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Category: Sci Fi Page 2 of 15

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOtherearth, Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

After discovering terrifying information about Otherworld, the Company’s high-tech VR gaming experience, Simon and his friends are on the run, searching for Simon’s old roommate. He may just be the key to shutting the Company down, although if they don’t find him in time, it may be too late for not only them, but for all of humanity. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn another time, Caroline Leech

It’s 1942 and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort in the Women’s Timber Corps. As Maisie fells trees alongside the enigmatic John Lindsay, she can’t help but feel their friendship has the spark of something more to it. But it’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past – and the pain he’s been hiding. Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. As she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But, in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to fix what’s broken. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDistortion, Victor Dixen

Six girls, six boys: looking for glory and romance on Mars. They thought they were masters of their destiny.They are the twelve pioneers of the Genesis program.They thought they were taking part in the most extraordinary of missions.In fact, they are the victims of the cruelest of plots.Leonor was looking for glory – and love – on Mars.She thought she would be able to open her heart there.But what she has done is open up a Pandora’s box of her past… (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf, Tom Pollock

Peter Blankman is afraid of everything but must confront truly unimaginable terror when his mother is attacked. Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend. However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine. Armed only with his extraordinary analytical skills, Peter may just discover that his biggest weakness is his greatest strength. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDogchild, Kevin Brooks

Jeet was raised by a pack of wild dogs. Recaptured and ‘rehumanised’, Jeet now lives with the last of his people in an ancient walled town in the vast expanse of the Deathlands, besieged by a much larger enemy clan. They are preparing for the final battle and it’s Jeet’s task to record the events. But Jeet is struggling to come to terms with his half-human, half-dog identity. Can the impending conflict, and his relationship with another rehumanised dogchild, shed any light on what it takes to be a survivor? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis cruel design, Emily Suvada

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben. Desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity, Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns. When a new case of the Hydra virus is found, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert, could also hold the answers about Cat’s past. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis splintered silence, Kayla Olson

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, was killed by a deadly virus. Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this–struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food. When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. And as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality–that either the virus has mutated, or one of their own is a killer”. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPulp, Robin Talley

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself–and Marie–to a danger all too real. Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject: classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. The story of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsToxic, Lydia Kang

Hana isn’t supposed to exist. She’s grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simply gone–along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she’s certain her mother wouldn’t leave her there to die. And Hana isn’t ready to die yet. She’s never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn’s sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he’s not sure how to save them both. As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTiger’s dream, Colleen Houck

A tiger left behind. A goddess in need of an ally. Stranded in a time and place he never wished for, Kishan Rajaram struggles to forget the girl he loves and the brother who stole her away as he fulfills his divine role-that of assisting the beautiful, yet extremely irritable, goddess Durga. When the wily shaman Phet appears and tells Kishan that Kelsey needs him, he jumps at the chance to see her again, but in saving Kelsey, he discovers that the curse he thought was over, is just beginning. As time unravels around him, Kishan realizes that the fates of all those he holds dear, lie in hands. With the power of the goddess hanging in the balance, Kishan must sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to defend. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all. Tiger’s Dream is the conclusion to the epic Tiger’s Curse fantasy romance series that left you breathless. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis lie will kill you, Chelsea Pitcher

One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late. Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago. Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free? Or will their lies destroy them all? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPacifica, Kirsten Simmons

Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt. A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream. The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou may now kill the bride, R.L Stine

Two Fear family weddings, decades apart. Each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears lives on. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways, and allows dark history to repeat itself. In 1923, Ruth-Ann is planning to marry Peter–until Rebecca stepped in. And the two sisters plunged off the cliff on the day of the wedding. In the present, Marissa disappears on the day of her wedding to Doug. As her sister Harmony searches for her, will saving her mean finding a way to stop a disaster almost one-hundred-years old? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe darkest star, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher knows firsthand the devastating consequences of humanity’s war with the aliens. When she’s caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head… (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe 57 bus, Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe goose road, Rowena House

Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiller T, Robert Muchamore

Harry and Charlie are teenagers whose lives are shaped by a society that’s shifting around them. He is a lonely Brit in his first term at a Las Vegas high school. She is an unlikely friend, who gets accused of mixing a batch of explosives that blew up a football player. The two of them are drawn together at a time when gene editing technology is starting to explode. With a lab in the garage anyone can beat cancer, enhance their brain to pass exams, or tweak a few genes for that year-round tan and perfect beach body. But in the wrong hands, cheap gene editing is the most deadly weapon in history. Killer T is a synthetic virus with a ninety per-cent mortality rate, and the terrorists who created it want a billion dollars before they’ll release a vaccine. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpillzone: the broken vow, Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Strange manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. Addison got close enough to the Spill Zone to touch it, literally. She survived the encounter, but came back changed. It turns out she’s not alone. North Korea has its own Spill Zone, and a young man named Don Jae is the only one who made it out alive. Alive, but changed. Now Addison, Don Jae, and, curiously, a rag doll named Vespertine, share an unholy bond and uncanny powers. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleepless, Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Luca

Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia is guarded by the Sleepless Knight Cyrenic but becomes endangered when an assassin threatens her life in the new king’s reign. As Poppy and Cyrenic try to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangerous waters of life at court and of their growing feelings for one another. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSadie, Courtney Summers

Sadie’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated Colorado town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. When Mattie is found dead, and the police investigation is botched, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice. She hits the road following a few meager clues. When West McCray, a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America, hears Sadie’s story, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTwo dark reigns, Kendare Blake

Katharine sits on the throne of Fennbirn. Dead bodies have washed up on the shore, but the real Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding. There are murmurs of dissent among the people of Fennbirn. The crown has been won, but unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The battle to be queen is far from done. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEden conquered, Joelle Charbonneau

The Trials of Virtuous Succession have ended. Prince Andreus is king–and Princess Carys is dead. But even as he’s haunted by what he did to win the throne, Andreus discovers that his dream of ruling only brings new problems. The people love his twin even more in death than they did when she was alive. The Elders treat him as a figurehead. And worst of all, the winds of Eden are faltering. But despite what everyone believes, Carys is alive. Exiled to the wilderness, Carys struggles to control the powers that have broken free inside her. And as she grows stronger, so does her conviction that she must return to the Palace of Winds, face her twin and root out the treachery that began long before the first Trials started. The Kingdom of Eden is growing darker with each passing day. Brother and sister, former foes, must decide whether some betrayals cut too deep to be forgiven–and whether one will wear the crown or both will lose everything. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRuin of stars, Linsey Miller

As one of the Queen’s elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen and that the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father. But there’s something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can’t be forgotten. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t stop thinking about tomorrow, Siobhan Curham

Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie… As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe 48, Donna Hosie

Twins Charlie and Alex Douglas are the newest time travelers recruited to the Forty-Eight, a clandestine military group in charge of manipulating history. The brothers are tasked with preventing Henry VIII from marrying Jane Seymour and arrive in 1536 feeling confident, but the Tudor court is not all banquets and merriment: it is a deep well of treachery, torture, lust, intrigue, and suspicion. That makes it especially dangerous for young people who refuse to “know their place”–young women who might, say, want to marry for love instead of status, or young men who would feel free to love each other, if it weren’t forbidden. Told in alternating perspectives among Charlie, Alex, and sixteen-year-old Lady Margaret, a ladies’ maid to Queen Anne Boleyn, The 48 captures the sights, smells, sounds, and hazards of an unhinged Henry VIII’s court from the viewpoint of one person who lived that history–and two teens who have been sent to turn it upside down. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe buried ark, James Bradley

Callie risked everything to get her little sister Gracie to the safety of the Zone. But Matt, the boy she loves, has been killed by Quarantine and Gracie has been absorbed into the Change. Now Callie must learn to survive in the alien landscape of the Zone, a place where the Change is everywhere, and nothing is what it seems. That is, until she stumbles on a secret from her past that may hold the key to defeating the Change. Hunted and alone, she finds refuge in the most unexpected of places. Only to find she is in more danger than ever. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe second life of Ava Rivers, Faith Gardner

Before was hot Junes and ice cream trucks, dancing in sprinklers, loud Christmas mornings and pancakes on Saturdays. The after is everything else: police officers, investigators, tips, theories, leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera’s Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities. Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and her family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital. Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home. Ava’s return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava’s estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?
(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsProject Prometheus : an Assassin Fall novel, Aden Polydoros

The Academy stole everything from Hades, their perfect assassin. Angry and leaving bodies in his wake, he finds two other ex-assassins doing the exact same thing.Tyler and Shannon once killed for The Academy and its now-defunct Project Pandora. Now they’re tracking and hunting down its scientists. So why is The Academy only after Hades? Shannon wants to flee and never look back. She knows that can’t happen, though, not with The Academy hot on their trail. Shannon will do whatever it takes to protect Tyler, even if it means teaming up with a former rival. While Shannon seeks answers to her past, Tyler wants to learn the truth about the mysterious white room, which no one has ever seen, except him. As for Hades? He simply wants revenge.They all seek answers, even if it means returning to the organization where it all started. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThat’s not what happened, Kody Keplinger

