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Summer Reads + Things To Do With Your Friend/Crush

It’s Summer! School’s out and the world is your proverbial oyster. But maybe you’re not sure what to read over the break? Perhaps you’re feeling bored and have forgotten what to do with that mythical concept called free time? Look no further, we’ve got you covered! I’ve put together a list of some excellent books, and not only that, each book has an accompanying activity to invite your friend/crush to! Now go get some books, and have an excellent Summer break.

The way you make me feel / Goo, Maurene
“Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #1 : Take a Sunday walk down the waterfront to the Habourside Market for some food truck and dog-spotting galore!

Love & gelato / Welch, Jenna Evans
“Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, and she’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #2 : Go get some refreshing gelato/ice-cream.

Happily ever afters / Bryant, Elise
“Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Tessa needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #3 : Go for a wander around Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s many second-hand bookstores and try to find the perfect/weirdest book. 

Leah on the offbeat / Albertalli, Becky
“Leah Burke is an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom; her life is decidedly less privileged. Even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends– not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it’s hard for Leah to strike the right note.  If only real life was as rhythmic as her drumming…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #4 : Take inspo from our music loving protagonist Leah and go see a band at Gardens Magic. Make sure to get there early to secure a good picnic spot, and don’t miss the light installations around the gardens.

Summer of salt / Leno, Katrina
“No one on the island of By-the-Sea would call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you need the odd bit of help, such as a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight, they are the ones to ask. Georgina Fernweh waits for the tingle of magic in her fingers– magic that has already touched her twin sister, Mary. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of her last summer on the island, Georgina fears her gift will never come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #5 :  Go to the beach! The beach is great! Just remember to be safe; use plenty of sunblock and NEVER LOOK A SEAGULL DIRECTLY IN THE EYES.

Keep my heart in San Francisco / Coombs, Amelia Diane
“Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—but her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco.things” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #6 : Go bowling! It’s a fun activity to do in your spare time. It might seem uncool, but personally that’s just how I roll. I wonder how many of these puns I can sneak into this blog post before Stephen asks me to spare you all from my jokes. I might be told to put a pin in it, but I will keep making puns forever until I am banned and if that happens…I will go on strike. Anyways, go bowling.

Editor’s note: Your pun quota is getting awfully close to being full, Alayne. I’m watching you. — SC

I think I love you / Desombre, Auriane
“A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another—at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance. Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #7 : The easy offer here is that you simply go to a movie, but everyone goes to the movies. Why not have a go at making a movie? Lots of films are shot on phones these days and you can even checkout the filmmaking courses on LinkedIn Learning, free with your library card.

This time will be different / Sugiura, Misa
“Katsuyamas never quit — but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop. She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of. Then her mom decides to sell the shop — to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #8 : Do you know about Wellington’s Hidden Gardens? Until December 15th, you can discover seven hidden gardens across Pōneke. There will be secret events happening at every garden, and each is designed to a specific theme. For more information, check out the Wellington City Council website here.

It’s time for a summer romance

It’s officially summer and to kick off the season we’ve got some appropriately fluffy summer romance novels for you. If you want your heartstrings tugged – in summer! – you’ve come to the right place.

Syndetics book coverAlong for the ride, Sarah Dessen

“It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents divorce, or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend the summer with her dad and his new family in a charming beach town. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTwenty boy summer, Sarah Ockler

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverGreat, Sara Benincasa

“Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on beloved classic The Great Gatsby, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

Syndetics book coverOne man guy, Michael Barakiva

“When it appears that Alek is going to fall off the Honor Track at school, the 14-year-old’s strict Armenian parents, for whom education is of paramount importance, insist he go to summer school. Little do they or he know that it will be a life-changing experience. For it is there that he meets Ethan, who epitomizes cool. To Alek’s amazement, the two become friends and then fall in love. But when Alek’s parents predictably find the two making out, they ground him and forbid him to see Ethan again. Surely, this can’t end well. Or can it?” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverTo all the boys I’ve loved before, Jenny Han

“Lara Jean writes plenty of love letters, but she never sends them. It’s just her way of moving on from a crush. When her secret box of letters goes missing and she discovers they’ve been mailed including one to her sister’s ex-boyfriend Lara Jean has to come face-to-face with her past and in the process learn more about her future.” (Booklist)


Syndetics book coverTeen idol, Meg Cabot

When teenage heartthrob Luke Stryker shows up at a small-town Indiana high school to do research for a movie role, he persuades junior Jenny Greenley to use her considerable talents to try to change things at school for the better.” (Goodreads)

