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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: exclusive academies

New Books

with characters that go missing:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Last Academy, Anne Applegate (320 pages) – Camden Fisher arrives at boarding school haunted by a falling-out with her best friend back home. But the manicured grounds of Lethe Academy are like nothing Cam has ever known. There are gorgeous, preppy boys wielding tennis rackets, and circles of girls with secrets to spare. Only … something is not quite right. One of Cam’s new friends mysteriously disappears, but the teachers don’t seem too concerned. Cam wakes up to strangers in her room, who then melt into the night. She is suddenly plagued by odd memories, and senses there might be something dark and terrible brewing. But what?

First lines: “You couldn’t pick a better night for a pool party: fire-red sunset, a breeze so hot it practically sparked as it floated across the lawn, chips and hot dogs and watermelon lined up and ready to eat. The whole thing was my best friend’s idea.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHold Your Breath, Caroline Green (244 pages) – Tara has the power to find missing things and people, but it’s only been a source of trouble for her so far and she’s relieved when her family move house so she can make a fresh start and try to forget about the odd images in her head. Making friends at her new school hasn’t been easy, especially with mean girls like Melodie Stone running the show. Then Melodie disappears. Tara’s not too sorry, but she starts to see strange images of a captive girl who she gradually realises must be Melodie. Tara tries but fails to ignore the pictures in her head and finally goes in search of Melodie, with the help of Melodie’s attractive half-brother. She finds herself trapped with her former enemy, and Tara and Melodie must work together to get free, with the help of Tara’s gift.

First lines: “The blackness began to dissolve. She tried to move her head but pain jack-hammered inside her skull and nausea gripped her stomach. Closing her eyes, she willed the sensations to pass. Minutes went by. Or was it longer?”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Beautiful and the Cursed, Page Morgan (352 pages) – After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris. In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures. And Grayson has gone missing. Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.

First lines: “The boy was late. Brigitte crossed the folds of her sable cape to shut out the creeping frost. It was still and quiet within the walled garden, the hollow sort of quiet that arrives just past midnight.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPicture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff (256 pages) – Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.

First lines: “The first Mila was a dog. A Bedlington terrier. It helps if you know these things. I’m not at all resentful at being named after a dog.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFreaks Like Us, Susan Vaught (240 pages) – When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his own impressions. But his deep knowledge that he would never hurt his friend, plus the faith of his parents and a few others in the town bring him to the point of solving the mystery.

First lines: “Some days life makes more sense than other days. The algebra problems in front of me might as well be Moby Dick or A Tale of Two Cities or A Separate Peace. I’ve had to plow through all three of those since I got to high school, and I didn’t like any of them. I’m told I don’t think like other people, and I’m pretty sure that’s true. Not that I could explain it, even if I tried, but I always try, so – here’s this.”

Some New eBooks

Stephanie has bought some new ebooks recently, including a couple of popular series and some intriguing plot-lines. 

Stravaganza: City of Masks, City of Stars, City of Flowers, by Mary Hoffman. We have the first three books in this very popular series as ebooks (you can also reserve the paper version of the soon-to-be-published latest, City of Swords). The official series website is here.

Gossip Girl series, created by Cecily von Ziegasar. We’ve recently acquired heaps of these (approximately 13), including the first book, It Had to be You (the prequel), and Don’t You Forget About Me (which we partly mention because that’s the name of the theme song of the excellent The Breakfast Club (outstanding teen movie from the 80s! ($4.00 for 1 week))).

The Académie, Susanne Dunlap. Eliza Monroe is the daughter of the soon-to-be fifth president of the United States (true story!). It is only fitting, then, that she attend an exclusive academy in Paris. She’s not too thrilled at the notion, until she discovers she will be attending with the daughter of Josephine (of Napoleon and Josephine fame), who is marvellously called Hortense de Beauharnais (true story) and the younger sister of Napoleon himself (Caroline). More intriguing: the two girls hate each other. Paris in the early 19th century: what a place to be!

The Pledge, Kimberly Derting. In the far future the world is divided strictly by language, and the language you speak is a matter of life and death. This world is complicated for Charlie, as she is gifted with the ability to understand all languages. When Charlie meets Max, who speaks a language she’s never heard before (but can understand, of course), she’s intrigued, but Max understands the danger Charlie is in: can he protect her as war threatens?

