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Tag: World War II

Newly Ordered Books

This week, a historical fantasy from a Christchurch-based author, two short stories from a popular series, a moving novel about grief and loss, and a holocaust story of survival.

Awakening, Natalie King (New Zealand writer) – “When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken. At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful. A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.” (goodreads.com)

Tales from the Half-Continent, D M Cornish – this is number 3.5 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, and it’s really two short/long stories: ‘The Corsers’ Hinge’ and ‘The Fuller and the Bogle’. “Bunting Faukes has a debt and no way to repay it – times are tough for grave robbers. But a way out is presented in the person of Atticus Wells, a sleuth with strange eyes that see into everything — Virtue Bland is alone in the world. Packed off to Brandenbrass to serve the household of her late father’s employer, she has only her old pa’s olfactologue to remember him by. But with it she can smell monsters.” (goodreads.com)

The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss. “The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…” (goodreads.com)

Alexander Altmann A10567, Suzy Zail. “Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567; he knows it by heart. He also knows to survive Auschwitz, he must toughen up. Being soft will get him killed. Alexander will take any chance he’s given – and when that chance is caring for the German officers’ horses he grabs it. He just can’t let them know he’s scared.” (goodreads.com)

Most Wanted: March 2014

These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Happy reading!

1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [no change] * **
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change] *
3. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1] * **
4. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [no change, on order]
6. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
7. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 1] **
8. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
9=. Looking for Alaska, John Green [back] **
9=. The One, Kiera Cass [new, on order]

* We also have this as a book on CD.
** We also have this as an eBook/eAudiobook.

Recently ordered

City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (due in New Zealand in May/June) – the next instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. They say it’s the last, but we’ve heard that before (can it really be true?). “Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!” (goodreads.com)

Raging Star, Moira Young (May) – the conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy that began with Blood Red Road. “Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world… for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.” (goodreads.com)

The One, Kiera Cass (May) – the next in the Selection series. “The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen. America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” (goodreads.com) That’s an amazing dress.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – we’ve ordered extra copies of this, for re-reading after watching the movie (opening on Thursday, tomorrow).

Most Wanted: January 2014

The Book Thief has raced up the reserves list since New Year’s. It’s got staying power: first published in 2006, it was on our most wanted list in 2009 – 2010, and has been on the New York Times bestsellers list continually for a very long time. It’s also one of 5 movie books on our list this month.

1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
4. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [back after 4 years]
5. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 4]
6=. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 2]
6=. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
6=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
9=. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
9=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]

Best of 2013: Bridget’s Picks

Mortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox

“Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie’s vacation takes a turn when she stumbles upon a mysterious and enchanting valley, occupied almost entirely by children who can perform a special type of magic that tells things how to be stronger and better than they already are. As Canny studies the magic more carefully, she realizes that she not only understands it–she can perform the magic, too, so well that it feels like it has always been a part of her. With the help of an alluring seventeen-year-old boy who is held hostage by a spell that is now more powerful than the people who first placed it, Canny figures out the secrets of this valley and of her own past.” (goodreads.com)

This is another highly original fantasy story featuring a strong and unique female hero, from New Zealander Elizabeth Knox.

I also really liked:

Dark Triumph, Robin LaFevers

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater

Picture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff

Best of 2013: Rebecca’s Pick

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

“When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.” (catalogue description)

This is the companion novel to Code Name Verity

Also intriguing:

Dangerous Girls, Abigail Haas

Looking forward to:

Another gut-wrenching war thriller, the end of two series (one dystopian, one spy), and the other side of the story…

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein (September) – this is another World War 2 thriller from the author of Code Name Verity, and we’re super excited! “While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?” (goodreads.com)

Champion, Marie Lu (November) – the final book in the Legend trilogy. “He is a Legend. She is a Prodigy. Who will be Champion? June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic – and each other – and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.” (goodreads.com)

Just One Year, Gayle Forman (October) – Willem gets a crack at telling his story in this parallel/sequel to Just One Day. We suggest you probably read Day first, and also we won’t say too much here for fear of *spoilers*. So, what’s it all about then? “Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) Just One Day and Just One Year show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself.” (goodreads.com) Looking forward to Bollywood!

