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Introducing the Young Adult Kete!

You! Yes you, random internet stranger! Specifically you, not the prior person to read this, but you. Do you like making decisions? No? Of course you don’t, it requires brain power and that’s hard. Especially not with books, there’s just so many of them, at least more than 9. That’s more than you can count with your fingers! But of course you actually want to read books, why else would you be on a library’s blog? So what’s the solution?

Tada! Young Adult Kete, available at a library near you* (if you happen to live in Johnsonville)!

So what is a YA Kete (as the kool kids say it)? Well, it is a collection of three books, a mix of novels, graphic novels and very occasionally non-fiction, with a theme that ties it all together. This means that you can be lured in by the pretty pictures and fancy theme and get a unique reading experience catered to you by none other than I, the great J’shuall of Jackanapery! Just pick a theme and run with it, finding new books similar to the ones you love and maybe just something that you wouldn’t have read otherwise.

Now you may be asking “deific and mighty J’shuall, wherever can I get my hands on one of these Kete of YA?” Well my good fellow, it is quite simple. At any one time we have eight different Kete available in the Young Adult section of Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. They are in black bags with these fancy little pamphlet/tag thingies that tell you what the theme is, what books are inside, and how to issue them. Speaking of, once you have grabbed the appropriate goody bag of your choosing, you issue it like you would any other book, the main difference being you have to issue it all at once and return it the same way.


So! I’ve got you sold, but you’re wondering just what type of themes do these collections have. So! Let us have a gander at the current eight Kete we have available! If one piques your interest, and you’re quick on the draw, you know the deal, head to Johnsonville library and snatch it up! Elsewise just look at the cool books I’ve selected.

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From the Vaults VIII: The Stack

Well, folks, it’s been a little while since the venerable From the Vaults series has been updated — and it’s high time we did something about it!

For those of you who are new around these parts, From the Vaults is the programme where we show you some of the cool, weird and different stuff that finds its home on our shelves that you might not have known about. So far, we’ve covered the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, manga gems from the ’80s and ’90s (twice!), books in languages other than English and te reo, printed music, and much more.

The topic of today’s episode? Basically, it’s old stuff. Welcome to The Stack.

via GIPHY

Let’s rewind a little — what even is The Stack? In short, it’s a collection of (mostly*) old books that we think are super cool and important, and won’t be getting rid of. (*Of course, not everything in the Stack is super old, as we still add books to it now — and everything’s new at some point in its life!).

Books get added to the Stack if they are:

  • out of print and significant in the history of New Zealand literature (How do we know if they are ‘significant in the history of New Zealand literature? Our librarians, located deep within the book-mines of Te Pātaka, use their uncanny powers of analysis and scientific deduction to make those determinations!)
  • classic, or modern classic international titles that cannot be replaced (What is a ‘classic?’ What is a ‘modern classic?’ Visit our Classic Novels in Haiku page to find out.)

If you’re keen on borrowing items from the Stack, they are all to be found in Te Pātaka, our storage warehouse that contains all the books from the currently-closed Central Library. You can browse them on the catalogue by:

  • Doing a Call Number search for “young adult
  • Under ‘Available Now’ on the left hand side of the screen, select “Off-site collections” from the list of locations
  • Use the ‘Place Reserve’ button to have the book sent to the library of your choice to be picked up!
A screenshot of WCL's online catalogue. In the search bar, the words "Young adult" have been entered, and there is a red arrow pointing towards "Off-site collections" in the locations list on the left-hand side of the screen.

Follow these instructions, and within moments you, too, can be browsing the wonders of our Stack!


To get you started, here are some of our librarians’ favourite reads from the Stack:

Dream-bite / Catran, Ken (published 1995)
“One by one people are dying as they play with virtual reality. The enigmatic Rhoda, travelling around on an antique Harley, decides to find out what is behind the killing. She draws Preben into a dangerous world of technology, intrigue and mind games.” (Catalogue)

I’ll get there, it better be worth the trip / Donovan, John (published 1969)
“While trying to cope with his alcoholic mother and absent father, a lonely New York City teenager develops a confusing crush on another boy.” (Catalogue)

Tanith / Jordan, Sherryl (published 1994)
“When she is three years old, Tanith is taken from a den of wolves to live with the chief of a war-like clan, until, after many years, circumstances force her to choose between wolves and men.” (Catalogue)

Read this ‘review of the week’ on our blog from 15-year-old Ana in 2008! A veritable piece of blog history 🙂


Shadow of the mountain / Mackenzie, Anna (published 2008)
“Geneva’s world has been blown apart by loss. Maybe that’s why her decisions are not always the sharpest. One thing she knows, there’s no way back to the person she once was. When Angus appears in her orbit it seems an omen that things are changing, but life is never that simple. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

Kura Toa : warrior school / Tipene, Tim (published 2004)
“Haki’s pounamu is taken from him by a strange old man as he lies in the road after a car accident. His search to find the old man brings him into conflict with his family and friends but forces him to confront his fears, re-connect with his family and Māori heritage and, ultimately, become a warrior.” (Catalogue)

David and Jonathan / Voigt, Cynthia (published 1992)
“The relationship between two close friends, Henry and Jonathan, changes when Jonathan’s cousin David, a victim of the Holocaust, comes to live with David’s family.” (Catalogue)

The faery flag : stories and poems of fantasy and the supernatural / Yolen, Jane (published 1989)
“A collection of stories and poems on various fairy tale, ghost, or supernatural themes.” (Catalogue)

Star Wars Day: A New Hope for us all?

Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise.  
image courtesy of starwarsnewsnet
This year, you can celebrate by visiting your local library, relive and check out fiction, (as well as non fictioncomics and movies) all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe!

Read the following fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsForce collector.

“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker young adult novel set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLeia, Princess of Alderaan.

“The story of how Leia Organa comes to join the Rebellion. Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia has been taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control so that she becomes formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. When her parents begin acting strange, sixteen-year-old Princes Leia sets out to uncover their secrets, putting her in the path of the watchful Empire. She finds herself facing the choice of dedicating herself to the people of Alderaan, including the man she loves, or to the galaxy at large which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsAhsoka.

“Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.” (Catalogue)


Read the following non fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise.

“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe making of Star Wars : the definitive story behind the original film : based on the lost interviews from the official Lucasfilm archives.

“After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling science fiction saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials of the thirties, classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years – a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars encyclopedia.

“This comprehensive guide to the Star Wars series of films follows on from the re-release of the first three films. Everything from the smugglers’ spaceport on Abregado-Rae and technical explanations of the Millennium Falcon’s acceleration compensator is covered.” (Catalogue).

Watch the films: The nine-part Skywalker saga!