New Books

It’s not quite summer, but some days, with all the sunshine happening it feels a lot like it is. Well it certainly looks like it from here in the library where we can’t feel the cold, only see the sunshine.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNantucket Blue, Leila Howland (294 pages) – For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams. Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t. When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer. But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on- most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits- that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality. A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

First lines: “Even without Holly Howard and Dori Archer, who’d been suspended for drinking on campus, we were supposed to win that game. The sun was high and white, and the breeze carried the scent of sweaty, shampooed girls and a whiff of the fresh asphalt from the schools paved driveway.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy Beautiful Hippie, Janet Nichols Lynch (186 pages) – It’s 1967, and Joanne’s San Francisco neighborhood has been invaded by hippies coming to be part of the “summer of love” – a development that thrills Joanne but disgusts her parents. In the midst of preparations for her sister’s wedding, Joanne meets Martin, an enigmatic and irresistible hippie, and begins to see him secretly. Over the course of the next year, Joanne discovers and an alternative culture of acid tests, street theater, anti-war demonstrations, and psychedelic dances that both fascinates and frightens her. But as her two worlds collide, Joanne must decide whether to stay in her middle-class family or follow free-spirited Martin into a new kind of life.

First lines: “I was in a hurry as usual, rushing down the hill on Ashbury street. Only minutes before Denise’s bridal shower was about start, my mother had sent me to the Sunrise Market for a tub of Cool Whip. I turned the corner onto Haight Street and smacked right into him.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRules of Summer, Joanna Philbin (337 pages) – When seventeen-year-old Rory MchShane steps off the train in East Hampton, it’s as if she has entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing designer clothes and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be the summer errand girl for the Rules – a wealthy family with an enormous beach-front mansion. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done. Stifled by her friends and her family’s country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It’s the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory’s own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, with the Rules’ picture-perfect world ever be the same?

First lines: “She really should have just told someone. Just dropped it casually into conversation the last day of school, when people were talking about their summer plans. Oh, really? You’re going to tennis camp? You’re spending a month at Wildwood? You got that internship in New York that you applied for six months ago? Well that’s great. I’ll be spending the summer in the Hamptons.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRiptide, Lindsey Scheibe (277 pages) – Grace has one summer to prove she’s good enough. For Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment. Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego. She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high expectations. When Ford enters Grace into a surf competition—the only way she can impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the only things that ever mattered?

First lines: “I stretch out my legs, enjoying the hot sand against my calves. Early morning sun creates an orange sheen on the ocean as I search for a big set of waves. The endless white formations roll in; lines of blurred corduroy become distinct opportunities – or not – as they roll closer to the local surf break.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, Sarah Strohmeyer (295 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Zoe and her cousin Jess eagerly start summer jobs at New Jersey’s Fairyland theme park, but Jess does not get her dream role and Zoe is assigned to be personal assistant to the park’s “Queen,” winning her no friends. Zoe learns there is a dark core under the glittering facade of the fairy-tale themed amusement park (cough, Disneyland, cough). For starters, her boss has a blacker heart than Snow White’s stepmother, and the other interns are worse backstabbers than Cinderella’s step-sisters. On the upside, she has the chance of romance with a real-life Prince Charming, and a shot at winning a big heap of cash. If she can just live through a summer in the Fairyland Kingdom.

First lines: “There was no getting around the fact that Tinker Bell was a little bitch. The tiny, white powder-puff bichon frise with professionally manicured toenails scampered under the thornbush and out of sight.”

New Books

about the ordinary teen:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Life, You Suck, Scott Blagden (306 pages) – Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.

First lines: “The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEscape Theory, Margaux Froley (269 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counsellor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide. Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but as the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn’t have taken his own life.

First lines: “Those Nutter Butters are going to need milk. Devon glared at the package of peanut butter cookies at the foot of her bed. The bright red plastic caught the light from her desk lamp, taunting her, daring her to break into the package.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThings I Can’t Forget, Miranda Kenneally (312 pages) – Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different. This summer she’s a counsellor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counsellor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt – with her. Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy.

