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Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Tag: Sports Page 1 of 2

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!

Looking forward to:

The Boy on the Bridge, Natalie Standiford (August) – “Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia – a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she’s been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right? As June approaches – when Laura must return to the United States – Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She’s only nineteen and doesn’t think she’s ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn’t she take it?” (goodreads.com). A history lesson and love story all in one. I think Natalie Standiford is great, so this I am looking forward to. This one could be given the coverflip treatment, some people suggest. We shall see!

Stupid Fast, Nothing Special and I’m With Stupid, Geoff Herbach. Over one summer, Felton Reinstein grows into an American Football sensation – he’s always been stupid fast, but now he’s so busy being a jock he hardly has time to notice his family life is coming apart. Reviews say this series is great for fans of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, for example, or Godless, by Pete Hautman. Note: I’m With Stupid will get here before the others, so if you want to read them in order you might like to suspend your reserve on that one!

Thorn Abbey, Nancy Ohlin (July/August) – this one is a reimagining of the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (which, incidentally, has the famous first sentence, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”). “Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss. Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary – everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max. Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…” (goodreads.com) You can read the prologue at the author’s website here.

If He Had Been With Me, Laura Nowlin (July/August) – This has been getting great reviews, but be warned, it’s saaad! “Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable – they finished each other’s sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she’s always wondered what if… The night she’s about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.” (goodreads.com)

New Books

Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow (384 pages) – In near-future England, the law has become really tight with digital downloads. If you’re caught three times your household’s internet is blocked for a year. Which is actually not too dissimilar to NZ, actually. Anyway, sixteen-year-old Trent, moviemaker and downloader, gets banned, nearly destroying his family – they all rely on the internet for work. He runs away to London and joins up with like-minded people who are fighting the wealthy media conglomerates that control the government.

First line: ‘I will never forget the day my family got cut off from the Internet, I was hiding in my room as I usually did after school let out, holed up with a laptop I’d bought thirdhand and that I nursed to health with parts from here and there and a lot of cursing and sweat.

Burning Blue, by Paul Griffin (293 pages) – Rich, popular, and pretty Nicole is attacked by someone who throws acid on her face, disfiguring her. Quiet hacker Jay, who goes to her school, decides that he will find out who it was that attacked Nicole, and in the process he begins to fall for Nicole, whose personality is pretty attractive also, evidently.

First lines: ‘I was at the cemetery when it happened. I didn’t even know Nicole at the time. Well, I knew of her. Everybody did.

All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin (225 pages) – Alex is super-pretty, and her parents are rich, so she lives the life. Her sister, Thea, doesn’t quite have the looks, however, and she’s jealous of Alex’s boyfriend, Joshua. They have the house to themselves one weekend and plan a party; Thea also plans to sabotage Alex’s relationship, and she will do anything to get the life that Alex wants. ANYTHING

First line: ‘She gets into the car and then she can’t drive it. Can’t even start the engine for the gift of the air conditioner. She is a living corpse roasting in sun-warmed leather.

The Blood Keeper, by Tessa Gratton (422 pages) – Mab Prowd is a blood witch, and spends her time practising blood magic on the remote Kansas farm where she and other blood witches hang out, doing their thing (i.e., blood magic) and avoiding non-blood magic studies. Mab accidently activates a long-dead and powerful curse, which messes with her magic. It does result in her meeting Will Sanger, a local boy, for whom she develops an attachment. Ooooh

First line: ‘The last thing the Deacon said to me before he died was “Destroy those roses.”

The Lost Prince, by Julie Kagawa (395 pages) – This is book five of The Iron Fey series. It’s about fairies! But not Rainbow Magic fairies, that’s for sure. In this volume Ethan Chase, whose dislike of the Faery realm is such that he ignores them all, has to break his own rules when the Fey start to disappear and his family is endangered.

First lines: ‘My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday. That’s not me being dramatic; it just is.

Illumination, by Karen Brooks (664 pages) – This is book III of The Curse of the Bond Riders, following on from Tallow and Votive. Now Tallow ‘sets in motion forces beyond her control. From Serenissima to Farrowfare, enemies – as well as those she has always trusted – plot to ensure her compliance and, ultimately, destruction. But in doing so, they make a fatal mistake – they underestimate her and the power she can wield.’ Yes I just copied and pasted that

First lines: ‘Dawn infused the glade with a sickly light. In the distance, an owl gave a tired hoot and a gentle wind stirred the trees.