Original trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com.image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [original trilogy]

Relive the exhilarating action, spectacular battles and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars original trilogy episodes continue the saga with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo leading the rebel Alliance to claim victory over the Empire and win freedom for the galaxy.

A New Hope: “In a galaxy far, far away, a psychopathic emperor and his most trusted servant – a former Jedi Knight known as Darth Vader – are ruling a universe with fear. They have built a horrifying weapon known as the Death Star, a giant battle station capable of annihilating a world in less than a second. When the Death Star’s master plans are captured by the fledgling Rebel Alliance, Vader starts a pursuit of the ship carrying them…”

The Empire Strikes Back: “Darth Vader is helping the Empire crush the rebellion determined to end the Empire’s domination of the universe. The rebels are based on Hoth, and when troops arrive to wipe them out, Han Solo and Princess Leia flee to Cloud City. Luke Skywalker, in a bid to strengthen his knowledge of the force, finds Yoda, one of the finest Jedis ever. Will they be able to get back together and halt the Empires progress?”

Return of the Jedi: “As the Emperor himself oversees the construction of the new Death Star by Lord Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, smuggler Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt by his friends, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Leaving Skywalker Jedi training with Yoda, Solo returns to the Rebel Fleet to prepare for to complete his battle with the Empire itself. During the ensuing fighting the newly returned Skywalker is captured by Vader. Can the Rebels, and their new found friends, the Ewoks, help restore freedom to the Galaxy?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Prequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [prequel trilogy].

Relive the nonstop excitement, thrilling discoveries and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars prequel trilogy episodes begin the saga with young Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the dark side as he transforms from child slave to Jedi apprentice to Darth Vader, the most feared villian in the galaxy!

Phantom Menace: “Set thirty years before the original Star Wars film, Episode I introduces Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into the evil Darth Vader.”

Attack of the Clones: “Set 10 years after the events of The phantom menace and the galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme.”

Revenge of the Sith: “Torn between loyalty to his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the seductive powers of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Jedi, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Force Awakens:

“As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It’s up to Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Last Jedi.

“The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure. Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Rise of Skywalker.

“When it’s discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn and Poe lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order’s plans to form a new Empire, while Rey anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren.” (Catalogue)


Check out the official trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which arrives on the Disney channel on May 4th, as well as the trailer for popular Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, which  follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.



Enjoy!… and May the Fourth be with you!

Rick Riordan Presents… Some Seriously Good Stories

If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson universe, or any one of Rick Riordan’s intertwining demi-god fantasy worlds, you’ll know that what he specialises in is taking a mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian…) and putting it in the contemporary world. Cue heroes, gods, teens with powers and some excellent action sequences. He’s a well known writer and he’s written a lot. A whole lot, I just Googled it and it’s over 40 books at least, yikes.

Here’s something I just found out about him: he is also involved in Rick Riordan Presents which is a publishing project under the Disney-Hyperion umbrella. These books involve the mythologies (in a broad sense) of a range of underrepresented cultures and backgrounds and are written by authors with the cultures and backgrounds they are writing about. It is an amazing way for Riordan to use his platform to get voices, who might otherwise be unheard, into the mainstream.  As his website says: it’s about letting people tell their own stories. Riordan acts as an editor for these works but they are entirely the property of and ideas of each individual author. How cool would it be to be a young/up-and-coming author and have your work picked up by Riordan?!

In fact the Korean NZ author Graci Kim is having a book published through Rick Riordan Presents next year that centres on a clan of Korean-American witches living in LA!  This will be Kim’s debut novel (first book). It sounds amazing, read the blurb here so you can get all hyped about it before it comes out next year in May.

A few things about the Rick Riordan Presents books: NO they are not set in the Percy Jackson world. YES they feature mythology and action in the same way that Riordan’s books do!

Rick Riordan reckons you’ll like them and so do I. The library has many of these books available in hard copy and also some online from one of our book borrowing apps called OverDrive.

Dragon Pearl / Lee, Yoon Ha
“A sci-fi adventure about a girl who stows away on a battle cruiser to solve the mystery of her missing brother. Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits.
But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.” (Catalogue)

The storm runner / Cervantes, Jennifer
“A contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology from Rick Riordan Presents! Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents J.C. Cervantes’ contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology.
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno–for his one good leg.
What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in–unless she can find and remove it first.
Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane.
When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?” (Catalogue)

Aru Shah and the song of death / Chokshi, Roshani
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies.
If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.
But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.” (Catalogue)

New Simultaneous Collections on OverDrive!

We heard a rumour that you guys might quite like books. We also like books. So, we’ve created a new collection of always-available eBooks and audiobooks for you to enjoy any time, anywhere. Check out the Teen Book Club Reads section on OverDrive or Libby for the full list, but for now, here are some of our faves:

Overdrive cover Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan (ebook)
{LGBTQ+, romance, slice-of-life}
Two Boys Kissing is a cornerstone work of queer YA literature. Told from the perspectives of four boys “under the watchful eyes of a Greek chorus of a generation of men lost to AIDS,” this book explores questions of identity and emotion, and the often intimate connections between history and the personal. While you’re drying your eyes and restoring your breathing patterns to normal following this essential book, check out our LGBTQIA+ Fiction booklist for your next literary fix.

Overdrive cover Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (ebook)
{NZ author, small town, coming-of-age}
We’ve already talked about our enduring love for this book, which is a finalist in the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, on a previous post on this very blog. Trust us when we say that you will not regret immersing yourself in the unforgettably wry and observational voice of 15-year-old Ricky, crafted and shaped by Damien Wilkins’ bold and beguiling prose.

Overdrive cover Monster, Michael Grant (ebook)
{dystopian, science fiction, action}
From the author of the crazily popular Gone series comes this new trilogy, available for the first time on OverDrive as a Book Club read. In the aftermath of the Perdido Beach meteorite and the deadly wave of mutations that followed, Earth is once again being struck by meteorites bearing an even more deadly virus. This time, the whole world is exposed, and humans are beginning to change, again, some gaining unfathomable power. Sound like your kind of thing? We have the follow-ups Hero and Villain available for your delectation as well.

Overdrive cover You Can Do a Graphic Novel, Barbara Slate (ebook)
{non fiction, art, creative writing, comics}
If you’ve ever been interested in the art of creating graphic novels and comics, this nifty guide is meant for you! It starts at the start — with the story — and shows you the ropes as you move through the whole creative process, from drawing techniques and layout/structure tips, to how to deal with creative block and building strong and recognisable characters. Who knows, we may just see your work on our shelves in the zine collections at Arapaki, He Matapihi, and Newtown Libraries!

