Important note about COVID Level 2 and our libraries, including hours:

At Alert Level 2 our libraries are open, but with reduced opening hours and some restrictions in place to keep staff and the community safe (more information about Libraries at Level 2).

Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Tag: genetically enhanced teenagers

New Books

Heppy new yur!

Middle School : Get Me Out of Here!, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (257 pages) – Rafe Khatchodorian is in middle school, which I think must be intermediate? Is it? He gets to leave and go to an art school in the city, which isn’t the break from the existential horror of middle school that he’d hoped for. This is the sequel to Middle School : The Worst Years of My Life!.

First lines: ‘Well, who’d have thought so much could change in one summer? Not me, that’s for sure. Not my best buddy, Leonardo the Silent.

Beta, by Rachel Cohn (331 pages) – Elysia was born as a sixteen-year-old, as fresh as any cloned scientific creation thrown together in a lab could be. She is to serve the wealthy inhabitants of paradise island, Demesne, but Elysia isn’t the souless clone that her makers think she is, and when her only chance at happiness is booted off the island (literally!), she learns she needs to fight back.

First lines: ‘It’s me she wants to purchase. The fancy lady claims she came into the resort boutique looking to buy a sweater, but she can’t take her eyes off me.

Made on Earth, by Wolfgang Korn (184 pages) – This is the story of one item of clothing and the people it connects (a red polar fleece, if you can imagine such a thing) in the context of globalisation. ‘This is a story about people, their livelihoods and their life expectations.’ Its written as a short novel, but could almost be non-fiction I reckon.

First line: ‘It was not love at first sight, no way! Bright red fleeces are for young girls, or Liverpool FC fans. They are definately not for tough journalists.

The Turning, by Francine Prose (246 pages) – Jack gets a job on a private island, babysitting the orphaned niece and nephew of some rich guy. The kids are well-behaved (if a little odd), while the cook, Mrs Gross seems nice enough. BUT things are not what they seem – he keeps seeing people that no one else can see – and he begins to feel like he is losing his grip. This is based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. By the way!

First line: ‘Dear Sophie, I’m afraid this is going to sound crazy. But a very strange thing just happened.

The Curiosities : A Collection of Stories, by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff (291 pages) – The three authors of this book are all published authors of paranormal fiction, and a few years ago they all got together and created a website called merryfates.com, where they each posted a small short story once a week. This book is a compilation of such stories, along with lots of annotations from the authors (similar to the website’s comments I guess?). I don’t think the website is a going concern anymore, but here’s the book anyway. It gets a nice 4 stars on Goodreads.

Star-crossed : 18 Tales of Bittersweet Love, by Frances Kelly & Penny Murray (306 pages) – Like it says in the title! This is a collection of love stories. They are all retellings of classic romances from the olden days; Shakespeare, fable, myth, and fact are all covered, from Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Each has a little end-note explaining the romance preceding it and recommending more sources. So yeah, loads of romance.

Speechless, by Hannah Harrington (268 pages) – Chelsea nearly got someone killed indirectly when she blabbed someone’s secret, so, as a consequence, she takes a vow of silence. Her old friends all still blame her, and by not talking she’s not necessarily endearing herself to them, but other people – people she wouldn’t have once had much to do with – soon come out of the woodwork. One boy she might even have a future with. The 500 people who have reviewd it on Goodreads really like it, so get cracking and read it okay

First line: ‘Keping secrets isn’t my speciality.’

Easy, by Tammara Webber (310 pages) – Jacqueline moves to a new city to study at college with her boyfriend, but he dumps her, leaving her stranded – friendless and alone in a place she’d rather not be at, and failing a paper for the first time in her life. However, she forms an attachment with her economics tutor by email, and also meets a guy who electrifies her with his dancing. She is also being stalked, and then her ex comes back into her life. What is a girl to do

First lines: ‘I had never noticed Lucas before that night. It was as though he didn’t exist, and then suddenly, he was everywhere.