The Assassin’s Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke (298 pages) – Ananna is told that she has to marry some dude from another pirate clan. She’s not keen so abandons ship, only to have an assassin sent after her. She accidently misuses her magic, cursing them both – her and the assassin – and binding them together. To break the curse they must complete three tasks, and soon romance blossoms betwixt them, yarrr.

First line: ‘I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.

99 Flavours of Suck, by Tania Hutley (237 pages) – Kane’s mother is a dog-whisperer with her own television show, and together they track down a sheep-killing dog for her show. He gets bitten and transforms into some kind of werewolf, which results in nonstop itching (among other things). The only way to break the curse is a kiss from his soulmate, Pippa, who unfortunately hates his guts.

First line: ‘On my babe-scale, Pippa Jensen shoots past infinity.

The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron (318 pages) – Katherine is told to sort out her uncle, who is reportedly insane and squandering the family fortune. However, she finds that he’s a genius with clockwork who has employed an entire village of people rescued from London workhouses, and his apprentice is hot. She’s torn between the family she’s part of, the people he’s helping, and the hot apprentice in this romantic gothic adventure.

First lines: ‘Warm sun and robin’s-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum. I had settled this point four hours earlier, while miles of road slipped beneath the carriage wheels.

Regine’s Book : A Teen Girl’s Last Words, by Regine Stokke (329 pages) – Regine Stokke was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, and started a blog in which she  wrote about the last year of her life (she died a year later). This book is reproduction of her blog and many of the comments she received from the hundreds of followers she had, and is full of photos, and you might need a box of tissues with you when you read it.

First line: ‘Tuesday, Nov 4 2008 – Disclaimer; I’ve decided to start a blog about what it’s like to get a life-threatening disease. Some of the content will therefore be too heavy for some people.

The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski (408 pages) – At the age of five, Darcy Jones was abandoned outside a firestation in Chicago. She doesn’t remember much but the new boy – Conn – at her high school awakens old memories. She discovers that she’s in fact from an alternate timeline where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and where Shades prey on humans. She must infiltrate the Shadow Society to reveals what the Shades have planned.

First line: ‘Knowing what I know now, I’d say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing a kitchen knife at me.

Game Changer, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (250 pages) – KT Sutton is the star pitcher of her softball team, and so her life is pretty much softball-centred. However, she blacks out during a game and awakens in a world where sports and academia have reversed roles. Sports is taught all day long, with hours of tedious practice, while everyone obsesses over after-school academic competition.

First lines: ‘KT Sutton swung her arm in a phantom arc. Her hand released a phantom ball. The perfect pitch.

Some Links

If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, and you’re interested in Between the Lines, the new novel she has written with her daughter Samantha Van Leer, then here’s a Radio New Zealand interview they did together today, talking about the inspiration for stories, who to cast in the movie, and other such writerly things.

Here’s a lovely salute to Margaret Mahy by American author Kristin Cashore, focussing on the many reasons why MM’s young adult writing is so wonderful, and so deservedly award-winning.

If you are interested in the Olympic Games and statistics, the New York Times has a map of medals won by country from 1896 to 2008. It is pretty cool (if you’re not into stats) and very interesting (if you are). In 1984 New Zealand won enough medals for “New Zealand” to appear on its circle.

NPR.com (National Public Radio, I believe) in the US is compiling a list of the best young adult novels ever. You can vote for your favourites (a bit of good taste from New Zealand won’t hurt).

Cover Cousins: Football

Maybe it’s a bit counter intuitive to post about American football in the lead up week to the Rugby World Cup, however here are two similar covers that couldn’t slink under the radar:

    

Payback Time, Carl Deuker – told from the perspective of an un-athletic school sports reporter, Payback Time tells the story of a successful Seattle high school football team, and most particularly their secret weapon Angel.

Leverage, Joshua C Cohen – a challenging story of steroids, football, and bullying, and the way that things can escalate out of control in a terrible way.

There are more book cover patterns here.