Overdrive cover Feminism, Nadia Abushanab Higgins (ebook)
{non fiction, feminism, social sciences, women}
This book is a concise and well-written introduction to the concepts and movements embodied by the word ‘feminism,’ which author Nadia Abushanab Higgins describes as “America’s new F-word.” Although it does have an undeniable focus on the history and contemporary definitions of feminism in the United States, it still provides a useful international perspective on the movement through really interesting profiles of pioneers including Gloria Steinem, Rebecca Walker, Elizabeth Stanton, and more. If you’re interested in the intersectionality between feminism and the Black Lives Matter and #GiveNothingToRacism movements, we have a great introduction for you here.

We Need These eManga in Our Lives (and so do you)

We understand it’s been a dark time for many manga fans. The books you were able to borrow before our libraries closed are long finished, their covers growing thick with the dust of disappointment. Your days are growing heavy with the weight of unresolved cliffhangers. Thankfully, our eLibrary is absolutely stuffed full of manga series to keep you going until you can get your hands on printed material once again. Below are some of our faves, but be sure to check out the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga section on OverDrive/Libby for more gold.

Overdrive cover Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Yusei Matsui (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
One of the most popular manga series currently publishing outside Japan, in Assassination Classroom we join Nagisa, Sugino, Karma, Okuda, and the other would-be assassins of Class 3E as they navigate life, death, and education under their moon-killing, pseudo-octopoid, super-organism teacher, Koro-sensei. Sound weird? Well, strap in. This is shōnen sci-fi manga at its best we’re talking about here — pretty much anything goes.

Overdrive cover Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus, Volume 1, CLAMP (ebook)
Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 available on OverDrive.
I love Cardcaptor Sakura unreservedly, and once you read it, you will too — and not just for its super awesome anime adaptation that aired in the late ’90s. This series has everything you’re looking for in a shōjo ‘magical girl’ manga — namely, an awesomely strong and compellingly-rendered magical girl to lead the cast, vicious beasts to fight, mythological dreamscapes to explore, complex characters that grow into their roles, and of course it can all be pulled together into a largely unknown trading card game from the year 2001 that I wish I owned. Some day, some day.

Overdrive cover Haikyu!!, Volume 1, Haruichi Furudate (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Okay, I admit it. I was skeptical about Haikyu!! at first. I mean, I’m not really one for the whole sportsball thing, so a manga about one boy’s drive to become the greatest volleyball player in Japan didn’t really sound like my cup of tea. With that out of the way, if you read one thing from this list, read this. The characters are expertly-drawn, both in terms of line and in terms of personality. The whole gamut of human experience is explored and poignantly rendered: hubris, ambition, disappointment, determination, loss, commitment, betrayal, hurt, unity — but ultimately it is this series’ big-heartedness that will win you over. Do yourself a favour and read it now.

Overdrive cover One-Punch Man, Volume 1, ONE (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
I still remember the first time my friend showed me the One-Punch Man webcomic. Even then, in the summer of 2010, it seemed legendary, destined for greater things. And so it was — the manga remake is full of the charm, the absurdity, the inexplicable baldness, and the manic, supercharged energy of the original webcomic, but distilled, whisked, blended, and baked into the extended manga form. It’s a superhero story like no other, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Overdrive cover Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul may just be one of the greatest tales in contemporary fantasy. The premise is simple — in the shadow of our regular human world there dwell mysterious, powerful, and cannibalistic demi-humans known as ghouls, kept at bay by the powerful but shadowy government-controlled CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), who will go to any length to exterminate ghouls from the face of the planet. The morals of each party? Grey. The storytelling? Immersive, dark, and intense. The characters? Deeply human and beautifully flawed, with motivations that gradually unwind as we get to know them. The result? A series you must read. Not for the faint of heart.

This is just the barest sliver of excellent manga you can find on OverDrive and Libby. If we don’t have what you’re after, you can always use the handy-dandy ‘Recommend to Library’ tool to suggest we purchase what you’re after. At the moment you can only recommend one title every 30 days, to make sure our librarians aren’t overwhelmed, so choose wisely!

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpposite of always, Justin A. Reynolds

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling–hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSiege, Chris Ryan

Tough enough? Smart enough? Max will require all his skills just to stay alive as a Special Forces Cadet…A top-secret government programme needs a crack team of undercover military operators. They must have awesome levels of determination, endurance and fitness. They must be able to think on their feet. The recruits undergo the most rigorous and testing selection process the modern military can devise. And in order to operate in circumstances where adult forces would be compromised, the recruits must be under sixteen. Only a few are tough enough and smart enough to make it…And once out in the field, they will require all their skills just to stay alive. Which is what happens when Max Silver, Abby Asher, Lukas Channing and Sami Hakim are sent into an armed siege in an inner-city school…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourting darkness, Robin LaFevers

When Sybella accompanies the Duchess to France, she expects trouble, but she isn’t expecting a deadly trap. Surrounded by enemies both known and unknown, Sybella searches for the undercover assassins from the convent of St. Mortain who were placed in the French court years ago. Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she no longer knows who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. When she discovers a hidden prisoner who may be of importance, she takes matters into her own hands. As these two worlds collide, the fate of the Duchess, Brittany, and everything Sybella and Genevieve have come to love hangs in the balance. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInvisibly breathing, Eileen Merriman

‘I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’ Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe, any problem they might throw up can be solved. ‘If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon…there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.’ People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix: ‘Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there’s something about him that keeps drawing me in.’ Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves? (Publisher Summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLies you never told me, Jennifer Donaldson

Quiet, shy Elyse is cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet– and is having an affair with a teacher twice her age. Gabe broke up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend– and now she’s stalking him, spreading rumors… and worse. Both students fell for the wrong person. Now they’re finding out how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences– and sometimes not everyone will survive. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlack enough : stories of being young & black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person’s experiences, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSorcery of thorns, Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery–magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught–about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVoyages in the underworld of Orpheus Black, Marcus Sedgwick

A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry’s mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city’s Underworld…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI hold your heart, Karen Gregory

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’ When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about. But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control? Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like. (Publisher summary)

New books

Hello! Things have been a bit disrupted with the closure of the library, but here’s a new post! A short one but just to remind you all that we’re still around. More new books posts (and others) will be put up as time allows.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChrysalis, Brendan Reichs

The stunning finale of the Project Nemesis trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Brendan Reichs.