Lullaby : A Watersong Novel, by Amanda Hocking (290 pages) – This is the second book in the series that started with Wake. They series is seemingly your usual teen supernatural novel featuring a specific creature from myth and legend; in this case, the monsters are Sirens. Not the plastic lights on top of police cars! Haha, imagine that

First line: ‘Harper woke up when the sun was just beginning to set, and squinted at the dim orange light streaming in through her curtains.

Struck by Lightning : The Carson Phillips Journal, by Chris Colfer (258 pages) – Chris Colfer is the same Chris Colfer who plays (played?) Kurt Hummel on Glee. This book is based on the screenplay he wrote for the movie he made, about a high school student who is desperate to leave his small town and become a hard-hitting journalist; and to achieve his goals he resorts to blackmailing his fellow students.

First lines: ‘Dear Journal, one more school year with these $#!^heads and I’ll be free. It’s taken almost two decades of careful planning, but I’m proud to say my overdue departure from the town of Clover is only days away.

The Twinning Project, by Robert Lipsyte (269 pages) – Tom has an imaginary twin named Eddie who, in actual fact, is real and lives on another Earth that mirrors our own, but 50 years earlier, engineered by aliens. Somehow they connect and join the fight against those same aliens who are set destroy both planets.

First line: ‘I don’t fit in at school because I don’t do what I’m told if it’s stupid. I don’t keep my mouth shut when I have something to say.

Someday Dancer, by Sarah Rubin (245 pages) – It is 1959! And somewhere in the rural hindquarters of South Carolina Casey Quinn plans on leaving for New York City, where she wants to be a ballet dancer. She has the talent, but unfortunately lacks the formal training – but is there hope with contemporary dance? yep

First line: ‘Rat-a-tat-tat, my feet hit the ground, and the sound sings up like music. I am daning on the sidewalk, skipping home from school, free as a bird, and my feet are flying.

Pinned, by Sharon G. Flake (228 pages) – Catalogue synopsis: ‘Adonis is smart, intellectually gifted and born without legs; Autumn is strong, a great wrestler, and barely able to read in ninth grade – but Autumn is attracted to Adonis and determined to make him a part of her life whatever he or her best friend thinks.’

First lines: ‘You ever like a boy your friends thought you shouldn’t like? Maybe he short. Or his ears stick out. Or he got a face full of pimples. But you like him anyhow.

Arise : A Hereafter Novel, by Tara Hudson (408 pages) – This comes after Hereafter, book one in the series (which is also new to the collection). Amelia and Joshua are an item, but sadly Amelia is stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead. Threatened by dark spirits, the couple attempt a Voodoo ritual in a cemetery in an attempt at some protection, but the ceremony will change things. FOREVERRRRRR

First line: ‘The entire world had gone dark, and I had no idea why.

Eternally Yours : An Immortal Beloved Novel, by Cate Tiernan (455 pages) – Nastasya is 450-years old, but hasn’t spent all that time too wisely, so she spends five months at a special rehab for troubled immortals. In addition to learning about her family and their past, she also falls for a hot immortal viking boy, and utilises her special kind of magic to fight against the dark forces determined to wipe out all immortals around the world.

First lines: ‘Uppsala, Sweden, 1619. “Vali! Vali! Where is the girl?” I heard my employer’s voice and scrambled up the from the storage cellar.

A World Away, by Nancy Grossman (394 pages) – Eliza is sixteen, and Amish, so she’s led as sheltered a life as it’s probably possible to lead in the modern world. No Internet! Let that sink in. Anway, Eliza gets to go to Chicago as a nanny, and she’s scared. And excited! What will the world have for her? Will she return to her family back on the farm?

First line: ‘The strangers were coming, as they did every Thursday night, to bring a burst of color into our plain home. I circled the dining room, checking each lantern to be sure there was enough fuel inside.

Speed of Light : A Meridian Novel, by Amber Kizer (525 pages) – This is the third book in a series too complex for me to easily summarise. ‘Meridian and Tens continue to grow closer and explore their relationship of Protector and Fenestra, while sixteen-year-old Juliet Ambrose, grasping at any hope of finding her parents, considers acepting the help offered by Ms. Asura, a proven Nocti.’