United We Spy, Ally Carter (September) – the final in the Gallagher Girls series from the queen of teen spies. “Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie – and her country – forever.” (goodreads.com)

Amazon’s Top Ten Books for Teens in 2012

Terrifyingly it’s already that time of year when Amazon produces its best books of the year lists. The Top 20 list for teens is here. It’s an interesting, varied collection, with some of our favourites of 2012.

  1. Reached, Ally Condie – we’re still waiting patiently for this. You can reserve it though!
  2. The Fault in our Stars, John Green
  3. Son, Lois Lowry – we’ve just ordered this one.
  4. Insurgent, Veronica Roth
  5. Days of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor – again, we’re waiting patiently (join the queue!).
  6. The Kill Order, James Dashner – The Maze Runner prequel.
  7. Dodger, Terry Pratchett
  8. The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater – one of our favourites of the year. Perfect for after-exam recovery (you can suspend your reserve until after you’ve finished).
  9. Every Day, David Levithan
  10. The Diviners, Libba Bray – Grimm is half way through (it’s quite epic).
  11. Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
  12. Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
  13. Cinder, Marissa Meyer
  14. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
  15. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  16. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein – loved this book. One of our favourites of the year also.
  17. Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler – who is also Lemony Snicket.
  18. Grave Mercy, R L LaFevers – again, this was a great read.
  19. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily M Danforth
  20. For Darkness Shows the Stars, Diana Peterfreund – we’ve just ordered this one too.

Looking Forward To:

Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare. The third (and we think final, although Cassandra Clare has pulled a fast one on us before) in the Infernal Devices trilogy, to be published in March next year. Who is the clockwork princess? Is “Tessa” too obvious an answer – it’s her on the cover we think. They’re not giving much away. The Infernal Devices Facebook Page may be the place to go for news.

One Shot Kill, Robert Muchamore. This is the sixth book in the Henderson’s Boys series (January 2013). “Spring, 1943. The war is turning against Germany, but Hitler isn’t giving up. In a secret bunker deep in occupied France, scientists are hard at work on Hitler’s latest deadly weapon: code name FZG-76. Back in England Henderson’s boys will need to undergo advanced sniper training if they have any chance of infiltrating the bunker. Parachuting into occupied France, they track down a secret dossier filled with invaluable material and uncover the meaning of the enigmatic code.” (goodreads.com)

Beautiful Redemption, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is the final book in the Beautiful Creatures series (October/November). “Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves. Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan’s return, vowing to do whatever it takes — even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect. Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate” (amazon.com)

Braveheart

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein.

“I AM A COWARD,” begins Verity. “I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.”

“Verity” has been captured in a town in France because she looked the wrong way crossing the road, crashing into a truck right outside Gestapo headquarters in 1943. So, she’s not the most talented spy the British have ever seen then, or is she? Tortured by Gestapo Captain von Linden and his underlings, Verity has cracked under the intense pressure, and agreed to give up British war secrets in exchange for her clothes (“The warmth and dignity of my flannel skirt and woolly jumper are worth far more to me now than patriotism or integrity”). She tells her story on recipe cards, music scores and doctor’s prescription forms, gradually revealing the truth about herself, the British espionage effort, and her best friend Maddie – who flew her across the Channel to begin her short-lived mission – all the time loathing herself for her cowardice, and being loathed by her fellow prisoners. Her story reaches its stressful conclusion about half way into the novel, and I shall say no more!

Except, Code Name Verity is an awesome World War II espionage novel. “Verity” is a wonderfully unreliable narrator (would you trust a spy?), and her story is of two heroic young women who throw themselves headlong into the war with unexpected and frightening consequences. Bring your hankie, or two.

Elizabeth Wein has said this novel was inspired by her research into female pilots in World War II (as a pilot herself – cool! – she wondered what role she could have played), and you can read about her other literary inspirations for the story in this Book Smugglers post here.

If you’re also interested in reading more about women’s participation in World War II (the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, for example), then here are some titles.

Also, Flygirl by Sherri L Smith is about an African American woman who pretends to be white in order to be accepted into the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

~ Grimm

Top 10: Tearjerkers

Do you like a really good sad story? We do. Here’s some.