The 64 members of Fire Lake’s sophomore class have managed to survive the first two phases of the Program–and each other. Now, they alone have emerged into the dawn of a new era on Earth, into a Fire Lake valley that’s full of otherworldly dangers and challenges. Although staying alive in this broken world should force Min, Noah, Tack, and the others to form new alliances, old feuds die hard, and the brutality of the earlier Program phases cannot be forgotten. But being a team isn’t easy for the sophomores, and when they discover that they may not be alone on the planet after all, they’ll have to decide if they’re going to work together…or die together. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLovely war, Julie Berry

In the perilous days of World Wars I and II, the gods hold the fates — and the hearts — of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe queen’s resistance, Rebecca Ross

Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is beginning to settle into her role as the daughter of the once disgraced lord, Davin MacQuinn. Though she’d just survived a revolution that will return a queen to the throne, she faces yet another challenge: acceptance by the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s House as well as her country. Then there’s Aodhan Morgan, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, who is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia and his current one as lord of a fallen House. As he attempts to restore the Morgane name, he let his mind wander–what if he doesn’t have to raise his House alone? What if Brienna could stand by his side? But Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside, as there are more vital tasks at hand–the Lannons’ trial, forging alliances, and ensuring that no one halts the queen’s coronation. Resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And what makes one more vulnerable than love? (Publisher summary)

Hugo Award Nominees – Young Adult

Here are all of the Young Adult nominees from the Hugo Awards that we have in our collection (and are accessible) at the moment. It’s an amazing list and I thoroughly recommend checking them out.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Belles, Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. (Publisher summary)

(There’s also a sequel, Everlasting Rose.)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChildren of blood and bone, Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe cruel prince, Holly Black

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him– and in doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. As civil war threatens, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself (Publisher summary)

Also has a sequel: The wicked king.

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)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe invasion, Peadar Ó Guilin

In a world where teenagers are trained for the most horrific 3 minutes of their lives, Nessa and Anto have both survived their Call, but fate has a cruel way of rewarding them. Nessa is branded a traitor as no one believes that someone like her could survive the experience. She’s thrown in prison and eventually sent where all traitors are sent – back to the horrifying Greylands, but this time there’s no way home. Anto is packed off out of the way to join the militia. Ireland is being invaded and the enemy are building their army from the very people defending it. However, Anto can’t get Nessa off his mind, he knows in his heart that she’s innocent and he’ll go to any length to rescue her. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTess of the road, Rachel Hartman (e-audiobook)

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is. . . different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she’s done is so disgraceful, she can’t even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess’s family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.

But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She’s not running away, she’s running towards something. What that something is, she doesn’t know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else–a life where she might belong. (Publisher summary)

Webcomic collections

Webcomics are one of the best (although this may be controversial) things to come out of the internet. Creators has a direct path to new and diverse audiences, without meddling from publishers and often a better understanding of the current social climate than more mainstream titles. It seems that there’s a webcomic for any interest! WCL has to be a bit more…selective in the webcomic collections we acquire, but if the thought of clicking through hundreds of pages doesn’t appeal, we’ve got a decent selection.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHomestuck has been called the internet’s “Ulysses.” Possibly due to its length, possibly due to its devoted fanbase and its equally vocal detractors. It’s also incredibly hard to describe its plot. It’s also very hard to translate to a book format, as the author notes but he helpfully provides links to the actual pages where the plot is conveyed in gifs and flash animations. And it was created in MS paint, which is quite something. You’ll never read anything like it.

“A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, 2009, is this young man’s birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is only today he will be given a name! What will the name of this young man be?”
-Homestuck, first lines.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl Genius has been running since 2005. It’s still going, and updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That’s a lot of material. It is based around the adventures of Agatha Clay, who discovers that she has an ancient and mysterious birthright, as well as having the “spark” – a strange group of personality traits, which predisposes the person to acts of mad…genius. It’s one of the preeminent Steampunk works, although the author prefers the term “gaslamp fantasy.” At any rate, it’s a great webcomic but works so well in a printed format – it’s much easier to catch up! Here’s book one.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou probably never thought of seeking out a comic written by a five year old and professionally illustrated and you never thought you’d need it in your life but Axe Cop is really something else. It’s silly, anarchic, and really nice to look at; the comedy webcomic holy trinity. It’s really funny as well. The plot is basically the title. An axe-wielding cop fights crime, which consists of whatever a five year old deems as criminal (hint: dinosaurs are heavily involved). As a side note, the writer and the illustrator are brothers, which is adorable.

Other webcomics we have in printed format include Gunnerkrigg Court and Hark: a vagrant.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHalo: battle born, Cassandra Rose Clarke

The first original novel based on the mega-hit HALO video game series! The alien alliance known as the Covenant is laying siege to the colony world of Meridian… Can humanity survive? Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor aren’t exactly friends at their small high school on the middle-of-nowhere colony world of Meridian. Each has their own problems, from absent parents to supporting their family, getting into a good college to making the next hit holo-film. But those problems are nothing next to the threat now facing their world: the alien alliance known as the Covenant is laying siege to Meridian, for reasons that aren’t very easily explained. With their village in flames, the four teens find themselves stuck above ground, locked out of the town shelter where the rest of the survivors are gathered. Together, Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor are thrust into battle with nothing but a few scavenged weapons and an injured Spartan, one of the United Nations Space Command’s super-soldiers. What’s forged from the destruction will determine the fate of Meridian, and tilt the battle for humanity’s survival… (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHold me closer, Necromancer, Lish McBride

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right–until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll out: secret stories of queer teens, edited by Saundra Mitchell

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiss collector, Wendy Higgins

Seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe is over relationships. Between getting cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved and watching her parents’ marriage crumble, she decides to turn the tables and go after what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, bad boys–their lips are all on her agenda, and it’s time to collect. Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break. But what starts as a harmless competition leads to a downward spiral of drama. Zae is forced to face the reasons behind her boy angst and starts to wonder if she was wrong about the male race…or at least some of them. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe summer of Jordi Perez, Amy Spalding

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship. But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosseplaying bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in Los Angeles, and she’s struggling to prove to her mother–the city’s celebrity health nut–that she’s perfectly content with who she is. Just as Abby starts to feel like she’s no longer the sidekick in her own life, Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight. Instead of feeling like she’s landed a starring role, Abby feels betrayed. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe bright siders, Jen Wilde

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck. Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing. Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBuried beneath the Baobab Tree, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, this poignant novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani tells the timely story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival. Includes an afterword by award-winning journalist Viviana Mazza. A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband–these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach. But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told. Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life–her future–is hers to fight for. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl king, Mimi Yu

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Until their father names their male cousin Set his heir instead, sending ripples through the realm and throwing both girls’ lives into utter chaos. Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu has no choice but to go on the run, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu soon crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the Ashina, a clan of nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–or to trust the empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the only way to unlock his true power. As Lu and Nok form a shaky alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens, a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Rachel Maddow, Adrienne Kisner

Brynn Haper’s life has one steadying force–Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project–and actually getting a response–Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick’s death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out. Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn’s archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove, hate, and other filters, Samira Ahmed