New Books

A Match Made in High School, Kristin Walker (278 pages) – some bright spark teacher at Fiona’s high school has decided to make her class do the mother of all social experiments/class projects called “Trying the Knot”: they have to be “married” for a year, and the mandatory pairings produce a story that is “laugh-out-loud funny, unpredictable, and fresh”, says Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

First sentence: I should have known.

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison, Lara M Zeises (228 pages) – read this if you like culinary things. Stella is the daughter of a famous chef (father) and restaurant owner (mother), but she’s more into food of the fast variety, so when she lands a summer job as a food writer she’s in for a challenge. But the summer also brings on other challenges of the relationship variety, with her own confused romances, and the lives of her separated parents.

Last line: “So what’s for dinner?” I say. “I’m starving.”

Leverage, Joshua C Cohen (425 pages) – the author is a gymnast and acrobat: the photo on the back cover proves it to be so. Anyhow Leverage is about the cauldron of high school sport, and the friendship between the school fullback (American football has fullbacks: Friday Night Lights taught me so) and a gymnast that grows out of the wake of what the book calls a “violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war”. [Edited to add: It’s not for the faint hearted.]

First sentence: The high bar’s chalky bite threatens to rip the yellowed calluses right off my palms at the bottom of the swing, where the pull is heaviest.

The Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney (289 pages) – Donna Underwood needs Harry Potter as a mentor! Practically an orphan after the fey attacked and killed her father and drove her mother mad, she’s left with injuries that are magically fixed, but her hands and arms are covered with iron tattoos. Which makes her a powerful weapon in the war between humans and fairies. So, when her best friend is abducted by wood elves, Donna must accept her fate in order to save her friend (with the help of the gorgeous Xan).

First sentence: My father died saving my life when I was seven years old.

Abandon, Meg Cabot (292 pages) – A new Meg Cabot series! Following an accident (and while being worked on by hospital staff) Pierce died briefly and visited the Underworld, where she met a mysterious boy. The following year, a mysterious boy shows up at her school: the same mysterious boy. He wants to take her back. You might learn something about Persephone and Greek mythology while reading.

First sentence: Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

The Dark Flight Down, Marcus Sedgwick (234 pages) – the conclusion to The Book of Dead Days. Boy and Willow are held captive in the Emperor Frederick’s palace where they are in constant danger, and must follow a “deadly trail” that will lead them to the Phantom. A gothic fantasy thriller.

First sentence: Midnight at the Imperial Court of Emperor Frederick III.

Chime, Franny Billingsley (361 pages) – Briony is a witch, a fact that she keeps secret on pain of death. She thinks herself to be dark and evil, until Eldric arrives and refuses to believe there is anything bad about her. Can his faith in her save her from death or insanity? “A wild, haunting mystery and romance,” says the cover.

First sentence: I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged.

Afterlife, Claudia Gray (360 pages) – over to you, back cover: “Packed with romance, suspense and page-turning drama, Afterlife delivers a heart-stopping conclusion that won’t disappoint the many fans who have made the Evernight series such a runaway success.” So yes basically, if you’ve been reading Evernight you must read this one!

First sentence: “Sunrise is coming,” Balthazar said.

Still Sucks to be Me, Kimberly Pauley (374 pages) – Mina is a teen vampire, who has had to fake her own death in order to deal with the whole never-aging problem. Sensible! So, she’s had to move to a new town, without her bff and her boyfriend, where she finds herself in relationship tangles that even “vampire superstrength” can’t sort. The sequel to Sucks to be Me.

First sentence: I, Mina Hamilton, am officially dead.

Blink & Caution, Tim Wynne-Jones (342 pages) – cool cover (there are, like, bullet holes)! Blink and Caution are actually people, on the run (separately) until they run into each other, with Blink the unfortunate only witness to a crime and Caution escaping from her drug-dealer boyfriend. Can they work together to get out of their messes, and maybe perhaps begin an unlikely friendship?

First sentence: Look up at the Plaza Regent, Blink, in the shivery morning light.

New Books

August, Bernard Beckett (204 pages, New Zealand author) – Tristan and Grace are in a car wreck, waiting for rescue (if it happens!). As they wait, as one does, they review their very different lives and philosophies. “A compelling novel about will, freedom and what it means to live” (cover).