Note: you need Adobe Digital Editions to download ebooks. This step-by-step guide will tell you everything!

For more ebooks, visit our Overdrive homepage.

New Books!

Only a few new
books have come in this week I
am sorry to say


See You at Harry’s
, by Jo Knowles (310 pages) – Fern feels a bit rejected by her family, who all have their own things to deal with. Her father run Harry’s, a restaurant, and in addition to an older sister (sarcastic and self-involved), an older brother (coming to terms with being gay), and a mother who is never around, she also has a toddler brother who is always the centre of attention. Until tragedy strikes, sadly, and Fern feels responsible and desolate. Do things get better? Usually!

First line: ‘The very best day of my life, I threw up four times and had a fever of 103 degrees.

New Girl, by Paige Harbison (314 pages) – Cassie is newly arrived at the exclusive and hoity-toity Manderley Academy, and finds that her spot was recently vacated by Becca Normandy. Becca was perfect in all the ways that really matter in novels set in exclusive adademies, although in this case she has been missing since the end of last year. Cassie feels like an imposter and it isn’t helped when she falls for Max, Becca’s ex-boyfriend. Is Becca out there, waiting ..?

First line: ‘The panoramic view outside the windoes of the bus showed a world that wasn’t mine.

Tina’s Mouth : An Existential Comic Diary, by Keshni Kashya & illustrations by Mari Araki (242 pages) – This is a graphic novel, but with a lot of text, so it’s more like an illustrated book? Tina’s parents are from India and she is from California, where she goes to the Yarborough Academy in Southern California. She creates an ‘existential diary’ for her English class, in an attempt to fix her place in the world; this book represents that diary. Also a good intro to Satre.

First lines: ‘Dear Mr. Jean-Paul Sartre, I know that you are dead and old and also a philosopher. So, on an obvious levl, you and I do not have a lot in common.

Secrets of the Henna Girl, by Sufiya Ahmed (269 pages) – Zeba Khan is sixteen, and life is okay. She’s just finished school in the UK and is waiting for her exam results, and excited for college and uni. First she is spending the summer break in Pakistan with her family. There she learns – to her shock! – that is she is it to marry a stranger, to protect her father’s honour. Does she hold the secrets that will help her escape?

First lines: ‘The rain was beating hard against the window. It was the typical English rain of the summer – fast and furious as it attempted to wash away the dusty, dry heat of the unbearably hot days.

Messy : A Novel, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (359 pages) – This is a companion book to Spoiled, about Brooke Berlin who discovers her father is a rich and famous movie-star. Now, to help her career along, she decides to start up a blog full of Hollywood inside gossip. But she doesn’t have time to actually write anything, so she hires Max, a green-haired girl who loathes celebrities, to secretely do all the work for her.

First line: ‘“You were so good in that movie. Talking dogs are my favorite.” Max McCormack felt a snicker bubbling up, like a secret, and willed it to die.

New Books Again!

This is the rest of this week’s new books. A bit of a history theme this time, with a supernatural twist, and plenty of thrillers!

Fateful, Claudia Gray (328 pages) – it’s a supernatural romance on the Titanic! It’s 1912 and Tess has set sail for New York with the family she works for. On board she meets Alec, a handsome first class passenger. Their budding romance leads to danger for Tess though: there are werewolves, and they’re out to get him.

First sentence: It’s not too late to turn back, I tell myself.

Eternal, Gillian Shields (359 pages) – the companion novel to Immortal and Betrayal. Evie and Helen are distracted from the Mystic Way by personal tragedies, so Sarah must step up and keep them all together against imminent attack from the dark coven and Unconquered lords. Can she rely on the Mystic Way, or will she find help in other, unexpected, places?

First sentence: I am not like Evie.

Misfit, Jon Skovron (362 pages) – Jael is the daughter of a cynical former priest and a 5,000 year old demon. So, she’s not ordinary then. Things become even less ordinary when she receives a special gift on her sixteenth birthday. Now she’s got cool powers, but also demons who are after her family, not in a good way.

First sentence: Jael Thompson looks at her reflection in the bathroom mirror and frowns.