Maya Aziz is caught between her India-born parents’ world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy, and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack hundreds of miles away, the community she’s known since birth is transformed by fear, bigotry, and hatred. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLegacy of Light, Sarah Raughley

The Effigies must uncover the connection between Saul, Blackwell, and the Phantoms before it’s too late in this epic conclusion to the Effigies trilogy. The world is in chaos. After Saul’s strike on Oslo–one seemingly led by Maia herself–the Effigies’ reputation is in shambles. Now they’re being hunted by nations across the globe, grouped in with the very terrorists they’ve been trying to stop. With Maia’s resurrected twin, June, carrying out vicious attacks across the world, everyone believes Maia is a killer. Belle has gone rogue, Chae Rin and Lake have disappeared, and the Sect is being dismantled and replaced by a terrifying new world order helmed by Blackwell. As for Saul, his ultimate plan still remains a mystery. And Maia? No one has seen or heard from her in weeks. It’s all somehow connected–Saul, Phantoms, the Effigies, everything. But if the Effigies can’t put the pieces together soon, there may not be much left of the world they’ve fought so desperately to save. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnclaimed baggage, Jen Doll

Doris–a lone liberal in a conservative small town–has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of “Mr. Popular” whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people’s lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe silence, Mark Alpert

When Adam joined the Pioneer program, he became one of six teens to forfeit their bodies for a new, digital existence. Together, the Six were unstoppable, protecting the world from artificial-intelligence systems that threatened the human race. But they were more than a team–they were family. Until now. Adam has a complex power within his circuitry that defies the very laws of physics. He wasn’t programmed to have this power, and he can barely control it or its consequences. Adam’s never felt more alone. Amber, the newest Pioneer, knows what it is like to be an outsider. She gets him in a way the others don’t. Except Amber’s software has been corrupted, and until Adam figures out exactly what she’s become, the Pioneers–and the world–are in mortal danger. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove and war, Melissa De La Cruz

As the war for American Independence carries on, newlyweds Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are settling into their new adventure- marriage. But Alex is still General George Washington’s right-hand man, sent to the front lines at Yorktown, and his attention these days is nothing if not divided-much like the colonies’ interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza’s relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama. The battles are just beginning in the follow-up to Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza- A Love Story . (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe curses, Laure Eve

Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Grace siblings are determined to try and get things back to normal – and if that means papering over the cracks, so be it. Summer has had enough of secrets, but sharing a house with someone who’s been resurrected from the dead isn’t something you want the neighbours to know about. As ex-best friend River wreaks havoc with her twisted spells, can the Graces ever escape the curses that have been tearing their family apart for generations? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics29 dates, Melissa De La Cruz

Jisu’s traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Jisu’s success, and going on the recommended dates is Jisu’s compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco. Where she’ll have the opportunity to shine academically–and be set up on more dates! Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Jisu finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Jisu into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn’t parent and matchmaker approved? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe gilded wolves, Roshani Chokshi

From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change–one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them. It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOutside, Sarah Ann Juckes

Here’s the thing about being Inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are.Ele is kept captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. She has never been Outside but she knows it’s there and she’s determined to prove it. When Ele eventually escapes, she is forced to question everything she has ever known.An extraordinary and powerful debut in the style of ROOM by Emma Donoghue.(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStain, A.G Howard

After Lyra–a princess incapable of speech or sound–is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight–for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests–ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not. (Publisher summary)

Beyond Marvel and DC!

There are a real flood of comic book adaptions coming out at the moment. Aquaman, Teen Titans, Spiderman, Captain Marvel…and of course, the conclusion to the Infinity War. We have plenty of those titles in our collection! But smaller publishers and lesser-known titles deserve some love too.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSheets, Brenna Thummler

In four words: love, grief, laundry, and ghosts. Marjorie is thirteen and struggling to deal with the death of her mother, the (failing) family dry cleaning business, and the pressures of school. Luckily – or unluckily – she comes into contact with Wendell, a ghost trying to deal with the very particular struggles of his afterlife. The two worlds collide with dramatic results for everyone.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a sunbeam, Tillie Walden

This only came across my desk in the last weeks of December but I’ve already decided it’s one of my top picks for the year’s best graphic novels. Set in a far-distant future, it depicts two teenage girls falling in love, while studying at an exclusive boarding school. But another plot thread enters the narrative; one of those girls, many years later, joins a crew who do restoration work on abandoned buildings. Did I mention this was all set in space? It’s one of the most intriguing and more importantly heart-felt narratives about loss and found family I’ve seen in a long time. The art – purely black and white- manages to be stark and lush at the same time. It’s a striking, original work.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHelen and the Go-Go ninjas, Ant Sang And Michael Bennet

Ant Sang’s one of New Zealand’s premier comic artists and Michael Bennett is a likewise acclaimed writer and director. This powerful team-up brings us this fascinating view of a New Zealand after an environmental catastrophe and strange spheres that use mind control on the few remaining human survivors. We don’t get a lot of Aotearoa-centric science fiction and a graphic novel is even rarer. But its rarity isn’t its main selling point (although worth mentioning) – this has clever sharp writing and amazing art work (check out those action scenes) so please pick it up.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBad Machinery, John Allison

I wasn’t quite sure what I was picking up when I first looked at Bad Machinery. It’s got British weirdness and teen angst in equal measure, along with a hefty dose of dark, strange humour. There are five volumes – plenty to chew through and enjoy.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBarefoot gen: a cartoon story of Hiroshima, Keiji Nakazawa

This is a classic of the graphic novel genre. The author was a Hiroshima survivor and depicts the aftermath of the nuclear bomb being dropped on that city in 1945. There is no glorification of war here; just the agony of people caught up in historical events and living through the ensuing devastation. The art despite being in the familiar ‘toon style, pulls no punches in conveying the horrors of the bombing and the years afterwards. This will stay with you a long time.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleepless, Sarah Vaughn, writer ; Leila del Duca, artist.