First sentence: For a moment the balance was uncertain.

Scorpia Rising, Anthony Horowitz (402 pages) – the final mission, the cover declares! No! Alex must put Scorpia out of business, once and for all, but is this the mission to end all missions, and to end Alex? We hope not!

First sentence: The man in the black cashmere coat climbed down the steps of his private, six-seater Learjet 40 and stood for a moment, his breath frosting in the chill morning air.

Where She Went, Gayle Forman (260 pages) – the follow up to the über popular If I Stay. Three years after Mia ended it with Adam they’re back together for one night in New York City, a chance to put things to rest (or to respark something?).

First sentence: Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: it’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.

Plague, Michael Grant (526 pages) – the fourth in the Gone series. Quelle horreur, this one sounds ghastly. There is a plague threatening Perdido Beach (one that is described in graphic detail on the back cover! Guts! Being eaten away from the inside out!), and there’s still the grim reality of what happens to you at fifteen.

First sentence: He stood poised on the edge of a sheet of glass.

Invincible, Sherrilyn Kenyon (420 pages) – The second on the Chronicles of Nick series. Poor Nick is once again challenged by the presence of all manner of horrific supernatural creatures, affecting his life in so many ways, from the inconvenient (his principal thinks he’s gone to the bad, making school a problematic place) to the downright deadly; he must figure out how to raise the dead or he might find himself counted as one of them.

First sentence: They say when you’re about to die, you see your entire life flash before your eyes.

The Running Dream, Wendelin Van Draanen (332 pages) – Puts one’s own annoying, minor running injuries into perspective. Jessica is a runner, until she’s involved in a terrible accident and loses a leg. A story of coming to terms with a significant loss, reestablishing your identity and your place, and overcoming odds.

First sentence: My life is over.

All You Get is Me, Yvonne Prinz (279 pages) – Roar’s father goes all green on her, installing  them on an organic farm, where she must spend the summer adjusting  from her city sensibilities, coping with falling in love, the fact that her mother is gone, and with the fallout from her father’s crusade against the bad working conditions of Mexican farm workers.

First sentence: My mom always promised me she would keep me safe, and then she disappeared.

As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth, Lynne Rae Perkins (352 pages) – Ry’s train strands him in the middle of seriously nowhere and he’s got to get to somewhere, a journey that is peppered by a series of scrapes, mishaps and “comedic calamities” (catalogue).

First sentences: Wait a minute. Was the – had the train just moved?

The Floating Islands, Rachel Neumeier (388 pages) – “The adventures of two teenaged cousins who live in a place called The Floating Islands, one of whom is studying to become a mage and the other one of the legendary island flyers” (library catalogue).

First sentence: Trei was fourteen the first time he saw the Floating Islands.

The Education of Hailey Kendrick, Eileen Cook (256 pages) – Hailey is the perfect girl who never does anything wrong, until one night, together with a secret accomplice, she does something quite wrong and gets into a rather lot of trouble, which her secret accomplice escapes. Now her friends don’t want to know her, her teachers don’t trust her, everything’s a mess, and she’s keeping quiet about the identity of said secret accomplice. Is it worth it?

First sentence: There was a matter of life and death to deal with, and instead we were wasting our time discussing Mandy Gallaway’s crotch.

New Books

Here are last week’s new books, this week! This week’s new books may be announced this week, or next week. Who can say.

Elixir : A Novel, by Hilary Duff (with Elise Allen) (330 pages) – You may have heard of Hilary Duff – she’s been on the telly and recorded some albums I think – and she now turns her hands to writing a novel. Elixir is about Clea, whose photographs begin to show a ghostly/gorgeous man at about the same time her father, a renowned surgeon, disappears.

First lines: ‘I couldn’t breathe. Wedged in the middle of an ocean of people, I gasped for air, but nothing came.

Bamboo People : A Novel, by Mitali Perkins (272 pages) – Chiko is forced into the Burmese army; Tu Reh is a refugee, a member of an oppressed Burmese minority, and he’s keen to join the resistance. The two boys’ stories come to a ‘violent intersection’ and an unlikely friendship forms.