First lines: “Girls like me do not buy pregnancy tests. I drag my pencil down the paper, drawing tears rolling from her eyes. Girls like me sing in the church choir.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpenly Straight, Bill Konigsberg (320 pages) – Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

First lines: “If it were up to my dad, my entire life would be on video. Anything I do, he grabs his phone. “Opal,” he’ll yell to my mother. “Rafe is eating corn flakes. We gotta get this on film.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOut of Nowhere, Maria Padian (337 pages) – At Maquoit High School, Tom Bouchard has it made: captain and star of the soccer team, boyfriend to one of the prettiest, most popular girls, and third in his class, likely to have his pick of any college, if he ever bothers filling out his applications. But life in his idyllic small Maine town quickly gets turned upside down after the events of 9/11. Enniston has become a “secondary migration” location for Somali refugees, who are seeking a better life after their country was destroyed by war—they can no longer go home. Tom hasn’t thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. But when Saeed’s eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he’s left to grapple with a culture he doesn’t understand and take responsibility for his actions.

First lines: “It’s like he came out of nowhere. I was stuck, okay? I’ll man up to that. We were playing Marquoit High School. I mean, more than half their guys play four-season private club soccer. Olympic Development Program, that sort of thing.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBruised, Sarah Skilton (274 pages) – Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else–more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it’s all her fault. Now she’s got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight – a real fight – she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She’s drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.

First lines: “By the time my brother arrives, he can’t get to me. The cops have barricaded the diner – two blocks in all directions. blood and worse coats my hair, my face, and my clothes, sticking to me like chunks of blackberry jam. They had to cut me out of my shirt, but since they can’t cut me out of my skin, I don’t see how I’ll ever be clean.”

Summer readin’ had me a blast

It’s summer! It’s hot! Go read in the sun (or, if you’re like us, sunscreened with a hat in the shade of a tree). Here are some books set in the summertime. Can you see our thought process? Yesss.

Along For The Ride, Sarah DessenBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Or pretty much any Sarah Dessen book, really. Pretty sure every single one of them is set during the summertime. But this one was particularly enjoyable. Tired of playing the perfect daughter role, Auden flits off to stay with her dad and stepmother in the small beach town where they live. Also, Auden doesn’t know how to ride a bike! Oh no! Luckily cute boy and fellow insomniac Eli can teach her how. They spend their nights awake together eating pie in a laundromat. Romantic! And there are family issues for Auden to deal with (you know there will be from the moment the word “stepmother” is mentioned). Dramas and romance! A perfect summer read, yes?

The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny HanBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

The title says it all, really. Also the main character’s name is Belly. She spends her summers with her friend Susannah, and two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly always thought of them as protective brotherly figures, or did she? Her feelings are changing towards them both and it would seem she doesn’t quite know how to handle them all. Summer! Romance! Love geometry! Kick back and enjoy.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney, Abby McDonaldBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Sadie is smitten with her best friend Garrett Delaney, and has been ever since he waltzed into her life two years ago. She’s spent those years sharing a love for tragic Russian literature, art films and 80s indie rock with him, but he just doesn’t notice her the way she wants him to. Then Garrett heads off to literary camp for summer where he falls in love… with another girl! And tells Sadie about it! She’s a little heartbroken. Now Sadie is on a Garrett Delaney detox and a mission to reinvent herself with the aid of an eclectic new group of friends. Good luck Sadie!

Vintage Veronica, Erica S. PerlBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Veronica is 15 when she starts her summer job at the Clothing Bonanza, a mammoth vintage clothing store. She’s also overweight, but she doesn’t let that stop her from wearing retro threads from the Dollar-A-Pound section of the store. She likes her job in the Employees Only section because she can keep to herself, but when two of the other shopgirls want Veronica to spy on their coworker Len, a skinny and awkward stock boy, she can’t help but become hopelessly entangled in all of their lives. A must read if you’re an op-shopping fashionista.

Dreams of Significant Girls, Cristina GarcíaBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

This book follows three girls – Vivian, Ingrid and Shirin – who are all from very different cultural backgrounds, but come together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland. This is a very character driven novel showing the personal development of each of the girls as each year goes by, so not exactly an action packed boom-bang-pow kind of book. As a reader you get an insight into each of the girls’ very compelling and different backgrounds, with the European flavour of the Swiss setting. It’s hard to describe, but captivating to watch as it unfolds. Brill!

Weetzie Bat, Francesca Lia BlockBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

This one’s not for everybody, but if you like it, you’ll probably love it. Weetzie Bat and her eclectic family and friends live in a fantasy version of California where everything is neon bright and bubblegum sweet. The story unfolds as part modern fairy tale, part poetry. Weetzie comes upon a chance to make three wishes, which then come true, although perhaps not as she expects. Along with her crew of Dirk, Duck and Secret Agent Lover Man, Weetzie sets out to make it as a movie star in the glittery, glamorous world of fantasy LA. It’s a short book (around 130 pages) but it has a bunch of sequels which we also highly recommend!