In the three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims, Sarah McHale, that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith–but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows what happened, and she has a choice: stay silent and let people believe in Sarah’s martyrdom, or tell the truth. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMirage, Somaiya Daud

In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty–and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAre we all lemmings and snowflakes? Holly Bourne

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for her new friends, who are all dealing with their own battles. But as Olive settles in, she starts to wonder – maybe it’s this messed up world that needs fixing, and not them. And so she comes up with a plan. Because together, snowflakes can form avalanches . . . A trailblazing and painfully honest novel about mental health, friendship and making this crazy world a kinder place.(Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEve of man, Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

They had predicted the end of the world would be epic – a nuclear war, a plague, an asteroid. But it came with a whisper, not a bang. For over fifty years, no girls have been born – only boys. The youngest and last generation of women alive are now in their fifties. Not only are their looks fading, but these greying women are humanity’s only hope for survival. Until there is sudden hope- a girl is born. And in that moment, she instantly becomes the most important person in history. She is their saviour. Her name is Eve. (Publisher summary)

First lines: On the first day no one really noticed. Perhaps there was a chuckle among the midwives at the sight of all of those babies wrapped in blue blankets, not a pink one in sight. They wouldn’t have known that this day of blue was only the beginning.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMercy point, Anna Snoekstra

Emma knows that her parents are hiding a secret, and she’s sure she knows what it is: she’s adopted. Thanks to an online group of similarly minded teens, she’s gotten used to the idea. They chat all day and into the night, and Emma knows that when she meets the other members she’ll have a new family; a place where she truly belongs. When they finally meet, they are all horrified to discover the people they’ve been sharing their souls with are the people they hate. They decide to never speak again. But it’s tough to ignore each other when they’re determined to discover what their parents are hiding – something they soon find is much more sinister than just adoption. It is a secret that goes to the very heart of the town itself. (Publisher summary)

First lines: They are all liars. He watches them from the shadows as they huddle together, arms folded against the cold. He hates them.
“How long do you think they’ll be?” one of them asks, voice angry. “I’m not waiting here all night.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe boyfriend bracket, Kate Evangelista

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of–starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket. Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have? (Publisher summary)

First lines: Big brothers suck, Stella thought as she pouted, scowled, and crossed her arms all throughout the ceremony. Not even the California sun and the scent of fresh-cut grass made a difference to her current mood. She should have been ecstatic that Cameron James Patterson, spawn of Satan sent to make her life a living hell, was graduating high school that day. Instead the seat reserved for her boyfriend of officially one week remained empty.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe life and death parade, Eliza Wass

One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead. She sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate, but finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade– a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic– and Kitty’s late mother. When they locate the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The Start of Summer party was a fairy-lit affair in the back garden of a historic estate. They had a pony ride for the kids, a lighted shooting range for the teens, and a bar for the adults – so they covered all the bases of food, old-fashioned country living.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCopycat, Hannah Jayne

Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, she’s thrilled when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, giving her inside information others would kill for. Addison’s always dreamed of what it would be like if the books were real…But then she finds the most popular girl in school dead. Murdered. And realizes that life imitating fiction is more dangerous that she could have imagined. As other terrifying events from the books start happening around her, Addison has to figure out how to write her own ending–and survive the story. (Publisher summary)

First lines: There was something inordinately creepy about being at school after dark. The place was deserted – the benches and picnic tables in the quad looked ominous and foreboding under the flickering yellow lights.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourt of shadows, Madeleine Roux

After the frightful events of last autumn, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton has settled into her role as a maid at Coldthistle House, but she has not settled into what that means for her humanity. As Louisa struggles to figure out whether she is worthy of redemption, the devilish Mr. Morningside plans a fete- one that will bring new guests to Coldthistle House. From wicked humans to Upworlders, angelic beings who look down upon Mr. Morningside’s monstrous staff, all are armed with their own brand of self-righteous justice. Even a man claiming to be Louisa’s father has a role to play, though what his true motive is, Louisa cannot tell. The conflicts will eventually come to a head on the grounds of Coldthistle House-and the stakes include Louisa’s very soul. (Publisher summary)

First lines: They emerged from the tree like worms from the earth. More shadow than mass, they slithered out from between the cracks in the trunk before making their way to the clearing.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSummer of salt, Katrina Leno