First lines: ‘Teachers wanted. Applicants must take examination in person. Salaries start at –

Sugar and Spice : An L. A. Candy Novel, by Lauren Conrad (279 pages) – This is the last book in this series about some TV reality show (much like The Hills which made Conrad famous in the first place). 

First line: ‘“Over here!” “Let’s get a shot of the two of you!” “Smile, girls!” Jane Roberts felt hands on her shoulders – her publicist? random PopTV assistants? – maneuver her into place as several paprazzi shouted out to her and Scarlett Harp.

The Daughters, by Joanna Philbin (297 pages) – A supermodel’s unconventional-looking daughter becomes “the new face of beauty”. Everyone is surprised but they roll with it. The first in a series.

First line: ‘“Katia!” “Katia!” “Over here!” “Over here!”

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly (471 pages) – Andi is about to be expelled from her swanky Brooklyn school, so goes to Paris with her father as some sort of punishment. She finds a diary writen two centuries previously by a girl, Alexandrine, who became involved with a French prince just as the French Revolution begins. Andi finds comfort and distraction in the journal, until the past ‘becomes terrifyingly real’.

First line: ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, deejay.’

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld (Illustrations by Keith Thompson) (485 pages) – This is the second book in the Leviathan Trilogy. We wrote about the first book here. This a great read – it has steam-powered mechs, genetically-engineered flying ships, and a Tesla cannon. That’s right – a freaking TESLA CANNON.

First line: ‘Alek raised his sword. “On guard, sir!”

Duff : The Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Kody Keplinger (280 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Bianca detests Wesley, who calls her “the Duff”. Not Hilary Duff! But family troubles and other circumstantial occurences result in the pair becoming more than enemies. Less than enemies? They fall in love, in any case.

First line: ‘This was getting old.’

Scandal, by Kate Brian (228 pages) – The lastest in the Private series. ‘After her terrifying Carribean vacation,’ says the back cover, ‘Reed can’t wait to get back to Easton and resume her normal life of classes, shopping trips and late-night gossip sessions.’ Reed’s in for a shock, however, as Billings house has been demolished and the Billings girls have been separated by the admin.

First line: ‘We came from all corners of campus.

Boost, by Kathy Mackel (248 pages) – Savvy is over six feet tall, and only thirteen. When you’re tall everyone asks you if you play basketball over and over, let me tell you, but Savvy actually does play and loves it. But she’s too light! So she turns to steroids.

First line: ‘I stood at the free throw line, all eyes on me.

Jane, by April Lindner (373 pages) – This is a modern re-telling of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s cheery classic novel. This is set in the present, so Rochester becomes Nico Rathburn, world-famous rockstar, and Jane Moore, an orphaned student-turned-nanny is the protaganist. Sticks to the original story while being ‘something totally new and captivating,’ according to Cecily von Ziegesar.

First line: ‘The chairs in the lobby of Discriminating Nannues, Inc., were less comfortable that they looked.’

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (260 pages) – From the authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is also a movie! Will this be a movie also? Yes, apparently.

First line: ‘Imagine this: you’re in your favourite bookstore, scanning the shelves.

The Three Loves of Persimmon, by Cassandra Golds (211 pages) – Persimmon Polidori owns a florist shop in an underground train station. She meets up with a brave little mouse named Epiphany, and undergoes ‘the trials of love, heartbreak, doubt and the discovery of her own true nature.’

First line: ‘In a tiny hole under the train tracks on the deepest level of a vast underground railway station, lived a mouse called Epiphany.

The Blue-Eyed Aborigine, by Rosemary Hayes (247 pages) – This historical novel is based on fact; in 1629, the crew of a Dutch ship mutinied and the boat wrecked near Australia. Two of the crew, a cabin boy and a young soldier, survive and their fates are linked with ‘discoveries that intrigue Australians  to this day.’

First lines: ‘Jan Pelgrom was miserable. He’d been a cabin boy for more than five years.

The Jumbee, by Pamela Keyes (385 pages) – Esti Legard moves to a Caribbean island for her senior year in high school. There she ‘finds herself torn between a mysterious, masked mentor and a seductive island boy’, in a scenario borrowed from the classic novel, The Phantom of the Opera.

First line: ‘“Paul is dead!”