The Au Pairs, Melissa de la Cruz

This book throws unto the world of the ultra-rich New Yorkers who have departed the city for the summer, heading instead to the beaches of the Hamptons. However, the three heroines are not your typical ultra-rich characters. Instead, they’re all there for very different reasons and meet each other as au pairs (nannies) for the typical rich family. Cue love stories and dramas of various sorts. Ultimately though, this is a story about finding friendship in the most unlikely places. We’ve had to order some new copies of this book, but it should be available for your reading pleasure shortly!

Hopefully you’ve found something to read while you enjoy the summer sun, but don’t forget the sunscreen!

Until next time,
R n R

Something to read this summer

If you’re looking for something to do this summer, why not read a book? We have here a list of suggestions, plus our book lists, and some recommendations from library staff. Here are also some highlights of 2012.

You can also vote for your favourite popular book of 2012 on our poll.

Happy reading!

Stuck For Something to Read This Summer?

Never fear! Here are some ideas:

  • – The Teen Blog summer reading list. This has got selected fiction from this year, loosely divided into categories (like Free Classic Novel e-books, Ghosts, The 20th Century for example).
  • – The New Books tag. Sift through new items that have arrived in the library this year. There’s heaps to choose from.
  • Kirkus Reviews‘ best of 2011 list. This is an extensive list of excellent reading, from Anna Dressed in Blood to White Crow.
  • – Some New Zealand fiction. Have a look in the library for books that have koru stickers on their spines. For example, the Listener magazine thought these titles were a highlight of 2011:

The Bridge, Jane Higgins
Heart of Danger, Fleur Beale
Calling the Gods, Jack Lasenby (on order, but you can reserve it!)
Dark Souls, Paula Morris (on order: reserve it!)

Some Books to Read in the Holidays

summerreadingIf you’re looking for something to read over summer, here’s some interesting fiction that arrived in the library some time during 2009. Where the book is a sequel or part of a series we’ve also listed the other books (in order) so as not to ruin your reading experience. We’ve also included the blurb we wrote when the books came in, for your reference.

A Small Amount of Horror

Fen Runners, John Gordon – Tom Townsend lost the blade of his skate in an accident on the frozen fens years ago, and since then has been plagued by nightmares. His granddaughter, Jenny, is haunted too, and then her friend Kit pulls something out of the fen water.

The Enemy, Charlie Higson – The Enemy is the first book in a new trilogy with zombies – a whole lot of zombies. Reviews suggest this is rather scary, and overall really rather good. Plus it has black page edges. Website

The Devouring, Simon Holt – “Your body is here, but not your soul…” says the cover. Yoicks! The Vours are “evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.” (Book cover) Website

Zombie Blondes, Brian James – The girl on the cover has disturbingly large eyes (courtesy of artist Sas Christian). Blonde zombie cheerleaders are the most popular girls in the school that Hannah Sanders finds herself attending. It seems to be a cross between The Stepford Wives and Twilight (the concept of new girl in school coming across the undead, you understand). Worth a look.

Wake and Fade, Lisa McMann – (for Fade) The dream catchers Janie and Cabel must expose something horrid that’s going on at Fieldridge High. Website

The Parliament of Blood, Justin Richards – When an Egyptian mummy wakes up in the British Museum Eddie and George, Liz and Sir William (first seen in The Death Collector) are on hand to rescue the situation, which is a good thing, since they’re the only ones who know just how scary this particular mummy truly is.

The Kiss of Death, Marcus Sedgwick (companion to My Swordhand is Singing) – Set in eighteenth century Venice. Peter is still chasing the Shadow Queen, who is amassing an impressive undead army. In amongst this is Marko and Sorrel, both trying to uncover the mysteries surrounding their fathers.

Bit of a Laugh

I Love You, Beth Cooper, Larry Doyle – Denis Cooverman announces to everyone at his graduation that he loves Beth Cooper, the head cheerleader. Unfortunately her boyfriend, Kevin, is on leave from the United States Army and isn’t too happy. ‘Complications ensue’. Doyle is a former writer for The Simpson, and this book is extremely funny. They made it into a movie too.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group, Catherine Jinks – becoming undead and never aging would make you slightly nuts. Nina’s been fifteen for “a while” and finds life boring and unfun. Then one of the members of her therapy group is mysteriously staked and Nina and co have to find out who’s the culprit: their unlives are at stake (I’m sorry, that’s pretty bad). [It’s still bad.]