The art is lush and gorgeous, the writing is excellent – I highly recommend this fantasy graphic novel which depicts the difficult life of Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia – the illegitimate daughter of the deceased king – as intrigue seizes the court as her uncle takes the throne. Then there’s her bodyguard, Cyneric – a “Sleepless Knight” – who has taken a vow to protect her. Courtly intrigue, romance, assassination attempts – a must-read for fantasy fans.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe ruinous sweep, Tim Wynne-Jones

On the night Donovan Turner is thrown out of a car on a highway in the middle of nowhere, he can barely remember his own name, let alone the past twenty-four hours. Where is he? Where is his girlfriend, Bee? In an attempt to flag down the next passing car, he startles the driver, causing a fatal accident. With sirens in the distance and the lingering feeling that he’s running from something–or someone–Donovan grabs the dead driver’s briefcase and flees. Meanwhile, Bee is fighting for Dono’s life every bit as much as he is. But when the police show up and hint that he is the prime suspect in a murder, Bee is determined to put together the pieces of what happened and clear his name. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTime Bomb, Joelle Charbonneau

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion. They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers. Told from multiple perspectives, Time Bomb will keep readers guessing about who the bomber could be–and what motivated such drastic action. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe war outside, Monica Hesse

1944. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado– until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. At the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy, the teens discover that the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko becomes consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father’s secrets. Margot’s watches her mother’s health deteriorate and her rational father become a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis. In a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone– even each other? (Goodreads)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe cursed queen, Sarah Fine

Ansa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes. Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy–the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts. With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe infinite pieces of us, Rebekah Crane

Pondering math problems is Esther Ainsworth’s obsession. If only life’s puzzles required logic. Her stepfather’s solution? Avoidance. He’s exiled the family to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to erase a big secret from Esther’s past. So much for the truth. Now for the consequences: an empty swimming pool, a water-sucking cactus outside her window, a goldfish rescued from a church festival, and Esther’s thirst for something real. Step one: forget about her first love. Step two: make allies. Esther finds them in Jesús from the local coffee bar; a girl named Color who finds beauty in an abandoned video store; Beth, the church choir outcast; and Moss, a boy with alluring possibilities. Step three: confess her secret to those she hopes she can trust. Esther’s new friends do more than just listen. They’re taking Esther one step further. Together, they hit the road to face Esther’s past head-on. It’s a journey that will lead her to embrace her own truth in all its glory, pain, and awesomeness. (Amazon)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is what it feels like, Rebecca Barrow

Who cares that the prize for the Sun City Originals contest is fifteen grand? Not Dia, that’s for sure. Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in her life. And because ever since Hanna left–well, there hasn’t been a band. It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now–and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge–to ignore the past, in order to jump start the future–will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTwo can keep a secret, Karen M. McManus

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself. (Publisher summary)

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 SyndeticsA blade so black, L.L. McKinney

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple; even warriors have a curfew. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe case of the left-handed lady : an Enola Holmes mystery, Nancy Springer

Pursued by her much older brother, famed detective Sherlock Holmes, fourteen-year-old Enola, disguised and using false names, attempts to solve the kidnapping of a baronet’s sixteen-year-old daughter in nineteenth-century London. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA curse of ash and embers, Jo Spurrier

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic. Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA very large expanse of sea, Tahereh Mafi

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments–even the physical violence–she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother. But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her–they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds–and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlanca and Roja, Anna-Marie McLemore

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan. But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShadow of fox, Julie Kagawa

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish–and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure–one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKingdom of Ash, Sarah J. Maas

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day… With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world. And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever. As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChild power, Raewyn Dawson

Circa 300 BC: slavers are secretly active around the Black Sea, kidnapping children and forcing them into a life of deprivation and captivity. Sixteen-year-old Melo, a respected Amazon tribal leader in the Plains, is empowering the Tribe’s children within the Peace Way. When Melo’s friend Atalanta is captured and put to work on a pig farm, Melo and her friends must harness all their courage to mount a successful rescue operation. In this enthralling tale of love, adventure and revenge, the children of the cities, the slaves and the tribal young all face the most monumental challenges of their lives as their world is rocked to its core. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVillain, Michael Grant

It’s been four years since the events of GONE. The Perdido Beach dome is down, but the horrors within have spread. The alien virus-infested rock that created the FAYZ is creating monsters–monsters that walk the cities and countryside, terrorizing all. There are tanks in the street and predator drones in the sky, doomed efforts to stop the disintegration of civilization. Into this chaos comes a villain with the power to control anyone with just the sound of his voice. Dillon Poe wanted to be a comedian once…but everyone made fun of him. Dillon the loser. Dillon the freak. Now he’s sending thousands to their death. Who’s laughing now? The only people who can stop a superpowered villain are superpowered heroes. Dekka, Shade, Cruz, Malik, Armo, and a new mutant with unmatched powers, are all that stand in Dillon’s way. But when the lines begin to blur between hero and villain–some begin to wonder who’s really the monster. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirls resist! KaeLyn Rich

An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality. Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally. Get this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist! (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Lantern’s Ember, Colleen Houck

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern–one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal–or not-so-mortal–soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare. Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire–and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe ultimate survival guide to being a girl, Christina de Witte

Addressing the struggles of young girls everywhere, this hilariously relatable comic guide to life provides real advice and encourages a new generation of teen girls to find confidence and embrace individuality. With friends, love, social media, body image, and more–navigating young adulthood can seem impossible. The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl provides humorous and highly relatable guidelines for all of the struggles young girls face, presented in author Christina De Witte’s signature comic style and told from the point of view of her lovable Instagram and Internet character, Chrostin. A Hyperbole and a Half for the young adult audience, the book includes comics and hands-on advice about serious issues like mental health and self-care, and also deals with questions on every young girl’s mind, like “Can you survive on pizza alone?” Quirky, hilarious, and sincere, The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl empowers young women to challenge society’s unrealistic standards of beauty and embrace their individuality. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl who fell, Violet Grace

Chess Raven is a hacker who has grown up with nothing and no one. Her parents died when she was three and her foster care situation turned out badly – very badly. But on her sixteenth birthday, her life is turned upside down. Chess learns her mother was Queen of the Fae and her father was a brilliant physicist. The unique blend of her mother’s fairy blood and her father’s humanity gives Chess – and Chess alone – the ability to unlock a mysterious vessel that will unleash unimagined powers – with devastating consequences. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnholy, Bill Bennett

The second gripping novel in acclaimed Australian filmmaker Bill Bennett’s compelling series about modern-day witchcraft. As the celestial firestorm night of Unholy nears, Lily finds herself caught deep within the shadow world of black witchcraft – a world more evil than she ever could have imagined. In the race to save her mother’s soul, Lily will need all of her strength and newfound powers to battle the elite witches hell-bent on her capture. A relentless page-turner, with plot twists that will shock and disturb – Unholy unleashes the darkness that seeks to destroy the world as we know it. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpen road summer, Emery Lord

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of healing hearts and break-up ballads. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNyxia unleashed, Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater and the other Genesis spaceship survivors are caught between Babel and the indigenous Adamite population when they are sent to extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe. Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one. Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population. Caught between two powerful forces with clashing desires, will the Genesis team make it out alive before it is too late? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnbroken; 13 stories staring disabled teens, edited by Marieke Njkamp