  1. The Fault in our Stars, John Green. Not wanting to give too much away: here’s an excellent reader review.
  2. Before I Die, Jenny Downham. Tessa is terminally ill. Deciding to make the most of the time she’s got left, she creates a List of Things to Do, but not of the “book appointment at the dentist” and “flea the cat” variety.
  3. Looking for Alaska, John Green. John Green, king of the weepies apparently. Looking for Alaska was his first novel, and it promptly won a very prestigious award. The chapters in the first half count down ominously (like, “one hundred thirty-six days before”), but you’re still not prepared for day 0.
  4. If I Stay, Gayle Forman. Mia and her family are in a truly horrific car accident, which only Mia survives – just. Hovering in a coma in hospital, she must choose between fighting for her life and letting go to be with her family.
  5. The Outsiders, S E Hinton. Stay gold, Ponyboy. This is a classic story of gang rivalry. Ponyboy is a Greaser, from the wrong side of the tracks: the Socs are from the right side, and they know it. The rivalry between the two is heated, and boils over into an act of violence that changes everything.
  6. Th1rteen R3asons Why, Jay Asher. Clay receives thirteen cassette tapes in the post from a classmate who recently killed herself. These tapes send him on a heartbreaking tour around town, as Hannah describes events that led up to her decision to end her life.
  7. Sweethearts, Sara Zarr. Once upon a time Jennifer and Cameron were best friends and social outcasts, until Cameron and his family leave town suddenly. Now, years later, Jennifer has transformed into Jenna, one of the popular girls in school. When Cameron makes a surprise reappearance Jenna’s life is turned on its head.
  8. The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson. Lennie is withdrawn and reserved. Her sister, Bailey, was the opposite: a shining light until her sudden death. The Sky is Everywhere captures Lennie’s passage through grief and self-discovery as she confronts her life of confusing relationships in the wake of personal tragedy.
  9. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. In World War 2 Germany, Death narrates the story Liesel, a young girl with an irresistible urge to steal books. There are sad bits of course.
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson. This one is in the children’s fiction collection, but it’s a real howling sad story, so it’s here, in this list. Then you can graduate to the movie, with a large box of tissues.

New Books

This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

(Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’

Pop Series for 2011

Reserve some now!

Entice, Carrie Jones (January 2011) – Zara has been kissed by pixie king Astley (cue Rick Astley music video*), plus Nick’s dead but there’s a chance she can save him, if Astley’s willing to help.

Grey Wolves, Robert Muchamore (Henderson’s Boys, February 2011) – the grey wolves are German U-boats that caused massive problems for the British navy in the North Atlantic. What is needed is teen spies to saboutage them in the way that only teen spies can. Like Battleship, but with espionage.

Angel, James Patterson (Maximum Ride, February 2011) – Max and Fang’s flocks must combine to defeat a doomsday cult threatening to kill all humans, but will Max be distracted by the idea that Dylan is Mr Right (as the scientists suggest)? If the title is anything to go by, Angel might be important.

Darkest Mercy, Melissa Marr (March 2011) – [mild spoiler alert] will Irial really die? Surely not. Read and find out if Melissa Marr is game enough to kill of her coolest character.

City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare (April 2011) – Clary and Jace are back, and not a moment too soon, Clary and Jace fans say. This will be the fourth in the Mortal Instruments series from the prolific keyboard of Ms Clare.

Invincible, Sherrilyn Kenyon, (Chronicles of Nick, April 2011) – Nick Gautier’s life continues to become more complex and dangerous in paranormal New Orleans.

Also: for Robin McKinley fans, there’s Pegasus

* Sorry, but you really can’t beat a good Rick Astley video. The teen blog likes Rick Astley videos, as does the WCL teen facebook page.

Some new books

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais (275 pages) – Lotus says on the back cover, “This year, I will become an existentialist, go to France and fall in love (hopefully in Paris) with a dashing Frenchman named Jean something. We will both be existentialists, believe in nothingness, and wander around Paris in trench coats and berets.” Needless to say, Lotus loves all things French and sets up a French culture club at her school, which consists of her, her friend Joni and the handsome Sean. Things possibly go a bit awry on a trip to Montreal. Told in diary form and possibly (I say possibly) will be liked by Georgia Nicholson fans.