First lines: ‘What if a young woman was both a girl to the living and a portal to the dying? I know the answer because I am.

My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick (394 pages) – Samantha Reed is the daughter of a successful US Senator, and she leads a typically proper and organised life. However, in the evenings, she watches the family next door, and is envious of their fairly disorganised, messy, and happy life. She and the eldest son, Jase, fall for each other, and the relationship remains their little secret. Until there’s a surprise twist to the story! It’s a popular book on Goodreads, if that sways you.

First lines: ‘The Garretts were forbidden from the start. But that’s not why they were important. We were standing in our yard that day ten years ago when their battered sedan pulled up to the low-slung shingled house next door, close behind the moving van.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin (527 pages) – Mara Dyer has powers that only one other person – Noah – believes she has. Everyone else reckons she is has a developing mental disorder. What is truth? ‘This will have readers doubting Mara’s sanity, trusting the mental health professionals, and suspicious of Noah’s intentions.’

First lines: ‘You will love him to ruins. The words echoed in my mind as I ran through clots of laughing people. Blinking lights and delighted screams bled together in a riot of sound and color.

New Books

Here are some of the new books we’ve got in the library! Just some, mind you. This is not a representative sample. Oh no no

Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone (368 pages) – This book is set in 1995, which, incredibly for some of us, was nearly eighteen years ago. I am almost too depressed to continue. Haha ha. Anna, who lives back then, meets Bennett, who is from the now (2012) but can travel through time. They fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the whole time travel thing. You might say it is literally tested by time.  

First line: ‘Even from this distance I can see how young he looks. Younger than the first time I saw him.

Crewel : A Novel, by Gennifer Albin (360 pages) – Crewel is not a mispelling of ‘cruel’*, as I thought, but it is a type of embroidery, and teen Adelice is able to embroider the very fabric of reality. She is manipulated by the Manipulation Services into becoming a Spinster, which means living apart from her home and family. Part one of the ‘Crewel World’ series.
* the pun still stands though

First lines: ‘They came in the night. Once, families fought them, neighbours coming to their aid. But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retrieved.

My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavitt (246 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Angel is taken in by Call, who soon has her addicted to drugs and working on the streets. It’s when her best friend disappears and she has an innocent to save that she finds she has the strength to do what she couldn’t for herself. Told entirely as a long, kind of depressing poem.

First line: ‘When Serena went missing
I look in all the places she might go

A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty (413 pages) – This is the first in a series called ‘The Colours of Madeleine.’ Madeleine lives in Cambridge, and discovers a crack in reality between our world and the Kingdom of Cello, just large enough for her and Elliot to exchange letters. Can Madeleine help Elliot solve the mystery of his father’s whereabouts and his mother’s illness?

First line: ‘Madeleine Tully turned fourteen yesterday, but today she did not turn anything at all.

Origin, by Jessica Khoury (393 pages) – Pia has been genetically breed to produce a new race of humans who will never die. She lives in a compound deep in the Amazon rainforest, but when she finds a secret way out she meets Eio, a nearby village with whom she forms an attachment. The pair of them begin to work out the details of Pia’s life, and she discovers that there is much more to life than living forever.

First lines: ‘I’m told that the day I was born, Uncle Paolo held me against his white lab coat and whispered, “she’s perfect.” Sixteen years later, they’re still repeating the word.

Glass Heart, by Amy Garvey (310 pages) – Wren Darby has powers that are actually quite impressive, but when she uses them she risks losing control. She forms an attachment with Gabriel, who warns her not to go overboard on the reality altering, and she discovers things about her family that are shocking revelations. Yikes, Wren!

First line: ‘I’m flying, soaring, swooping, dizzy with power and the sharp bite of the December air on my cheeks.