No one on the island of By-the-Sea would call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you need the odd bit of help, such as a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight, they are the ones to ask. Georgina Fernweh waits for the tingle of magic in her fingers– magic that has already touched her twin sister, Mary. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of her last summer on the island, Georgina fears her gift will never come. She meets and falls in love with Prue Lowry, a visitor to the island. When a three-hundred-year-old bird, Annabella is found violently murdered, suddenly the island doesn’t seem so magical. Georgina turns to the Ouija board to discover the dark secrets of Annabella’s death. (Publisher summary)

First lines: On the island By-the-Sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic. The first was obvious. It came crashing ashore in the blue waves; it sat heavy and thick in our hair and out clothes; it stained our bedsheets and made our pillows damp. The second – the scent of magic – was harder to pin down.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNot the girls you’re looking for, Aminah Mae Safi

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if –especially if–you love them. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Lulu swatted her way through the unfamiliar coat closet. After tearing down several of what felt like rather expensive fur coats and a couple of potentially cashmere jackets off their hooks, she managed to hit her head against a dangling light switch chain.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsClean, Juno Dawson

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all…(Publisher summary)

First lines: Face-down on leather. New car smell. Pine fresh.
I can’t move.
I’m being kidnapped.
But I can’t move.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLittle do we know, Tamara Ireland Stone

Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken since the fight where they said things they couldn’t take back. Emory is trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Hannah is dealing with her family’s financial problems, turning to unexpected people for answers while she questions her faith. Then Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house– and a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately to light. In alternating chapters, they tell the story of their relationship with help from the boy caught somewhere in the middle. (Publisher summary)

First lines: There were thirty-six steps between Emory’s bedroom window and mine.
The first time we counted, we were six years old (forty-two steps). The second time, we were twelve (thirty-nine). The last time, we were fifteen.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStarry eyes, Jenn Bennett

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong? With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely. And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? (Publisher summary)

First lines: Spontaneity is overrated. Movies and television shows would like us to believe that life is better for partygoers who dare to jump into pools with their clothes on. But behind the scenes, it’s all carefully scripted. The water is the right temperature. Lighting and angels are carefully considered. Dialogue is memorized. And that’s why it looks so appealing – because someone planned it all.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTradition, Brendan Kiely

Fullbrook Academy is an elite, historic prep school– where some traditions are profoundly dangerous. Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, get into the right college, and leave Fullbrook’s old-boy social codes behind. Jamie Baxter’s hockey scholarship gives him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches. At a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn’t be higher. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I’m fighting for breath and all I can do is look up and see the white flame of moonlight outlining each branch, every leaf. I’m in the dirt, again, shoulder against the tree, the shock of the air so cold it seizes my bones.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe exact opposite of okay, Laura Steven

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has. (Publisher information)

First lines: Look, you probably bought this book because you read the blurb about how I’m an impoverished orphan and also at the heart of a national slut-shaming scandal, and you though, Oh great, this is just the kind of heart-wrenching tale I need to feel better about my own life, but seriously, you have to relax.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLifel1k3, Jay Kristoff

On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. 17-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble, but her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel – called a “Lifelike” because they resemble humans, will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie. (Publisher summary)

First lines: They kill my father first.
Shiny boots ring on the stairs as they march into our cell, four of them all in a pretty row. Blank faces and perfect skin, matte gray pistols in red, red hands. A beautiful man with golden hair says they’re here to execute us. No explanations. No apologies.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe window, Amelia Brunskill

Anna is outgoing and athletic, the opposite of her twin sister Jess. The same on the outside, so completely different inside– yet they tell each other everything. Or so Jess thought. After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess questions where Anna was going, who she was meeting. Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I was inspecting my socks when they called my name. It was first-period gym class, and I’d just realised that my socks were entirely wrong. They were long and pulled up straight to midcalf, while those of every other girl in the room, were short, barely visible above their sneakers. There were obviously unwritten sock protocols.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSky in the deep, Adrienne Young

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan, but when faced with her brother’s betrayal, and driven by a growing love for her brother’s friend Fiske, she attempts to unite the two clans. (Publisher information)

First lines: “They’re coming.”
I looked down the row of Aska hunched against each other, ducking behind the muddy hill. The fog sat on the field like a veil, but we could hear it. Yhe blades of swords and axes brushing against armour vests. Quick footsteps in sucking mud. My heart beat almost in rhythm with the sounds, pulling one breath and in and letting it touch before I let it go.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOrphan monster spy, Matt Killeen