First sentence: As you may have guessed, my name is Lotus Lowenstein and this is my diary.

Secret Army, Robert Muchamore (Henderson’s Boys, 363 pages) – This also has what appears to be a large extract from the last CHERUB book Shadow Wave (yet to be published). In Secret Army, it is January 1941 and Charles Henderson is back in Britain, “but will the military establishment allow him to enact a plan to train teenagers as spies?” (says the website) This looks to be the beginning of the CHERUB campus – you can see how it all began!

First sentence (of chapter one): “Stand by yer beds!” Evan Williams shouted.

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (563 pages) – a veritable doorstop of a book at nearly 600 pages, Beautiful Creatures already features in our monthly Most Wanted list. We are currently reading it to see if it is Twilight-y. Ethan Wate has been having strange recurring dreams about an unknown beautiful girl. On the first day back at school there are rumblings about a new girl in town (nobody is ever new in the town of Gatlin), and Ethan’s life takes an unexpected and unsettling turn when dream and reality mingle. That’s the start, at any rate. A gothic southern supernatural romance.

First sentence: There were only two kinds of people in our town.

Loot, Grace Cavendish (The Lady Grace Mysteries, 201 pages) – a favourite YA series. When the crown of St Edward goes missing, Lady Grace must find out what has happened to it without anyone knowing that a) it’s gone missing and b) she’s trying to find it. Elizabeth I will not be amused if she is “publicly humiliated” (as the back cover puts it).

First sentence: Here I am, squashed into a corner of my bedchamber, far from the fire, while Mary Shelton and Lady Sarah Bartelmy fuss about new gowns that the Maids have been gifted.

Gone, Lisa McMann (214 pages) – the cover says that this the final book in the Wake trilogy, but trilogies have a habit of being tricksy and growing a fourth leg. Still, we must take it at its word: those of you who have read and enjoyed Wake and Fade must read this (let us know if it is indeed the end)! Janie must (she thinks) disappear in order to give Cabel a fighting chance at a normal life, but then a mysterious stranger arrives on the scene and Janie’s future is not what it once seemed, in fact it appears to be a whole lot worse. Tense.

First sentence: It’s like she can’t breathe anymore, no matter what she does.

Geek Magnet, Kieran Scott (308 pages) – KJ is a geek magnet, but would like to be a superstud-basketball-star-Cameron magnet (and isn’t). Tama Gold, most popular of the popular girls, kindly thinks she has the solution to KJ’s problem, but is KJ ready for such a radical turn of events? A theatrical story: “a novel in five acts”.

First sentence: Okay, so I was dizzy with power.

The Walls Have Eyes, Clare B Dunkle (225 pages) – the sequel to The Sky Inside. Martin’s family are the targets of a totalitarian government, and Martin must rescue his parents (having saved his sister Cassie), but things are treacherous, agents are following him, and Cassie looks like she’s in danger again…

First sentence(s): “She melted down? Completely?”

Viola in Reel Life, Adriana Trigiani (282 pages) – Viola is a New Yorker at boarding school in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. Needless to say she very much doesn’t like it to begin with, but just maybe it grows on her a little bit.

First sentence: You would not want to be me.

Waiting for You, Susane Colasanti (322 pages) – a love triangle story that’s very happy being a love triangle story. Marisa likes Derek (I think), but he has a girlfriend. She doesn’t particularly like Nash, but Nash likes Marisa. Plus there are other complicating factors in Marisa’s life, from family to friends, to school… Might be a good one for fans of Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.

First sentence: The best thing about summer camp is the last day.

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair, Delia Ephron (312 pages) – Sukie is obsessed with the way she looks, so when her mother gives her a beautiful antique full length mirror this seems like the perfect gift, but the mirror possibly reveals more about Sukie than just her appearance.

First sentence: Sukie kept track of herself in all reflective surfaces: shiny pots, the windowed doors to classrooms, shop windows, car chrome, knives, spoons.

