down, and I don’t change course.
A jigsaw of fire and stars, Yaba Badoe
Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying refugees. Her people. Fourteen years on she’s a member of Mama Rose’s unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them: A bamboo flute. A golden band. A ripening mango which must not fall … if Sante is to tell their story and her own. (Publisher information)
First lines: There’s only one thing that makes any sense when I wake from my dream. I’m a stranger and shouldn’t be here. Should my luck run out, a black-booted someone could step on me and crush me, as if I’m worth less than an ant. This I know for a fact. And yet once or twice a week, the dream seizes me and shakes me about:
“Kill ’em! Kill ’em! Take their treasure!”
It only happens in the movies, Holly Bourne
Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…(Publisher information)
First lines: I wasn’t expecting candles.
They lit the whole cinema – tea lights, the stout white candles you get in churches, thin ones stuffed into candlesticks. My skin itched in their heat.
I blinked and shook my head. “What the hell?”
Facing the flame, Jackie French
There have been fires before,but not like this. In 1978, as the hot wind howls and the grass dries, all who live at Gibber’s Creek know their land can burn. But when you love your land, you fight for it. For Jed Kelly, an even more menacing danger looms: a man from her past determined to destroy her. Finding herself alone, trapped and desperate to save her unborn child, Jed’s only choice is to flee – into the flames. (Publisher summary)
Jed risked a terrified glance at the mirror. It showed a bride in a parchment-coloured dress made of vintage lace tablecloths, her make-up perfect, her hair held in place with half a can of hairspray. That couldn’t be her. It couldn’t!
Charlotte says, Alex Bell
Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night. Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes. (Publisher summary)
First lines: “Don’t be frightened yet,” the voice says. “I’ll tell you when it’s time to be frightened…”
I turn, looking over my shoulder, but there is nobody there and I am alone once again at Whiteladies – that house of confused spirits and cracked china dolls and slaughtered horses. From somewhere downstairs a grandfather clock counts down the six in deep, melancholy tools, and, like a magnetic force, my eyes are drawn with a terrible irresistibility to to the door at the end of the corridor.
The hanging girl, Eileen Cook
Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late. (Goodreads)
First lines: Destiny is like a boulder. Bulky and hard to move. It’s easier to leave it alone than to try to change it. But that never kept anyone from trying. Trust me: I’m a professional.
Reading people is a talent. I’ve always been a good observer, but as with any natural ability, if you want to be any good, you’ve got to work at it. When I talk to people, I size them up. I listen to what they say, and, more important, to what they don’t.
The hundred lies of Lizzie Lovett, Chelsea Sedotti
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world. (Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing that happened was Lizzie Lovett disappeared, and everyone was all “How can someone like Lizzie be missing?” and I was like, “Who cares?” A few days later, there was talk about Lizzie maybe being dead, and it was still kinda boring, but not totally boring, because I’d never known a dead person before. After that, I started to get fascinated by the whole situation, mostly because I noticed a bunch of weird stuff. Which was how I figured out Lizzie Lovett’s secret.
Rules of rain, Leah Scheier
Rain has taken care of Ethan all of their lives. Before she even knew what autism meant, she was her twin brother’s connection to the world around him. Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and Rain takes comfort in being the one who holds their family together. It’s nice to be needed–to be the center of someone’s world. If only her longtime crush, Liam, would notice her too…Then one night, her life is upended by a mistake she can’t undo. Suddenly Rain’s new romance begins to unravel along with her carefully constructed rules. Rain isn’t used to asking for help–and certainly not from Ethan. But the brother she’s always protected is the only one who can help her. And letting go of the past may be the only way for Rain to hold onto her relationships that matter most. (Publisher information)
First lines: There’s a gigantic hologram of a human colon sitting where the refrigerator once stood. I stare at it for a moment and lean my head back to appreciate the flickering image. With veins, with veins…it’s almost hypnotic, the tilting shift of images on the shiny board. I’m not surprised to find it there.