Germany, 1939. After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see her, along with every other Jew, dead. Then she meets a mysterious man who needs Sarah to pull off a spy mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of Nazi top brass, befriend the girl whose father is a high-ranking scientist, and find the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat classmates, and soon she’s embroiled in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined–and fighting to hold onto her true self. (Publisher information)

First lines: Finally, the car came to a stop. With difficulty, Sarah opened her eyes, blinked to clear her vision, and looked up from her hiding place in the footwell. Her mother was slumped in the driver’s seat, her head against the top of the steering wheel.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLady Helen and the dark days pact, Alison Goodman

Summer, 1812. After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen is training to be a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing and take up the weapons of a warrior, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle. Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection. When Mr Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, no one is prepared for the ordinary evil he brings in his wake. He has a secret task for Helen and Mr Hammond, and the authority of the Prince Regent. They have no choice but to do as he orders, knowing that the mission will betray everyone around them and possibly bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation. (Publisher information).

First lines: At Lord Carlston’s bidding, Lady Helen Wrexhall studied the gentleman walking rapidly towards them up the rise of Brighton’s Marine Parade. Even at such a distance she could see that he was a thin, bitter-faced man in a sober blue coat, rather badly cut across his stooped shoulders, and an unfashionable tricorn hat drawn low over his brow.

May the fourth…(You might like edition)

It’s the most celebrated day in the Star Wars calendar! Well, apart from the day that a new movie comes out, of course. We have an amazing bunch of Star Wars comics and books in the YA collection – but we’ve got plenty in our other collections as well – enough to help any geek’s Star Wars fix. If you’re looking for the movies and tv series, they’re easy enough to find in our catalogue – this post is for all those other Star Wars works that you may not know about.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSo, starting with the YA collection: Claudia Gray, a rising star (hah) in the YA collection, has written an amazing novel about Princess Leia’s early life. Big Leia fan? We also have a couple of graphic novels about her. Reading these always makes me sad – Carrie Fisher is a great loss. It’s important to note that she was much, much more than that: she was open about her troubled life, and an extremely funny writer. I recommend The Princess Diarist – her own diaries written while she was filming Star Wars.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn the Dark side of the Force, I really enjoy the Darth Vader comics. There’s also a series that focuses on the rise of the Empire after the Clone Wars. I really enjoy these – the great thing about Star Wars is that the villains are often as compelling as the heroes. Speaking of, we also have a Captain Phasma comic.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThere’s a cute comics collection of the unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe: the droids. The graphic novel we have is a fun, offbeat look at what C3PO and R2D2 got up to between the movies. I’m also pretty fond of the comic about Lando Calrissian, everyone’s favourite rogue. (Shhh, don’t tell Han!) We also have a fun book on the greater universe of Star Wars: aptly called “The illustrated Star Wars universe.” This consists of various characters discussing places in the Star Wars Universe – it’s pretty hilarious, although it was written pre-sequels, so some of the information might not be cannon.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnd what about the movies themselves? We’ve got some great non-fiction discussing what went into the various movies. My top pick is The making of Star Wars : the definitive story behind the original film. It’s pretty much what you see in the title. There are others in the same series dealing with the prequel and original films. Then there’s a couple of gorgeous couple of books on the costumes of the movie series: Dressing a Galaxy and Star Wars costumes: the original trilogy. Sadly we have to wait for the costume guides for the sequels.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThen, finally, my favourite Star Wars spinoff books: the William Shakespeare editions. By that I mean the Star Wars films, written as they might have been written by William Shakespeare. Best enjoyed as a group in a dramatic reading. Start out with Star Wars : verily, a new hope.

I think you can guess what my sign off will be…

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDread nation, Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Now laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. But it’s not a life Jane wants. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy… and the restless dead are the least of her problems. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me. I guess it should have been obvious to everyone right then that I wasn’t going to have a normal life.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fates divide, Veronica Roth

The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth were spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates are inescapable. Akos is in love with Cyra in spite of his fate. He knows he will die in service to Cyra’s family. When Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek– a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead– reclaims the Shotet throne, he ignites a barbaric war. Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost– and in the process they discover an unexpected fate. (Publisher summary)

First lines: “Why so afraid?” we ask ourself.
“She is coming to kill us,” we reply.
We were once alarmed by this feeling of being in two bodies since the shift occurred, since both our currentgifts dissolved into one.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe heart forger, Rin Chupeco