An anthology of stories in various genres, each featuring disabled characters and written by disabled creators. The collection includes stories of interstellar war, a journey to Persia, a dating debacle. The teenaged characters reflect diverse colors, genders, and orientations– without obscuring the realities of their disabilities. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWildcard, Marie Lu

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Knowing the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she is determined to put a stop to his plans. But someone has put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEscaping from Houdini, Kerri Maniscalco

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria , they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly. But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsP.S. I still love you, Jenny Han

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? (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)

NZ Post book awards – YA

It’s that time of year! The NZ Post book awards have posted their shortlist. Here the ones in our collection.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe traitor and the thief, Gareth Ward

Discovered picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, fourteen year old Sin is hunted across the city. Caught by the enigmatic Eldritch Moons, Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, Sin learns spy craft while trying not to break the school’s Cast-Iron Rules. Befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb, together they endeavour to unmask a traitor causing havoc within the palace. After an assassination attempt on the founder of COG, Sin realises that someone closest to him could be the traitor. With no other option, Sin is forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, Velvet Von Darque. But can he trust her? And will COG try to bury him with the secrets he discovers? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPieces of you, Eileen Merriman

Fifteen-year-old Rebecca McQuilten moves with her parents to a new city. Lonely but trying to fit in, she goes to a party, but that’s when things really fall apart. Things look up when she meets gregarious sixteen-year-old Cory Marshall. Cory helps Rebecca believe in herself and piece her life back together; but that’s before he shatters it all over again…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSticking with pigs, Mary-Anne Scott

Uncle Jeremy has been helping the family out for a while now, by dropping off meat he’s shot. The offer to go hunting sounds great to fourteen-year-old Wolf…a chance to get away from the family stress. But this hunting trip proves to be more than he bargained for. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn the dark spaces, Cally Black

A hostage drama about 14-year-old Tamara, who’s faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her kidnappers. Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a star freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive. But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople’s way of life, and the threats they face from humanity’s exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCatch me when you fall, Eileen Merriman

A moving novel about learning to find happiness in the face of uncertainty and discovering a love that transcends the boundary between life and death. Seventeen-year-old Alex Byrd is about to have the worst day of her life, and the best. A routine blood test that will reveal her leukaemia has returned, but she also meets Jamie Orange. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBecause everything is right but everything is wrong, Erin Donohue

Can you be lost and not know it? Can other people stop you from being lost? Seventeen-year-old Caleb¿s world is disintegrating, his walls are closing in, his sky is threatening to fall. He¿s barely holding on. To deadlines. To friends. To family. To mum. To Pat. But he has Casey. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDawn Raid, Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith

Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofias 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 Sofias 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)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStorm-wake, Lucy Christopher

Moss has lived with her pa on a remote island for as long as she remembers. The Old World has disappeared beneath the waves – only Pa’s magic, harnessing the wondrous stormflowers on the island, can save the sunken continents. But a storm is brewing, promising cataclysmic changes. Soon, two strange boys wash up on the shore. As the clouds swell and the ocean churns, Moss learns to open her eyes to the truth about her isolated world … (Publisher summary)

First lines: The story starts with a dream, and its dreamer.
He was younger then, rolling in the belly of his boat, on rougher waters than expected inside those harbour walls. The first day of spring, and he felt at the end of the world. And still, the storms stayed.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOne small thing, Erin Watt

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems like a small thing, just for her. Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is… Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get. Now Beth has a choice to make–follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart… again. (Amazon summary)

First lines: “Hey there, pupster.” I laugh as Morgan, the Rennicks’ dog, races across the lawn and jumps up on my khaki pants.
“Sorry, Lizzie,” she says, rushing over to pull the big black mutt off without much success. She’s small and he’s so big that they’re about the same size.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsArthur: the seeing stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland

In late twelfth-century England, a thirteen-year-old boy named Arthur recounts how Merlin gives him a magical seeing stone which shows him images of the legendary King Arthur, the events of whose life seem to have many parallels to his own. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Tumber Hill! It’s my clamber-and-tumble-and-beech-and-bramble hill! Sometimes, when I’m standing on the top, I fill my lungs with air and I shout. I shout.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAscension, Victor Dixen

Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.
Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
She has signed up for glory.
She has signed up for love.
She has signed up for a one-way ticket.
Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets. (Goodreads summary)

First lines: “Léonor, how does it feel to be leaving the Earth for ever?
“Léonor, are you looking forward to it?”
“Léonor, are you scared?”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWereworld: nest of serpents, Curtis Jobling

War grips the seven realms. Young Werewolf Drew Ferran, rightful king of Westland, has rushed to the aid of the besieged Staglords, whose mountain stronghold is surrounded by the forces of the Werelion Prince Lucas. And deep in the haunted Dyrewood forest the Wereladies Gretchen and Whitley seek sanctuary within the city of Brackenholme. As Lyssia’s greatest war rumbles towards a thunderous climax, the lines between friend and foe are blurred. What if the enemy is one of their own? (Publisher summary)

First lines: “Did you hit him, master?”
The Lionguard scout lowered his bow, ignoring his apprentice. He stared out across the Longridings, squinting through the twilight at the evading Greencloak.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFugitive six, Pittacus Lore

he Human Garde Academy was created in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth. It was meant to provide a safe haven for teens across the globe who were suddenly developing incredible powers known as Legacies. Taylor Cook was one of the newest students and had no idea if she’d ever fit in. But when she was mysteriously abducted, her friends broke every rule in the book to save her. In the process, they uncovered a secret organization that was not only behind Taylor’s kidnapping but also the disappearance of numerous teens with abilities. An organization that has dark roots in the Loric’s past, untold resources, and potentially even a mole at their own school. Now these friends, who have become known to other students as the “Fugitive Six,” must work together to bring this mysterious group to an end before they can hurt anyone else. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Duanphen watched the beggar as he scurried through traffic with his bucket and rag. The boy couldn’t have been more than twelve, small, with a mop of greasy black hair. He picked his cars smartly – shiny ones with tinted with windows and drunk passengers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAfrika, Colleen Craig

Thirteen-year-old Kim, travels to South Africa with her journalist mother and must come to terms with the country’s diverse and often shocking history with the realization that she is not as removed from this powerful story as she thought. (Publisher information)

First lines: “Let’s go,” said Kim as the plane came to complete stop on the runway,
Her mom, the sort who could not stay still for a moment, sat like a statue beside her.
“I can’t,” she said.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAdam and Eve and Pinch-Me, Julia Johnston

“If you don’t want your heart broken, don’t let on you have one.” Sara Moone is an expert on broken hearts. She is a foster child who has been bounced from home to home, but now she is almost sixteen and can not live in the system forever. She vows that she will live in a cold, white place where nobody can hurt her again. But there is one more placement in store for Sara. She is sent to live with the Huddlestons on their sheep farm. There, despite herself, Sara learns that there is no escape from love. It has a way of catching you off guard, even when you try to turn your back. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Just shut up. I’d like to tell my brain to just shut up. Have you ever noticed how you can’t make your mind stop thinking even though you try to think about absolutely nothing?