The Ghosts of Ashbury High, by Jaclyn Moriarty (480 pages) – The catalogue has this to say: ‘Student essays, scholarship committee members’ notes, and other writings reveal interactions between a group of modern-day students at an exclusive New South Wales high school and their strange connection to a young Irishman transported to Australia in the early 1800s.’

Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (418 pages) – At the age of four, Bryn’s parents were killed by bad werewolves. She was taken and raised by good werewolves! Years later she discovers that her pack are keeping secrets. Dark werewolf secrets about her family, that she’s determined to uncover (the secrets, not her family).

First line: ‘“Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare!”

100% Justin Bieber : First Step 2 Forever : My Story, by Justin Bieber (236 pages) – This is the tween pop star’s official autobiography, discussing his rapid rise to power. Where to next for Bieber? It has loads of photos and a reasonable amount of text.

Top 10 Surfing

From the Nantucket Historical AssociationAs expected, there’s a bit of surfing happening in YA fiction, thanks largely to Australian writers. If you’re into surfing you might like one or two of these. There’s also a lot of self-discovery, and a hint of danger, if you’d prefer.

  1. Single Fin, Aaron Topp – A New Zealand contribution. “Fin lives to party and to surf the next wave but when his best friend and mentor, Mike, dies he is left alone. Fin goes to live with Mike’s uncle, a farmer down the coast, and begins to adjust to life on the farm. But when Jack, Mike’s younger cousin, is expelled from boarding school things change. Jack comes to live on the farm and he and Fin don’t get along. When Jack discovers surfing Fin is pressured into fighting demons he thought he had shut away for good.” (Catalogue)
  2. Starfish Sisters, J C Burke – Four girls are at an elite surfing camp. At first they are jealously competitive, then they learn that friendship might bring out the best in all of them and make them better surfers. Australian title number one. There’s also a sequel: Ocean Pearl in which the Starfish Sisters must get back together (or can they?).
  3. Surf Mules, Greg Neri – Logan’s friend Fin dies in a freak, giant-surf accident, and his father’s having money troubles, so Logan hits the road with his dodgy friend Z-Boy. Road trips, surfing, illegal dealings, and, ultimately, tragedy.
  4. Surf School, Laurine Croasdale – Tilly and her friends are all into surfing, and Tilly’s father runs a surf school. When he’s injured in a hit and run accident, Tilly must – with the help of her friends – (hopefully) keep the school running.
  5. Last Wave, Paul Hayden – Matt “Owl” has just finished high school and plans to enjoy the summer surfing with his mates, which sounds idyllic, which usually means in fiction land things are going to take a turn for the worse, and “Owl will learn what it really means to lose something you love” (catalogue).
  6. Raw Blue, Kirsty Eagar – another Australian effort: something bad happened to Carly two years ago, and she’s dropped out of university to surf and work at a café. Then she meets Ryan, and is propelled to face what happened, and sink or swim.
  7. Amaryllis, Craig Crist-Evans – Jimmy loves surfing with his brother Frank, but then Frank is called up to fight in the Vietnam war. The story of both brothers, Frank’s told through his letters to Jimmy. Amaryllis is the name of a shipwreck off the coast of Florida, where the brothers live.
  8. In the Break, Jack Lopez – another road trip/ surfing combo. Juan heads for Mexico with his friend Jamie and his (Juan’s) sister Amber after Jamie has a violent confrontation with his father. Along the way (on said road trip) they experience romance, tragedy… and the perfect wave.
  9. Surf Ache, Gerry Bobsien – Ella and her family move from Melbourne to Newcastle, and Ella struggles to adjust until she’s bitten by the surfing bug that’s all over Newcastle. Ella must, I think, also choose between dancing – which she loved in Melbourne – and surfing, and between her long-distance boyfriend and Snowy.
  10. Still Waving, Laurene Kelly – Julie is trying to get over a family tragedy, spending time surfing in her new town, but when the summer holidays arrive she must face the prospect of returning to the family farm and facing what happened.

Want to talk surfing like a pro? There are heaps of surf slang sites on the internet, for example, Riptionary.com.