No one know death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life … and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her–and took the life of her one true love. But there are those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die … War is brewing among the kings, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe. (Publisher summary)

First lines: She wore the corpses for show. They trailed behind her, grotesque fabrics of writhing flesh and bones, spreading across the plain for miles around us. Those bereft of legs and feet used hands and elbows; those lacking jaws and tongues moaned from the hollows of their throats. Those onlookers who drew close grasped at the train of her gown until I was no longer certain where her dress ended and they began.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStormcaster, Cinda Williams Chima

Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move wind, waves, and weather, but his magical abilities can’t protect him forever from the brutal Empress Celestine. As Celestine’s relentless bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom that an invasion is imminent. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall, and his last sanctuary will be destroyed. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose. Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship, sailing east. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled stronghold. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Evan of Tarvos stood at the stern rail, his eyes fixed on the ship had been following them for the better part of a day. The sleek three-master stayed just at the horizon, neither approaching nor losing ground. Strange. Most ships fled in a hurry when they spotted Captain Latham Strangward’s stormlord standard.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMisfit, Charli Howard (non-fiction)

So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do. Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal – but for some reason, she couldn’t quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it – and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn’t quite as glamorous as she’d hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough. When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she’d had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I am not normal.
From the ages of four to six, I though I was a dog. A German shepherd to be precise, though I could also be a Dalmatian, depending on my mood. The dogs I grew up with were spoiled and loved, and played around all day, so that’s what I decided I wanted to become.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAs she fades, Abbi Glines

On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken. Slate Allen, a college friend of Vales brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she cant deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship. Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved fairy tales. And I’ve believed in true love. It was easy for me, though, because I feel in love at six years old. Not many people find love so young. Crawford and I believed we were special. That fate shined on us and gave us each other early so we’d have a lifetime together. He was my very own Prince Charming.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDefy the worlds, Claudia Gray

Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. When a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi is the only soldier to have ever left the planet. It’s up to her to save its people — if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap. On the run to avoid his creator, Burton Mansfield, Abel hears that Noemi has been captured — by Mansfield. Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Noemi Vidal walks through the two long lines of starfighters in the hangar, helmet under one arm, head held high. She doesn’t wave to her friends like she always used to – until six months ago. Now no one would wave back.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe continent, Keira Drake

For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire–a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a talented apprentice cartographer and a descendant of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land. But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined–and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home–but first, she must survive. (Publisher summary)

First lines: This must be the most magnificent party in the history of the Spire.
I’ve never felt quite like this before; my mind is awhirl, my senses dazzled, and there’s a bounding joy spiraling up within me. I wonder where it’s coming from, this feeling of inexhaustible delight?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI have lost my way, Gayle Forman

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in helpƯing the others out of theirs. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I have lost my way.
Freya stares at the words she just typed into her phone.
I have lost my way. Where did that come from?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite night, Ellie Marney

In Bo Mitchell’s country town, a ‘White Night’ light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden? As Bo is drawn away from his friends and towards Rory, he gradually comes to believe that Eden may not be utopia after all, and that their group leader’s goal to go off the grid may be more permanent – and more dangerous – than anyone could have predicted. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Three things are all over my feed on the first day of school: the skate park’s being shut down, Mr Showalter is losing his nut, and the new girl is a feral skank. Teo saw Mr. S talking to himself at the I.G.A. Lozzie’s avatar is a dancing tulip.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSal, Mick Kitson

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs, and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the ‘SAS Survival Handbook’ and watched loads of YouTube videos. And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits, and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her. Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, ‘Sal’ is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Peppa said “Cold” and then she went quiet for a but. And then she said “Cold Sal. I’m cold.” Her voice was low and quiet and whispery. Not like normal. I started to worry she had hypothermia. I saw a thing about how it makes you go all slow and quiet.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNice try, Jane Sinner, Lianne Oelke

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out. Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange , a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother , but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight. As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world–or at least viewers of substandard TV–that she has what it takes to win.(Publisher summary)

First lines: I’m not a particularly good daughter, but I sat through a month of therapy for my parents’ sake. I’d like to think they got more out of it than I sis. Couldn’t have been too hard. Any system that requires the patient’s family to pay someone else to care about her is fundamentally flawed. But I digress. If my decision to stop attending therapy means James Fowler High School no longer welcomes me as a student, I guess that’s on me.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLeah on the offbeat, Becky Alberti

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat–but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends–not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting–especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