Spanking Shakespeare, Jake Wizner – Shakespeare Shapiro hopes that his writing project – a memoir – will bring him ‘respect, admiration, and a girlfriend … or at least a prom date.’ He hates his name, his family is eccentric, and he’s pretty socially inept.

Past Tense

What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell – Evie’s father returns from World War II and everything appears normal, however a web of deception surrounds him and handsome young Peter, one of Evie’s father’s company. Evie must get to the heart of things and ultimately choose between love and family loyalty.

Lost, Jacqueline Davies – Set in New York in the early 1900s.  The story of Essie, who lives in virtual poverty with her mother and siblings, is woven into a retelling of two historical events; the disappearance of a New York heiress and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Nice cover.

The Bride’s Farewell, Meg Rosoff – Pell runs away on the morning of her wedding and hits the road to uncover the secrets of her past. From the author of How I Live Now.

Fantasy (may contain cool gadgetry)

The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd, and Archenemy, Frank Beddor – (for Archenemy) the gripping conclusion to The Looking Glass Wars. Something strange is happening to Wonderland, and it’s not just Arch declaring himself king. Conundrums of evaporating puddles, shimmering portals, assassins, metamorphoses, action aplenty. The dude on the cover has got the coolest suit of armour and gun thingy ever. Website

Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve – A new book in the Infernal Engines world; huge, armoured fortresses that move across the wastelands. The book has a neat cover! Website

Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld – ‘In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.’ The book has terrific illustrations throughout. [Another cool cover. Since here at teen blog we’re all about the pictures.]

Flora Segunda and Flora’s Dare, Ysabeau S Wilce – (for Flora’s Dare) Apart from comments about the incredibly long and eccentric book titles (have a look at the catalogue link) we had this to say: Awarding-winning fantasy. And it has a giant squid.

A Small Amount of Fantasy with Romance

Fire, Kristin Cashore (companion to Graceling) – Fire is a human monster who is irresistible to humans (and other monsters) and is able to influence minds. Thought control: cool (in theory). This book is called a companion because it has one linking character – you get to find out what made Leck so Leck-ish. I may write a review of this book some time soon – it has some interesting positives and negatives. One positive is the creepy Prologue.

Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick – Nora Grey isn’t interested in romance until transfer student Patch appears. He’s dreamy [sexy, more like] and mysterious and he’s also an angel, I think? [Yes indeed] If you like Twilight you may appreciate this – reviewers have commented favourably on the character of Nora compared with Bella. Facebook

Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr – (for Fragile Eternity, me making this up just now) After a shift in focus in Ink Exchange, the story returns to Ash, Seth and Keenan, focussing most on Seth and his conundrum (one faced by many at the moment: how does one love an immortal?). Website

Princess Ben…, Catherine Gilbert Murdock – Again a long title! Princess Ben, held by the nasty Queen Sophia, learns the magical arts and saves the kingdom. Catherine Gilbert Murdock has previously written about the marvellous DJ Schwenk (Dairy Queen, The Off Season and now Front and Center), so this is a really different tack for her!

Lament, Maggie Stiefvater – Deirdre is not only a gifted musician, she’s also been lumped with the gift of seeing faeries, which means she becomes entangled in a faerie war that is as old as the hills.


The Nostradamus Prophecy, Teresa Breslin – Nostradamus has predicted a massacre, but King Charles doesn’t believe him; his mother, Catherine de’ Medici, does, however. So to does Melisande, the minstrel’s daughter, who ends up with some parchments written by Nostradamus that hold the secret of the French royal line. Adventure ensues!

The Robber Baron’s Daughter, Jamila Gavin – Philip Pullman describes this as a “rich and almost gothic drama” (Amazon.co.uk). The back cover tells me, “Nettie lives a privileged life… but everything changes when her beloved tutor, Miss Kovachev, vanishes.” The story travels between central London and (interestingly) Bulgaria.

Romantic (but not all just for girls)

Swim the Fly, Don Calame – you thought right: this is a novel where swimming is involved. It’s a humorous coming-of-age novel which wonders if it’s harder to swim the 100 metres butterfly or impress a really hot girl. Doing the one well might cause the other to happen, and hopefully it’s not a case of neither.

Along for the Ride, Sarah Dessen – From the library catalogue’s description: ‘When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents’ divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.’

Cruel Summer, Alyson Noel – Colby Cavendish ditches her dorky image and her dorky best friend and dreams of a summer spent larking it up on the beach. But! Her parents send her to spend summer in Greece with her aunt. Which sounds great to me, but Colby isn’t having any of it. Until she meets Yanni, that is. Yannniiii.