Want to go Private?, Sarah Darer Littman (330 pages) – Abby is about to start high school, and she should be more excited about it, but she’s more interested in building her friendship with Luke, a guy she’s met online. When Luke suggests they meet in person and Abby agrees and goes missing, her family and friends must figure out what’s been going on if they want to get her back.

First sentence: “How can you not be excited?”

Tunnel Vision, Susan Shaw (255 pages) – One evening, when Liza is on the way home with her mother they are attacked by a group of strange men. Liza’s mother is killed, but it transpires that Liza herself was actually the target. Liza and her father are put into witness protection, constantly on the move to escape her would-be killer.

First sentence: The laughing men weren’t leaving much room for anyone to get by, but what else was I supposed to do?

Queen of Hearts, Martha Brooks (211 pages) – Set in Canada during World War II. Marie Claire and her siblings are sent to a sanitorium when they contract tuberculosis. “a new strange land of TB exiles she must “chase the cure,” seek privacy where there is none, and witness the slow wasting decline of others. But in this moving novel about fighting a way back to normal life, it is the thing that sets back Marie Claire the most—the demise of her little brother—that also connects her with the person who will be instrumental in helping her recover.” (Amazon.com)

First sentence: On a cold evening in late spring, with the rain coming down hard around him, there’s Oncle Gérard standing outside our farmhouse, just like he’s never been away.

Hidden, Helen Frost (142 pages) – “When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra’s father steals a minivan. He doesn’t know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too. Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long…” (Amazon.com). This is a novel in verse – the author tells us that Darra’s poems also give clues about the story (read the author’s note at the back).

First sentence: I was a happy little girl wearing a pink dress, / sitting in our gold minivan, / dancing with my doll, Kamara.

And Then Things Fall Apart, Arlaina Tibensky (254 pages) – Keek’s summer is not turning out well. She’s been abandoned at her grandmother’s house, with nothing but a typewriter, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and the chickenpox for company. The perfect opportunity, then, to work out why her life’s turned pear-shaped, and attempt to right things.

First sentence: I once watched a collector kill a monarch butterfly on a nature show by putting it under a glass dome with a piece of cotton soaked in gasoline.

Sent, Margaret Peterson Haddix (313 pages) – The Missing Book 2. “Jonah and Katherine have barely adjusted to the discovery that they are actually the missing children of history when a time purist named JB sends them, along with Chip and Alex, hurtling back in time to 1483. JB promises that if they can fix history, they can all return to their present-day lives. Now, Chip and Alex have to reclaim their true identities – as the king and prince of England. But things get complicated when they discover that according to the records, Chip and Alex were murdered. How can Jonah and Katherine fix history if it means letting their friends die?” (Amazon.com).

Sister, Missing, Sophie McKenzie (250 pages) – set two years after Girl, Missing. Lauren is now sixteen, and her birth mother takes her and her two sisters on a holiday. When one of her sisters disappears in mysterious circumstances (similar to those of her own disappearance two years earlier), can Lauren figure out what’s going on and stop the nightmare from repeating?

First sentence: I woke up to sunshine pouring in through the bedroom window of the holiday cottage.

Most Wanted: September 2011

Here’s the top ten most reserved young adult items, as of now, the second week of September. They’re a melting pot of what’s hot in young adult fiction: spies, thrillers, dystopias, angels, aliens, action, romance, fantasy, exclusive academies, movie and tv-show adaptations. Enjoy!

1. People’s Republic, Robert Muchamore [up 5]
2. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
3. Passion, Lauren Kate [down 2]
4. Inheritance, Christopher Paolini [new]
5. The Power of Six, Pittacus Lore [up 5]
6. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [up 3]
7. Silence, Becca Fitzpatrick [new]
8. Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard [down 4]
9. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [no change]
10. Bloodlines, Richelle Mead [new]

More New Books

Here’s an interesting collection of fiction: werewolves, monsters, scary trees, space cowboys, debutantes, God as a teenage boy (imagine), and a couple of pretty fetching first sentences.

Low Red Moon, Ivy Devlin (244 pages) – a star-crossed supernatural love story. Avery Hood’s parents died when she was young, mysteriously. So when she falls for Ben, the new boy in town, only to discover he triggers a disturbing memory, she must find out what really happened. The cover says this is “part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance” which sounds fab.