First lines: I don’t mean to be dramatic, but God save me from Morgan picking our set list. That girl is a suburban dad’s midlife crisis in a high school senior’s body.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVengeance Road, Erin Bowman

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit , the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. (Publisher summary)

First lines: It weren’t no secret Pa owned the best plot of land ‘long Granite Creek, and I reckon that’s why they killed him. I was down at the water, yanking a haul ‘cus the pump had gone and stuck dry again, when I saw the smoke.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDawn raid, Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.(Publisher summary)

First lines: Dear Diary,
I can’t believe the first McDonald’s in the WHOLE country is here – in Porirua! – at the shopping centre in Cobham Court. They had all sorts of problems with the date for the official opening though. Dad said it was because of ‘red tape’ and had to do with them putting in the wrong benches or something. So it just had its opening ceremony last Saturday, and Mum said when she drove past, there were people lined up out the door and down the footpath!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe wicked deep, Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.(Publisher summary)

First lines: Three sisters arrived in Sparrow, Oregon, in 1822 aboard a fur trading ship named the Lady Astor, which sank later that year in the harbour just beyond the cape. They were among the first to settle in the newly founded costal town, and they strode onto the new land like thin-legged birds with wavy caramel hair and pastel skin. They were beautiful – too beautiful, the townspeople would later say.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHonor among thieves, Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell. Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan–a race of sentient alien ships–to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers. Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.(Publisher summary)

First lines: I feel the stars,
Energy pulses against my skin, murmuring secrets about this small galaxy, about obits and alignments and asteroids streaming in space. Impulse makes me want to dive and cruise those currents, but I control these urges.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIda, Alison Evans

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?Ida struggles more than other twentysomethings to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths. One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back? (Publisher summary)

First lines: My shift is finally over and I want to scream. The thing about hospitality is that you always have to be switched on, always nice, welcoming, smiling. Even when someone’s yelling at you because their three-quarter soy latte is too cold.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sacrifice box, Martin Stewart

Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice… Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings. Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact. As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town’s history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Sep knelt beside the box. The forest was tight with heat, and sweat prickled on his skin. The clearing around him was a blanket of root and stone, caged by silent trees and speckled by dark, leaf-spinning pools that hid the wriggling things of the soil.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnveiling Venus, Sophia Bennett

In the gossip-fuelled world of Victorian London, Persephone Lavelle is the name on everyone’s lips. As Mary’s secret identity is exposed and rumours fly, she flees the scandal by escaping to Venice. Lost among the twisting alleyways and shadowy canals she encounters a mysterious, masked young man. He offers her the world, but at what price? (Publisher summary)

First lines: My dearest Persephone,
Oh, how you must curse me, and how sorry I am! I haven’t written to you in an age. All I can say is I have been so busy! And I have much news. More of which in a minute…

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe diminished, Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone. The singleborn A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him. The diminished. When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace. As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures–one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The first queen built the Alskad Empire from scorched earth and ash after the goddess Dzallie split the moon and rained fire from the sky. The god Hamil called the sea to wash away most of what was left of humanity, but the people who managed to survive gathered in the wild, unforgiving north, calling on Rayleane the Builder to help them shape an idyllic community that would be home and have to descendants of the cataclysm.

New Books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSightwitch, Susan Dennard

Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend. While there, she encounters a young Nubrevnan named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he wound up inside the mountain. From the New York Times bestselling author of Windwitch Susan Dennard, an illustrated prequel novella set in the Witchlands setting up the forthcoming hotly anticipated Bloodwitch. (Publisher information)

First lines: You don’t remember me, do you, Kullen?
I’m familiar though. When I walked into the Cleaved Man, you squinted your eyes as if there was something in my face you knew. Something that made you rub that scar on your chest. Don’t you wonder how you got that scar?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t cosplay with my heart, Cecil Castellucci

Edan Kupferman’s life is coming apart: her father is being “sequestered” because the company he works for in Hollywood is in legal trouble, her best friend is in Japan for the summer, and the boy she has a crush on is just plain confusing, so she escapes into the world of comics, and her favorite character, Gargantua–but when Kirk, a boy from her high school, gets her into the sold out ComicCon it starts to look like she might, with a little help, be able to take control of her life after all. (Publisher summary)

First lines: it’s no wonder when I see the cheap Gargantua mask I picked up on Free Comic Book Day this past spring on my desk, I put it on and leave it on when I am called down to dinner. Gargantua, my favorite character from Team Tomorrow, is ten feet tall and so is the size of my being pissed off at everything right now.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe price guide to the occult, Leslye Walton