Call The Shots, by Don Calame (457 pages) – This is a follow on from Swim the Fly and Beat the Band. Sean is jealous that his two best friends have awesome girlfriends. His parents are going to have a baby soon, and his sister is convinced that he’s gay. SO to remedy all this he plans to make their own horror film, and then enter it in a competition. But making a film isn’t easy!

First lines: ‘“It’s my best idea yet.” Coop’s got a huge grin on his face as he wrestles his ice skate onto his left foot. “It came to me last night while I was launching a mud missile.”

Eve & Adam, by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate (291 pages) – Eve (short for ‘Evening’) is in a nasty car crash, and rushed to her mother’s research facility to recuperate. Bored, she gets the chance to create a boy using an ‘amazing simulation’ that teaches human genetics – it makes eyes, hair, even personality. WILL he be perfect?

First line: ‘I am thinking of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognisable, wet and red.

Flock, by Wendy Delsol (394 pages) – Here’s what the catalogue has to say. ‘Katla’s hopes of dodging unfinished business during her senior year are dashed by the arrival of two “Icelandic exchange students,” Marik and Jinky, who have come to collect Katla’s frail baby sister and take her to the water queen.’ The sequel to Frost.

First line: ‘Spending the morning ball-and-chained to a new kid was not my idea of a good kickoff to our senior year.

Be My Enemy, by Ian McDonald (269 pages) – Everett Singh continues his search of the multiverse for his missing father, who could be anywhere – there are billions of parallel universes out there. Here he must visit three Earths: one that is frozen and barren; one that has had aliens occupying the moon since the 60s; and the third where nanotechnology has cornered what remains of humanity in the ruins of London. Sequel to Planesrunner.

First line: ‘The car came out nowhere. He thought it might have been black in the split second that he saw it.

New Books

Subject Seven, James A Moore (327 pages) – Subject Seven is an as-yet not activated lethal assassin in the body of a teenager. When he escapes from his lab intent on finding others of his kind and destroying their creators action ensues! And lots of it!

First sentence: The quiet of the compound was complete.

Enticed, Jessica Shrivington (413 pages) – the sequel to Embrace, with Emblaze coming soon. In which Violet Eden, Grigori, must protect humans from exiled angels, a quest that takes her to the Sacred Mountains of Jordan in search of “the one thing that could forever tilt the balance of power” (back cover).

First sentence: The angel had been ordered to make his choice.

Running in Heels, Helen Bailey (312 pages) –  A riches-to-rags story in which Daisy finds her life takes a dive after her father is sent to jail for corruption – now she lives above a kebab shop and is getting a hard time from the school bully. We’re rooting for you Daisy!

First sentence: Even if I hadn’t woken up this morning to find fourteen missed calls, seven Where the hell are you when I need you? texts and one tearful voice mail on my iPhone saying something totally terrible had happened and to get my bony butt into town, like, yesterday, as I hurry along the pavement at our Starbucks rendezvous I can immediately tell from Mia’s body language she’s super-stressed.

The Freak Observer, Blythe Woolston (201 pages) – Loa’s life is turned upside down by the death of her younger sister. “A starling debut about death, life, astrophysics, and finding beauty in chaos” (book cover – the picture does appear to be a heart)

First sentence: Your beloved physics teacher, Mr Banacek, likes to sleep on a bed of nails.

Dark Goddess, Sarwat Chadda (371 pages) – the sequel to Devil’s Kiss. Billi SanGreal, Knight Templar, rescues a girl from a werewolf attack, to discover she is no ordinary girl. Not only are the werewolves after her, the Dark Goddess also wants her as a sacrifice, to harness her powers. Can Billi protect the girl and save the world?

First sentence: The Rottweiler’s head lay in a bush, just off the snow-sprinkled path.

Trickster’s Girl, Hilari Bell (281 pages) – a novel in the paranormal romance/thriller genre, but with an environmental twist. The world is dying, and Kelsa must help Raven (gorgeous, but maybe crazy? or maybe he is a mythological creature, as he says) pull it back from the brink, even if this means endangering herself.

First sentence: Raven had spent too long on the hunt.

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.