First sentence: I was covered in blood when the police found me.

Black Hole Sun, David MacInnis Gill (340 pages) – a science fiction dystopian novel with space cowboys! Durango is a mercenary living on Mars who is hired by miners to protect their mine from the evil, mutant Draeu, but while doing his job Durango discovers the secret reason why the Draeu are so intent on attacking the mine. The author has a suggested playlist for his novel which you can see at largehearted boy here.

First sentence: Now come the mousies nosing out their hole, thinks Kuhru as he wipes fresh bone marrow from his snout.

fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

The Dead Boys, Royce Buckingham (201 pages) – a horror/mystery, especially horrific if you think trees are creepy. Teddy Mathews, new in town, is disturbed to find all the boys he befriends disappear mysteriously. He’s determined to find out what’s going on, but nobody will believe him when he says he thinks the freaky great tree outside his house has something to do with it. We believe you Teddy!

First sentence: In its early years, the sycamore tree stretched its branches up toward the light, reaching for the desert sun and its life-giving energy.

The Magnolia League, Katie Crouch (348 pages) – another mystery, this time around the intrigue of a southern debutante society. After her mother dies, Alexandria must move from the West Coast of the United States to Savannah, and start a new life with her grandmother. This life involves the Magnolia League, said debutante society, which Alexandria becomes involved with, discovering a sinister secret pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a hoodoo family.

First sentences: You know what I hate? Sweet tea.

The Miracle Stealer, Neil Connelly (230 pages) – Andi’s six year old brother Daniel is touted as a miracle worker: they say he can cure the sick and bring the dead back to life. People flock to town to see him, and when one of the pilgrims turns out to be some sort of dangerous stalker, Andi knows she must put an end to the madness.

First sentence: I needed to save Daniel.

The Ruby Notebook, Laura Resau (365 pages) – Zeeta and her English teacher mother travel around the globe together, each year moving to a different country. This year it’s Aix in France, which sounds ideal, but not so much when the love of your life – Wendell – doesn’t live there too. To complicate things, Zeeta starts receiving mystery notes from a secret admirer, and forms a strong connection with Jean-Claude, a street performer. When Wendell comes to visit Zeeta feels they are drifting apart, until a mystery forces them together again. But but: who is the secret admirer?

First sentences: It’s true. There’s something about the light here.

The Julian Game, Adele Griffin (200 pages) – Raye is the new girl at an exclusive academy, struggling to fit in. So when the opportunity arise for her to get involved in a game to help Ella get revenge on her ex Julian, Raye sees the chance to become accepted. But then she falls for Julian, and unleashes the enraged, nasty Ella, and things get a whole lot worse.

First sentence: “This is the craziest idea you ever had,” said Natalya.

The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt (242 pages) – Levi’s brother Boaz returns from a tour of duty withdrawn, not himself. Levi knows something is up, so he follows him on a walk from Boston to Washington, determined to find out what’s wrong, and discover the truth about his brother, and a little bit about himself too perhaps.

First sentence: I used to love my brother.

Teenage Waistland, Lynn Biederman & Lisa Pazer (307 pages) – Three obese teenagers tell the story of their involvement in a clinical trial for a new surgery. They must meet weekly over the course of a year, learning to live a healthy life, but also learning a devastating secret that will also alter their lives.

First sentence: Marcie Mandlebaum here: sixteen years old and sporting the collective girth of the Tenafly High cheerleading squad – this according to their captain, my twitorexic stepsister, Liselle.

Wicked Girls, Stephanie Hemphill (389 pages) – a novel in verse about the Salem witch trials in the 17th century. The novel explores the lives of three girls living in Salem who accuse members of the community of witchcraft after a series of unexplained illnesses.

First sentence: Silent, not even the twitter / of insects.

There Is No Dog, Meg Rosoff (243 pages) – Imagine God is a teenage boy (Bob). He is “lazy, careless, self-obsessed, sex-mad” says the cover. So, when Lucy prays to fall in love and Bob decides to answer her prayer personally, things could get really ugly.