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred-some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide ‘s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness. (Publisher summary)

First lines: They have been called many things.
Years ago, when their nomadic ways led them north to where the mountains were covered in ice and the winter nights were long, the villagers called to them , “Häxa, Häxa!” and left gifts of lutfisk and thick elk skins.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fandom, Anna Day

Violet’s in her element – cosplay at the ready, she can’t wait to feel part of her favourite fandom: The Gallow’s Dance, a mega-story and movie franchise. But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the The Gallows Dance for real – and in the first five minutes, they’ve caused the death of the heroine. It’s up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own…(Publisher summary)

First lines: I begin to stand, realize my maxi skirt has stuck to my thighs, and subtly unpeel the cotton from my skin.
“Go for it,” Katie whispers.
I don’t reply. Why did I volunteer to do this stupid presentation?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhat goes up, Katie Kennedy

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Interworlds Agency. They’re not exactly sure what the top-secret program entails, but they know they want in. Rosa has her brilliant parents’ legacies to live up to, and Eddie has nowhere else to go–he’s certainly not going to stick around and wait for his violent father to get out of jail. Even if they are selected, they have no idea what lies in store. But first they have to make it through round after round of crazy-competitive testing. And then something happens that even NASA’s scientists couldn’t predict…(Publisher summary)

First lines: NASA stored the future in a hangar in Iowa. Rosa Hayashi’s future, anyway. The tryouts for a position with the Interworlds Agency would take two days, but they started now. Rosa stepped into the hangar and didn’t wait for her eyes to adjust. She found a seat and bounced a pencil on her leg while waited for the future to catch up with her.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA very, very bad thing, Jeffery Self

Marley is one of the only gay kids in his North Carolina town — and he feels like he might as well be one of the only gay kids in the universe. Or at least that’s true until Christopher shows up in the halls of his high school. Christopher’s great to talk to, great to look at, great to be with-and he seems to feel the same way about Marley. It’s almost too good to be true. There’s a hitch (of course): Christopher’s parents are super conservative, and super not okay with him being gay. That doesn’t stop Marley and Christopher from falling in love. Marley is determined to be with Christopher through ups and downs-until an insurmountable down is thrown their way. Suddenly, Marley finds himself lying in order to get to the truth-and seeing the suffocating consequences this can bring

First lines: I am not a bad person. I’m not a great person, either, but not bad. No matter what I did.
Stupid? Yes.
Desperate? Yes.
Completely and totally lost beyond all belief? Abso-damn-lutely.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe extinction trials, S.M. Wilson

Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. (Publisher summary)

First lines: She couldn’t see him. She didn’t even know he was there. Lincoln pressed herself against the dark red walls of the cave. Maybe it was the artificial light that made her look so unwell. They’d been rushed out of their old home and moved into this one so quickly that he couldn’t even remember when he’d last seen his sister in natural daylight.

You might like…alternate histories

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlternate histories can be best be described as “what if but ” There’s often crossover into fantasy or they involve some fantastic elements. This is particularly true of my top picks for alternate history fiction: Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy (what if the Great War but one side had giant monsters and the other side had enormous machines) and Brian Falkner’s Battlesaurus series (what if the Napoleonic Wars but the French ride dinosaurs).

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a more serious note, I think Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series is the pre-eminent title in this genre. It falls outside my formula but it’s a YA classic and for good reason. Noughts and Crosses deals with a reversal: People of colour occupy a place of privilege, whilst the others are oppressed. It is much more complex than that; it deals with love, family ties and the ethics of oppression and resistance. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe big lie by Julie Mayhew is a newer book with a common trope in alternate history fiction; what if the Nazis won World War Two? This book examines this from the perspective of the daughter of an English Nazi officer. To describe this book as chilling is a massive understatement; it’s a startling vision of a world made unfamiliar right down to the smallest detail. A massive political change through the eyes of one person.

Now for other items in our collection. It’s interesting to note that is a popular theme in non-fiction as it is in fiction. There are plenty of historians interested in the possibilities. More what if? : eminent historians imagine what might have been (edited by Robert Cowley) is my top pick.

In adult fiction, we have The mammoth book of alternate histories, edited by Ian Watson and Ian Whates. It’s a collection of short stories, so it’s not a heavy tome with lots of lore. On the more fantastic side of things, we have Anno Dracula – what if Dracula was real and turned Queen Victoria into a vampire.

It’s interesting when looking at alternate history novels; especially in regards to who writes them and what gets told and what differences are emphasised. Something to keep in mind while investigating the genre.

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