Funny How Things Change, Melissa Wyatt (196 pages) – “Remy, a talented, seventeen-year-old auto mechanic, questions his decision to join his girlfriend when she starts college in Pennsylvania after a visiting artist helps him to realize what his family’s home in a dying West Virginia mountain town means to him.” (catalogue summing it up well) This story has good reviews: “Good writing drives stellar characterization of this strong but introspective protagonist struggling with his own version of the universal questions of who he is and what matters most” (School Library Journal via amazon.com). I’d like a review like that one day.

First sentence: On his arm – just above his left hand – were three black letters.

Dreams of the Dead, Thomas Randall (The Waking, 276 pages) – Kara moves to Japan and to a new school where she makes friends with Sakura, whose sister was murdered on school grounds… and the killer was never found. Things get pretty bad: Kara has strange nightmares, then more bodies appear… is this Sakura’s murdered sister exacting revenge? Or Sakura? Or some other sinister thing? The book also has a “sneak peak” at the sequel.

First sentence: Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love.

There are more books (yet more), so back soon.

Highly Desirable New Books

This week’s lot (in order of how many words make up the title):

Jatta, by Jenny Hale (464 pages) – a fantasy thriller replete with dragons, werewolves, and a mystery that begins with bloody paw prints.

First sentence: Princess Jatta woke on the cold marble floor, groaning weakly.

Posse, by Kate Welshman (278 pages) – things have been tense between best friends Amy and Clare, and when Clare disappears while they’re on Year 11 camp (Year 12 in New Zealand) there are more questions than answers; about what actually happened, about friendship…

First sentence: It’s the kind of heat you can’t escape.

Stolen, by Lucy Christopher (301 pages) – Gemma is kidnapped from an airport and taken to the Australian outback where her kidnapper, “expected [her] to love him.” Reviews all say this is a really well-written and moving story. It’s written as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, which is an interesting angle.

First sentence: You saw me before I saw you.

Jinxed, by Sara Lawrence (331 pages) – on a rather different note, the cover of Jinxed says “It’s spring term at Stagmount and love has never felt so naughty.” Set in a riotous boarding school in Brighton.

Resistance, by Craig Simpson (357 pages) – set in Norway during World War II; a story about Resistance freedom fighters, sabotage and courage.

First sentence: Her dying cry echoed across the Hardanger plateau.

Bloodline Rising, by Katy Moran (343 pages) – set in the dark ages and the sequel to Bloodline, Cai is captured in Constantinople and sent to Britain where he’s taken in by Wulfhere, prince of Mercia. When war threatens Cai must choose between his own life and that of his new clan’s.

First sentence: The young man moved like a cat: quick, sure.

Blood Water, by Dean Vincent Carter (248 pages) – a deadly parasite has gone missing, threatening to kill everyone in the town and Sean and James must track it down and destroy it before it does so.

First sentence: I managed to steal another hour in the laboratory tonight to examine the specimen before retiring to bed.

Bad Company, by Mike Walker (264 pages) – a story of modern day piracy and people smuggling on the Indian Ocean, with just a small amount of romance thrown in.

First sentence: If Lewis Hamilton hadn’t snatched fifth place in Brazilian and won the World Championship I wouldn’t  have been stuck with three thieving bastards on a leaking ship in the Indian Ocean with a pirate holding a gun in my face screaming that he was going to blow my head away.

‘Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?’, by Louise Rennison (315 pages) – the final fab confessions, with some unexpected spelling in the title (bas? baz?). The shiny gold cover is calling “Read me! Read me!” If you get a bit lost there’s a comprehensive glossary of Georgia terms in the back.

First sentence(s): Why. Oh why oh why?

A Book Review

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, or seen the movie then be warned!

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne

This story tells the tale of the unlikely friendship of two boys. It is set in Germany during the war and gives an insight into the circumstances of the holocaust. Bruno’s father is one of Hitler’s high ranking officials, but Bruno is unaware of exactly what his father’s job entails. He accidentally comes across a prisoner of war compound and befriends a Jewish boy. Eventually he makes a plan to sneak in under the fence to help his new friend look for his father, who seems to have mysteriously disappeared somewhere within the ‘camp’. During the course of his search Bruno and his friend find themselves herded into a giant shed along with hundreds of other people. The big steel doors clang shut. Outside, Bruno’s parents discover he is missing. They see the plumes of smoke rise from the tall chimneys at the compound and the terrible realisation of what has happened hits them…

~ Lynda

If you’ve read a good book recently you can send us a review.