First sentences: Oh glorious, most glorious glorious! And yet again glorious!

fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

The Curse of the Wendigo, Rick Yancey (424 pages) – sequel to The Monstrumologist. When Dr Warthrop’s mentor Dr von Helrung says he wants to prove the existence of the Wendigo, known as “He Who Devours All Mankind”, Will and Dr Warthrop find themselves in northern Canada in search of this terrible creature, and in the process unearth a truth “far more terrifying than even they could have ever imagined” (book cover) which, since their business is the study of monsters, must be pretty terrifying.

First sentence: The reader was a retired middle school English teacher whose mother had come to live at the facility in 2001.

New Books

This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

(Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’

Popular New Books!

Delirium, Lauren Oliver (441 pages) – It’s another Lauren book! says Lauren. What’s more dystopian than a world without love? Lena lives in a world where love is a disease (delirium), and without love life is predictable, orderly and safe. On your eighteenth birthday you get treatment to ensure you don’t become deliriously in love. But in the lead up to Lena’s eighteenth something happens…

First sentence: It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.

The Monstrumologist, Rick Yancey (454 pages) – “Monsters are real” says the back cover, and Will Henry is apprentice to a monstrumologist. When the body of a girl and a supposedly extinct headless monster show up, Will and the monstrumologist must race to get to the bottom of this mystery, and stop further deaths.

First sentence: The director of facilities was a small man with ruddy cheeks and dark, deep-set eyes, his prominent forehead framed by an explosion of cottony white hair, thinning as it marched toward the back of his head, cowlicks rising from the mass like waves moving toward the slightly pink island of his bald spot.

Prom and Prejudice, Elizabeth Eulberg (231 pages) – The inspiring Jane Austen! This one’s a reworking of Pride and Prejudice (as the title suggests), set in “the very prestigious Longbourn Academy”. Lizzie is a scholarship kid, her friend Jane is not. Jane is in love with Charles Bingley, which Lizzie is happy about. She’s less happy about Will Darcy, Charles’ snobbish friend… For Pride and Prejudice fans, but not purists who might get upset about revisionings.

First sentence: It s a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

Romeo & Juliet & Vampires, Claudia Gabel (via William Shakespeare, 231 pages) – includes an excerpt from the upcoming Little Vampire Women, another in the mashups genre. This time the Montagues want to suck the Capulets’ blurd. New meaning to “blood feud” and all that. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, worryingly, and you kind of know how it’s going to end. Differently from Twilight, that is.

First sentence of Chapter One (the prologue seemed to be all about Vlad the Impaler): Juliet sat on her bed and stared at her reflection in an ornate gilded mirror, which she held close to her face.

Far From You, Lisa Schroeder (355 pages) – another novel in verse form from the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me. After the death of her mother, Ali reluctantly goes on a road trip with her new stepmother and her baby. Trapped by a snowstorm, Ali must confront her sense of loss, as well as look to the heavens for rescue.

First verse: We’re alone / with only / the cold / and dark / to keep up / company.

Blessed, Cynthia Leitich Smith (454 pages) – continuing from Tantalize and Eternal, with characters from both, Blessed follows Quincie as she comes to terms with her vampireness, and restaurateur-ness, and also tries to get Kieren (werewolf) off murder charges while stopping Bradley Sanguini (also a vampire) in his evil tracks. In order to help with this overload of work she hires Zachary (angel) as a waiter, which is probably a good move: can he help save Quincie’s soul?

First sentence: Have you damned me? I wondered, staring over my shoulder at the lanky devil in dark formal-wear.

Firelight, Sophie Jordan (323 pages) – Dragons! Jacinda is a draki, a dragon shapeshifter, Will is a hunter of  draki, star-crossed lovers of the most dangerous kind. “Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide,” says the book cover, nicely put.

First sentence: Gazing out at the quiet lake, I know the risk is worth it.

Vesper, Jeff Sampson (288 pages) – Emily is discovering that she and her classmates are genetically engineered and have powers that come into effect at night. They’re also being hunted by a murderer.

First sentence: I was halfway out my bedroom window when my cell rang.

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner (259 pages) – Cass goes on the road trip she planned with her best friend Julia just before Julia was killed in a car crash, with a bicycle, and Julia’s ashes in a tupperware container. The adjectives on the back are good: poignant, life-affirming, tender, vibrant, plus there’s a “kookiest”.

First sentence: I spent the summer with the smells of rain and grass and sky, and the horizon stretching out for ten miles in front of me.