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

Tag: Gay

New Books

The lads edition:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStrike three, you’re dead, Josh Berk (250 pages) – There are red herrings galore in this baseball-filled middle-grade murder mystery. Lenny Norbeck and his friends, Mike and Other Mike, may be dorks, but they don’t back away from the curveballs their first big case throws at them.

First lines: “No one gets killed in the suburbs. I say this out loud, more to myself than anyone else. I keep saying it. Over and over, like the words might form a shield to protect me.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHeroic, Phil Earle (290 pages) – This book was inspired by S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders which is one of my all time favourite’s and it’s one of the few YA books I’ve seen about soldiers who come home from war. Brothers Jammy and Sonny McGann have always been very different; one is calm where the other is angry, one is a planner while the other is impulsive. But when Jammy returns from Afghanistan a very different man to the one who left, it is up to Sonny to save the brother who always put him first. It promises to be “a devastating novel about brotherhood and sacrifice” (back cover).

First lines: “Talk is cheap, which explains a lot. Explains why every day of my life has been a shouting match, why, even with the phone held away from my ear, all I could hear was banter. White noise.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen love comes to town, Tom Lennon (288 pages) – Neil’s the perfect Irish guy: he’s great on the rugby field, got decent grades, and snogged girls in the in-crowd. He’s also got a secret that he can’t reveal to just anyone: he’s gay. Now on the verge of turning eighteen, he’s determined to find his real self and friends to support him. All he needs is the courage to go out at night in Dublin, to finally talk to that guy Ian, to tell – and live – the truth. It was written in the 1990s though so don’t be thrown by the references to a ‘walkman’ – it’s brilliant.

First line: “Neil rested his elbows on the window ledge, sank his chin into his hands, and stared out across the neighborhood gardens.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCrap Kingdom, D. C. Pierson, (360 pages) – Tenth-grader Tom Parking’s dream of being swept away to a fantasy land where he becomes a hero nearly comes true when he finds himself the Chosen One of a nameless world, the most annoying, least “cool” place in the universe. The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. The king hates Tom and the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. Being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats’ noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery so Tom turns the job down. But when Tom is replaced by his best friend Kyle, who’s always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom’s on a hilarious quest to get Crap Kingdom back at any cost.

First line: “The problem was, his life wasn’t bad enough.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLife after theft, Aprilynne Pike (345 pages) – The tagline reads “Being dead is just the beginning…” for what you may ask? For meangirl Kimberlee, it’s just the beginning of her journey to make amends for her kleptomaniac ways when she was living. There’s a cute boy, Jeff, to help her (even though he doesn’t really want to at the start) and it’s from his perspective that this story is told (which is why it’s included in the lads edition). Jeff’s the only one who can see Kimberlee so it’s up to him to help her ‘move on.’

First lines: “I hate this school. I tugged at the lame plaid tie that was about three millimeters away from suffocating me and revised. I hate this tie.”

Heroes, Ireland, romance, baseball, ghosts and soldiers! Hopefully there’s something in there for everyone… Enjoy!

New Books

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw (290 pages) – West Point is a really, really old school in New York for officer cadets in the US Army. It is steeped in tradition! But don’t just take my word for it; check wikipedia! Seventeen-year-old Andrea Davis has been accepted, which gives her the chance to escape her dysfunctional family and to ‘prove to herself that she has what it takes’. But is she prepared for what the training (which is called “Beast” by the cadets, so presumably it’s far from easy). Battle Dress is based on the author’s own experiences.

4First line: ‘The morning I left for West Point, nobody showed up at my house to say good-bye.

Family, by Micol Ostow (376 pages) – Melinda Jensen is seventeen, and flees to San Francisco to escape her abusive home life. She falls in with Henry, a charismatic leader of a cultish ‘family’ of people. It is the seventies! Henry is a bit Charlie Manson-ish! This book is written in the form of episodic verse (poems).

First line: ‘I have always been broken

Purple Daze, by Sherry Shahan (207 pages) – 1965, and the times were changing very quickly! Riots, assassinations, wars, and all the kinds of other social upheavals that made the decade famous. For those things. You know what I mean. This group of high school friends live through it all, and their stories are told via letters, diaries, notes, and poems. Mainly poems, for it is written in the form of episodic verse.

First line: ‘We’re slumped on the front seat of a low-slung Pontiac, cherry paint job.

Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough (454 pages) – Long Lankin is a very old folk song about a man who murders his lord’s wife and infant son when he’s not paid for some work he did on the lord’s castle. I didn’t say it was a happy song! Grim were the days before Fair Go, haha. ANYWAY, this book is about two girls who go to stay with their great-aunt who lives in ye olde house, Guerdon Hall. The aunt isn’t too happy they’re there; the last time two young girls were there her life was ‘devasted’. And now an old evil presence has been awakened …

First line: ‘There’s too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.

Venomous, by Christopher Krovatin (323 pages) – High-school junior Locke Vinetti has a problem with his anger. He can not control it, and he calls it ‘the venom’. Now he’s a bit of a loner! He meets Renee, the ‘beautiful, messed-up goth girl of his dreams’. But can he get rid of the venom also? This book is interspersed with comic-style illustrations! 

First line: ‘The city is absolutely gray today.

Rampart, by Diana Peterfreund (402 pages) – Astrid Llewelyn’s boyfriend is rendered unable to take her to the prom when he is attacked by a killer unicorn. Astrid had always ignored her mother’s belief in killer unicorns (can you blame her) and now she’s off to Rome to train as a killer unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters, for she is descended from one of the greatest killer unicorn hunters that ever hunted. Killer unicorns!

First lines: ‘“‘I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.'” I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.

Crusade, by Linda Press Wulf (245 pages) – A boy atop a white charger rides into Georgette’s village. He is surrounded by other children, and he wants more to join his Crusade to the Holy Lands. It is a journey of great danger and peril! And one that may have happened, and most likely failed disastrously. (Another book set during the Children’s Crusade is Angel Fish, by Lili Wilkinson.)

First lines: ‘Foundling. Orphan. Parish child. All these names belonged to him but he didn’t want to belong to them.

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn (294 pages) – Jill is sixteen and a master fencer. She goes on holiday with her family to the Bahamas and finds a old, broken, piece of a rapier blade. It transports her back it time, and she winds up on the deck of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. Luckily she can use a sword! ‘Time travel, swordplay, and romance’, says the blurb, accurately.

First lines: ‘Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Rearanged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip.

Shine, by Lauren Myracle (359 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Cat’s former best friend, Patrick, is founded nearly beaten to death for being gay, she swears vengeance on the attackers. She doesn’t believe the sherriff, who reckons it was done by out-of-towners, but Cat is sure it was someone in their isolated rural community. ‘Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone in the name of justice.’

First lines: ‘Patrick’s house was a ghost. Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch.

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (330 pages) – Gwen is a normal teenaged girl living in an exclusive part of London. Her family haven’t told her about the ability some of the women have to time travel, since it seems that the gene skipped over her. But! When she started time travelling she doesn’t know what’s going on, and so goes on a crash course in time travel, secret societies, living in the olden days, and Gideon, a gorgeous fellow time traveller.

First lines: ‘Hyde Park, London: 8 April 1912. As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park. Just as he’d expected, it was empty at this early hour.

Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer (377 pages) – Tansy Piper moves to a tiny Texan town with her mother. They move into an old, spooky house, and Tansy finds some things that belonged to Henry, a mysterious and troubled man who lived (and died!) there long ago. She can visit his world through the lens of her camera and soon she becomes more involved with his life than the real life of the present. oOooOo ghoooooosts oOooOo

First line: ‘I died on a bitter, cold night.