New Boooks

I’m swamped! Swamped, I tell you. This is a very eclectic collection.

(Note: the catalogue book covers are temporarily awol – I’ll stick them in later, but here are the blurbs for you to browse through over Easter)

book coverChameleon, by Charles R. Smith Jr. (377 pages) – a rite of passage story set in Los Angeles, where Shawn spends the summer between middle school and high school learning about life, friendship, love and family, with the harsh added complications of gang violence. “Fresh and insightful” says the cover, which we like.

First sentence: “Ya mama so tall, she tripped on the curb and hit her head on the sun,” Lorenzo spit out between sips of pineapple soda and bacon-and-sour-cream chips.

book coverThe Hunt for the Seventh, by Christine Morton-Shaw (273 pages) – the cover says “The Hunt for the Se7venth” which you would see if our barcode wasn’t covering most of it. Jim is haunted by ghosts of children who tell him he has to “find the seventh” and leave cryptic clues he has to solve in order to do so. This sounds like some sort of after-life practical joke, except innocent lives are in peril.

First sentence: Somebody died here once.

book coverThe Reminder, by Rune Michaels (182 pages) – an interesting premise, where Daisy (known as Daze), here’s her dead mother’s voice, not just on old family videos; “does anyone ever really die?” the front cover asks, promising what looks to be an interesting story about suriving loss, science, and the concept of death.

First sentence: The first time I heard my dead mother’s voice, there was a logical explanation.

book coverPalace of Mirrors, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (297 pages) – Cecelia is a princess in hiding – evil forces having murdered her parents and made a commoner queen – until one day she decides to take charge and, daringly, retake the throne, but plans become complicated: is the commoner queen an evil pawn, or is there another side to the story?

First sentence: Somewhere in the world I have a tiara in a little box.

book coverEvernight, by Claudia Gray (327 pages) – I smell another vampire novel (writes me, Grimm). Bianca has been enrolled – against her will – at Evernight Academy, where the students are “smart, sleek, and almost predatory”. There she meets Lucas, who seems different from the others, but who nevertheless warns her against caring for him. Twilight fans: give this a go and let me know what you think!

First sentence: The burning arrow thudded into the wall.

book coverCity of Glass, by Cassandra Clare (541 pages: The Mortal Instruments Book Three) – Clary travels to the City of Glass to save her mother’s life, in doing so she uncovers more of her family’s secrets and must join in a fight against Valentine who is determined to destroy the Shadowhunters forever. The series is endorsed by Stephenie Meyer who calls the world Cassandra Clare has created “beautiful”.

First sentence: The cold snap of the previous week was over; the sun was shining brightly as Clary hurried across Luke’s dusty front yard, the hood of her jacket up to keep her hair from blowing across her face.

book coverNight Life, by Nancy A Collins (234 pages) – the next Vamps novel is here! Lilith wants to be a model (her dad’s not keen), Cally’s in love with a vampire hunter, and the Rauhnacht Grand Ball is coming up – what to wear?!

First sentence: With its airy, open spaces, Bergdort Goodman evoked a sense of uncluttered gentility that was a world away from the funky boutiques and consignment stores Cally Monture normally shopped.

book coverWhat I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell (284 pages) – 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.

First sentence: The match snapped, then sizzled, and I woke up fast.

Special Operations: Death Ray, by Craig Simpson (317 pages: a Finn Gunnersen Adventure) – Set during World War II, Finn, Loki and Freya have completed their Special Ops training and are sent into enemy territory. The Germans have built something close to the French Coast, something potentially deadly… The book’s cover hints at lots of action.

First sentence: Major Baxter’s parting words on the platform of Glasgow station gave me the shivers.

And then some other bits and pieces in brief:

Sanctuary and Safe House, by Meg Cabot (both Missing books) – Jess Mastriani is psychic, and the US Government is consequently very interested in her, but Jess wants to use her visions to help find missing people.

Gentleman Jim, by Raymond Briggs – one of the first graphic novels ever published.

Maximum Ride, by James Patterson and Narae Lee (graphic novel) – the first Manga rendering of the really popular Maximum Ride series.