Something, Maybe, Elizabeth Scott – Hannah’s parents are famous and notorious, and she’s managed to live life under the radar. But! Nothing is ever that simple, especially with crazy parents and falling in lurve.

Boy Minus Girl, Richard Uhlig – Les seems to be the harmless, shy, geek type in whose life girls just don’t feature (see title), but then Uncle Ray arrives, who is quite the opposite and therefore either potentially a really good role model or a really bad influence.

What They Always Tell Us, Martin Wilson – James and Alex are brothers, but they’re quite different. James has it all together and Alex is a bit of an outcast, but this year things will change: Alex starts cross country running which leads him along an unexpected path, and both brothers befriend Henry, a smart 10 year old neighbour. Critics call this book “beautifully realised”, which is rather a nice compliment for a writer.

Tough Love

Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson – Lia’s best friend Cassie has died from anorexia, and now Lia faces the same fate. ‘One girl’s chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.’

Ostrich Boys, Keith Gray – Three boys take – well, steal, really – their late friend’s ashes after his depressing and dispiriting funeral, and travel 261 miles to a tiny hamlet in Scotland called Ross (which was also his first name).

Living Dead Girl, Elizabeth Scott – This rather grim tale is about Alice, who is abducted by someone when 10-years-old and held captive for years. Has an edge-of-your-seat ending.

Ghost Medicine, Andrew Smith – After the death of his mother, Troy just wants to spend the summer hanging out with his friends and being sort of invisible, but life gets in the way with complex, dangerous twists and turns. [I liked this book.]

Once Was Lost, Sara Zarr – “As the tragedy of a missing girl enfolds in her small town, fifteen-year-old Samara, who feels emotionally abandoned by her parents, begins to question her faith.” (Catalogue entry)

The World’s Turned to Custard

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins – (for Catching Fire) Set in a post-apocalyptic future where a new, authoritarian government pits teens against one another on television. Now that the hunger games are over (or are they?) can Katniss survive the Capitol’s scrutiny? Website and Facebook

Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, Narinder Dhami – A gunman is rumoured to be somewhere in Mia’s school, and the place is being evacuated. Mia has a dreadful feeling that the gunman is her brother, Jamie, who has been acting very weird lately. Can she get to him in time? This book has a terrific twist at the end that’s right I read the end first

Brainjack, Brian Falkner – Sam Wilson, brilliant teenage computer hacker, has a go at the computer systems of the White House. This reckless obsession leads Sam into a dangerous world of ‘espionage and intrigue; of cybercrime and imminent war.’ Dangerous, sure, but pretty exciting you must admit.

Small-Minded Giants, Oisin McGann – Beyond the huge domed roof of Ash Harbour, deadly storms and Arctic temperatures have stripped the Earth bare. Sinister bodies reign supreme, and undercover operations are rife. When sixteen-year-old Sol Wheat’s father goes missing and is accused of murder, Sol sets out to find out why, and in doing so uncovers the harsh reality behind the city… (thanks Adrienne)

The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness – Things aren’t going well for Todd; Viola is in the hands of Mayor Prentiss and he (Todd) has been imprisoned, then there’s the question of the Answer: who are they? Very cool cover. [Maybe cool cover = cool book? Although they do say you shouldn’t think that.]

Holiday Time!

Here are some songs with the word Holiday in the title – if for no other reason than it’s summer and therefore time to go on holiday. Where are you all going this year? I’m going to Huntly. Choice!

If you’re not going away this summer then why not come into the Library, issue some CDs, then play them to your family in a small hot room for a few hours – that way it’ll feel like you’ve been on a roadtrip. Anyway, you can find Green Day, Madonna and Atomic Kitten in our collection.

Sizzlin’ Summer City

Yup, we’ve been warned this summer’s going to be a hot one. And with the global economy making spending that little bit tighter, we all need to save our recessionary dollars for cooling ice cream and gelato. There are a couple of things one can do to keep it easy on the pocket while having a good time. There are, of course, loads of free or low cost stuff to get from the library – not to mention the fact that libraries have excellent air conditioning! But there is also Wellington’s famous Summer City festival, packed with free events. It kicks off on New Year’s eve with a massive party in Civic Square, and ends 29 March with (coincidentally) more kicking off in a “mini world-cup” football match known as Culture Kicks.  Libraries will soon have printed copies of the programme, but why wait?  Check out the Summer City offerings online at wotzon.com.

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