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBrightly burning, Alexa Donne

Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship. On the Rochester , there’s no water ration, more books than one person could devour in a lifetime, and an AI who seems more friend than robot. But no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet. Surrounded by mysteries, Stella finds her equal in the brooding but kind nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo. When several attempts on his life spark more questions than answers, and the beautiful Bianca Ingram appears at Hugo’s request, his unpredictable behavior causes Stella’s suspicions to mount. Without knowing who to trust, Stella must decide whether to follow her head or her heart. (Publisher information)

First lines: The gravity stabilisers were failing again. I glanced up my sketchpad to see globules of liquid dancing up from drinking glass. They shimmered red, like droplets of blood, though I knew it was just cherry-flavoured nutri-drink. Dammit, that’s my protein ration for the day wasted.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSuitors and sabotage, Cindy Anstey

Shy aspiring artist Imogene feels conflicted about marrying the young man her father has chosen for her, but she is willing to at least give him a chance for her family’s sake. That is, until she meets Ben, a charming architect’s apprentice . . . and her suitor’s younger brother.Unbeknownst to Imogene, Ben feels the same way about her, but he can never let his true feelings be known without betraying his brother. So he resigns himself to merely a friendship with her, enlisting her to teach him how to draw. But hiding their true feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of unfortunate “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben serious harm. And as their affection for each other grows, so does the danger…(Publisher information)

First lines:”Jasper!”
Imogene Chively shouted as she jumped to her feet, flinging her sketch into the grass.
“Don’t move! Stay exactly where you are!”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSmall bones, Vicki Grant

Dot, whose name reflects her stature, has always had big dreams–but her dreams have to be put on hold while she searches for the truth about her parents. She gets a job as a seamstress at a lakeside resort in rural Ontario and falls hard for Eddie, a charming local boy who is equal parts helpful and distracting as Dot investigates her past. Searching for answers to questions about her birth, Dot learns more than she ever wanted to about the terrible effects of war, the legacy of deceit–and the enduring nature of love. (Publisher information)

First lines: It was dark and he didn’t know where he was going. He pulled over to check the map she’d drawn for him, but a lot of good that did. She hadn’t been there in years. She’d scribbled vague lines on the back of a soup label and said, “The turn is right before the gas station, or maybe right after,” then she’d drawn a long squiggle and, at the edge of the label, a box with a roof on it.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInnocent, Eric Walters

After the orphanage she lives in is destroyed by fire, Betty, an innocent and trusting teen, takes a job as a maid in Kingston, Ontario. Welcomed into the household of the wealthy Remington clan, Betty makes friends with the staff at the house and soon discovers that her mother had also been a maid there–and that her father is in a nearby jail, convicted of murdering her mother. When she meets her father, she is taken aback by his claims of innocence, and she decides to try to uncover the truth about her mother’s murder and her father’s conviction. A friendly young policeman assists her in her investigation (and shows an interest in Betty that is more romantic than professional). But all is not well in the Remington household, and someone doesn’t want Betty to learn the truth.(Publisher information)

First lines: The sun was beat down on me so brightly that I had to keep my eyes tightly closed. It felt so good. I was like a cat basking in the sun, drinking in the warmth, letting it soak in and fill me up. I could lie here all day.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStones on a grave, Kathy Kacer

Sara has never been out of the tiny town of Hope, Ontario, where she has been in an orphanage all her life. After a fire destroys the orphanage, clues about her parentage–a medical certificate and a Star of David–lead her to Germany. Despite her fears–she doesn’t speak the language, she knows no one in Germany, and she’s never been on an airplane–Sara arrives in Germany determined to explore her newly discovered Jewish heritage and solve the mystery of her parentage. What she encounters is a country still dealing with the aftermath of the Holocaust. With the help of a handsome, English-speaking German boy, she discovers the sad facts of her mother’s brief existence and faces the horrible truth about her father. Ultimately, the knowledge she gains opens up her world and leads her to a deeper understanding of herself. (Publisher information)

First lines: The smoke was choking Sara, sucking the air out of her lungs. It billowed in massive clouds from the orphanage roof, exploding like lava and pouring across the sky. Sara stood on the lawn facing the disintegrating building, shaking uncontrollably. She pulled a blanket around her shoulders, wondering briefly briefly how it had gotten there. Had she grabbed it when she ran from her room? Everything was a blur.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTruly, wildly, deeply, Jenny McLachlan

Annie is starting college. She can’t wait. No more school, no more uniform, and no one telling her what to do. It’s the start of a new adventure and Annie’s not going to let anyone or anything get in the way of that. Freedom matters to Annie. She has cerebral palsy and she’s had to fight hard to get the world to see her for who she truly is. Then she meets Fab. He’s six foot two, Polish and a passionate believer in, well, just about everything, but most of all Annie and good old fashioned romance. The moment Fab sees Annie, he’s wildly drawn to her and declares she must be his girl. Annie’s horrified. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s anything, especially if it means losing her independence. But then Annie finds herself falling for Fab. As things go deeply wrong, Annie realises that love can make you do wild, crazy things, and so she sets out to win his heart with a romantic gesture of truly epic proportions! (Publisher information)

First lines: I am sitting on train waiting for my adult life to begin. If my mum wasn’t standing on the platform watching me this would be a really kick-ass moment.
“Go away,” I mouth through the glass, but she just smiles, sips at her frappuccino and stays exactly where she is. So I stick my tongue at her and she sticks her middle finger back at me. For an infant-school teacher, she can be very ride.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe traitor’s game, Jennifer A. Nielsen

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for. (Publisher information)

First lines: The truth of where I’d been for the past three years wasn’t anyone believed. It wasn’t exile, as my father claimed. The Lava Fields were barren and unforgiving, and charming in the way that discovering a thorn with one’s bare foot might be charming. But I’d gladly choose to live there before sacrificing my happiness for my father’s political demands.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStumped, Kate Larkindale

Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake. But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off – into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up with both legs amputated above the knees. When his girlfriend runs out gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He’s convinced he’s blown any chance of having a real relationship with a girl. Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into an underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price is much higher than a sex worker’s fee. (Publisher information).

First lines: The sunlight bouncing off the water is blinding. To keep from dazzled, I stare down at my toes. Three dark hairs coil across the big toe on my left foot. Only one hair adorns the right. I puzzle over this whole the other swimmers line up. Will Lainey think I’m a freak for having mismatched toe hair. Do girls notice that kind of thing?

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