Again New Books

Friday’s offering:

The Unwritten Rule, Elizabeth Scott (210 pages) – The unwritten rule is of course don’t fancy your best friend’s boyfriend (a theme from the last batch of new books). This time, Sarah’s doing a pretty good job of avoiding Ryan (being Brianna’s boyfriend), until they’re “thrown together” one night. The first sentence sums it up.

First sentence: I liked him first, but it doesn’t matter.

After Tupac & D Foster, Jacqueline Woodson (151 pages) – Neeka and her best friend form a bond with D Foster, and the three girls explore life, and the music of Tupac Shakur, learning tough lessons in the process. (A Newbery Honor Book)

First sentence: The summer before D Foster’s real mama came and took her away, Tupac wasn’t dead yet.

Stuck on Earth, David Klass (227 pages) – Ketchvar III comes to Earth in order to answer the following question: “Should the Sandovinians release the Gagnerian Death Ray and erase the human species for good?” In order to do this (answer the question, not erase the species) he inhabits the brain of Tom Filber, the geekiest geek, ironically almost an alien himself, so geeky is he. Needless to say, Ketchvar becomes quite involved in Tom’s life, which may well be a good thing for Earth.

First sentence: We are skimming over the New Jersey countryside in full search mode, hunting a fourteen-year-old.

Split, Swati Avasthi (280 pages) – Jace Witherspoon has escaped his abusive home and gone to live with his brother. “A riveting portrait of what happens after,” the cover says.

First sentence: Now I have to start lying.

It’s Not Summer Without You, Jenny Han (275 pages) – the sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty. “Teenaged Isobel ‘Belly’ Conklin, whose life revolves around spending the summer at her mother’s best friend’s beach house, reflects on the tragic events of the past year that changed her life forever.” (Catalogue)

First sentence: It was a hot summer day in Cousins.

Shooting Star, Frederick McKissack Jr (273 pages) – Jomo Rodgers is a very good (American) football player, on the varsity team at school etc. He feels the pressure to be more than very good, cranks up the training and finds himself dealing with the question, to use steroids or not?

First sentence: Breathing is a natural process, yet Jomo Rodgers found himself flat on his back trying to remember how to do it.

Broken Memory, Elisabeth Combres (132 pages) – Emma’s mother is murdered by the Tutsis, and Emma (a Tutsi) is taken in by an old Hutu woman and brought up in her home, gradually coming to terms with her terrible past. A story inspired by the genocide in Rwanda.

First sentence: They are there.

Headgames, Casey Lever (282 pages) – Steven Byrd learns the hard way that girls who think you’re a waste of space and who then invite you to be a part of their secret game are probably up to no good. “Everyone has secrets. But who will be the first to crack?” asks the cover.

First line(s): Bell. Ancient History. Ms Landers was away on Year 9 camp, so the class had been off-loaded onto the Resource Centre.

Lockdown, Alexander Gordon Smith (273 pages) – The first in the Escape from Furnace series. Furnace is a maximum security prison, a mile under the earth’s surface. When Alex Sawyer is convicted of a murder he didn’t commit he is sent there, and realises quickly he must escape or face a life worse than death.

First sentence: If I stopped running I was dead.

No and Me, Delphine de Vigan (246 pages) – Lou lives in a quietly disfunctional family, where her father is barely holding up and her mother hasn’t left their appartment for years. She meets No, a homeless girl, and invites her to live with them. A novel about ” the true nature of home and homelessness”.

First sentence: “Miss Bertignac, I don’t see your name on the list of presentations.”

Daywards, Anthony Eaton (3341 pages) – Book three in the Darklands trilogy. Dara, Jaran, Eyna and their family must leave their home when the ghosts of a dead civilisation return to haunt them.

First sentence: The day Da Janil died, Dara had expected to be let off hunting duty.

The Summer I Got a Life, Mark Fink (195 pages) – Andy and Brad are brothers who don’t exactly get along. When their Hawaii holiday turns into time on their uncle and aunt’s farm in Wisconsin things might seem to be distinctly average, but then Andy meets Laura, who is amazing, and all things considered the summer might end up being not so terrible.

First sentence: I was totally pumped!

Also:

Anonymity Jones, James Roy (196 pages)

Finders Keepers, Marilyn Kaye (216 pages, Gifted series)

Where There’s Smoke, John Heffernan (205 pages)

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