Looking for something new to read? This week, you have a wide variety of genres and authors to choose from, whether you prefer YA spernatural fantasies like Kim Harrison's Madison Avery series and historical dramas like FINDING MY PLACE by Traci L. Jones, or timely novels that tackle some of today's biggest headlines, like THIS GORGEOUS GAME by Donna Freitas. Some titles to keep on your radar are THE NECROMANCER, Michael Scott's 4th installment in the Sercrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series; THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH, C. K. Kelly Martin's take on true love and true lust; Rachel Cain's final installment in the Sisterhood series, BRILLIANT; and Mary Hanlon Stone's heartwrenching debut, THE INVISIBLE GIRL. And let's not forget paperback releases, which include Ann Rinaldi's work of historical fiction about slavery in the South, THE LETTER WRITER; John Feinstein's World Series mystery CHANGE-UP, and Tamora Pierce's latest Beka Cooper adventure, BLOODHOUND.
New Releases for May 24th
THE LETTER WRITER by Ann Rinaldi (Graphia Paperbacks)
Eleven-year-old Harriet Whitehead is an outsider in her own family. She feels accepted and important only when she is entrusted to write letters for her blind stepmother. Then Nat Turner, a slave preacher, arrives on her family’s plantation and Harriet befriends him, entranced by his gentle manner and eloquent sermons about an all-forgiving God. When Nat asks Harriet for a map of the county to help him spread the word, she draws it for him --- wanting to be part of something important. But the map turns out to be the missing piece that sets Nat’s secret plan in motion and makes Harriet an unwitting accomplice to the bloodiest slave uprising in U.S. history.
Award-winning historical novelist Ann Rinaldi has created a bold portrait of an ordinary young girl thrust in to a situation beyond her control.
- Click here to read our review of THE LETTER WRITER
New Releases for May 25th
BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail (HarperTeen)
Everything is going to be fine . . . .
Quinn Avery can handle change. It's just paint, right? Bright, blinding white paint covering her once dazzling red bedroom walls. Quinn knows she shouldn't be angry at her mom --- she's doing what she must to sell the house --- but still, Quinn is beyond mad, and she doesn't know what to do about it.
Until now, Quinn was doing a pretty good job at pretending to be her old self --- calm and brilliant Avery daughter, responsible big sister to Allison and Phoebe, piano virtuoso, girl who makes everyone proud --- but without the sanctuary of her room, a new, wild Quinn is emerging. Lying, sneaking out, partying, Quinn is practically asking to get caught. When Quinn adds kissing the wrong boys --- including her sister's boyfriend and her own piano teacher --- to her list of crimes, has she gone too far to save herself?
Brilliant, the final book in Rachel Vail's critically acclaimed sisterhood series, which includes LUCKY and GORGEOUS, follows Quinn through a summer of change as she discovers that while letting go is never easy, hanging on can be even harder. Witty and poignant, BRILIANT is the perfect ending to this addictive trilogy of interconnected sister stories.
COLD AS ICE by L. Divine (Dafina)
With the Advanced Placement exams coming up, Jayd can't afford any distractions. Enter Rah's baby mama, the master of stirring up trouble. Despite her best intentions, Jayd gets entangled in the drama and fails her pre-test exam. Knowing it's time to get her act together, she joins a study group on campus, sharpens her skills --- and meets a whole new crew. Unfortunately, Jayd's the only one who's happy about her newfound study habits and newfound friends. Her old crew is suddenly full of haters --- and even Mama's giving her a hard time. Just when it seems things can't get any worse, Misty starts talking smack, hoping to destroy Jayd once and for all.
DEMON PRINCESS: Reign Check by Michelle Rowen (Walker Books for Young Readers)
Fresh from finding out she is a demon princess and meeting her father for the first time, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But then Rhys, the handsome teenage king of the faery realm, enrolls at her school as a "foreign exchange student." Her conflicted feelings for Rhys and her boyfriend are getting in the way of her new relationship with the Shadow-creature Michael. But this love triangle from hell isn't even Nikki's biggest problem: There's a new prophecy that claims she will destroy all the demon and human worlds. Her best friend Melinda just might be a demon-slayer-in-training. Throw in a field trip to none other than the Underworld itself . . . and Nikki's going to be hoping for a rain check on more than just her homework!
EARLY TO DEATH, EARLY TO RISE: Madison Avery, Book 2 by Kim Harrison (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven's dark angels --- all itching to kill someone.
Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts.
Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens.
But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead --- unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.
FINDING MY PLACE by Traci L. Jones (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
DOES FITTING IN HAVE TO MEAN SELLING OUT?
In October 1975, while most teens are worried about their "Happy Days" Halloween costumes,
Tiphanie Jayne Baker has bigger problems. Her parents have just decided to uproot the family to the ritzy suburb of Brent Hills, Colorado, and now she’s the only Black girl at a high school full of Barbies. But the longer Tiphanie stays in her new neighborhood, the more her ties to her old community start to fray. Now that nowhere feels like home, exactly where does she belong?
THIS GORGEOUS GAME by Donna Freitas (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT THE ISOLATION OF BEING STALKED AND THE ABUSE OF POWER.
Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and much-adored local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father Mark’s enthusiasm for Olivia’s prose develops into something more, Olivia’s emotions quickly shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?
This remarkable novel about overcoming the isolation that stems from victimization is powerful, luminous, and impossible to put down.
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH by C. K. Kelly Martin (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.
Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends --- the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.
Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.
THE NECROMANCER: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 4 by Michael Scott (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
After fleeing to Ojai, then Paris, and escaping to London, Josh and Sophie Newman are finally home. And after everything they've seen and learned in the past week, they're both more confused than ever about their future. Neither of them has mastered the magics they'll need to protect themselves from the Dark Elders, they've lost Scatty, and they're still being pursued by Dr. John Dee. Most disturbing of all, however, is that now they must ask themselves, can they trust Nicholas Flamel? Can they trust anyone?
Dr. Dee underestimated Perenelle Flamel's power. Alcatraz could not hold her, Nereus was no match for her, and she was able to align herself with the most unlikely of allies. But she wasn't the only one being held on the island. Behind the prison's bars and protective sigils were a menagerie of monsters --- an army for Dee to use in the final battle. And now Machiavelli has come to Alcatraz to loose those monsters on San Francisco.
Perenelle might be powerful, but each day she weakens, and even with Nicholas back at her side, a battle of this size could be too much for her. Nicholas and Perenelle must fight to protect the city, but the effort will probably kill them both.
Having been unable to regain the two final pages of the Codex, Dee has failed his Elder and is now an outlaw --- and the new prey of all the creatures formerly sent to hunt down Flamel.
But Dee has a plan. With the Codex and the creatures on Alcatraz, he can control the world. All he needs is the help of the Archons. But for his plan to work, he must raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. For that, he'll have to train a necromancer. And the twins of legend will make the perfect pupils. . . .
PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George (Bloomsbury USA)
Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other's countries in the name of better political alliances --- and potential marriages. It's got the makings of a fairy tale --- until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.
SHE’S SO DEAD TO US by Kiernan Scott (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends --- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.
Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.
But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.
Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?
THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick Press)
In her classic ghost story "Kerfol," Edith Wharton tells the tale of Anne de Barrigan, a young Frenchwoman convicted of murdering her husband, the jealous Yves de Cornault. The elderly lord was found dead on the stairs, apparently savaged by a pack of dogs, though there were no dogs --- no live dogs --- at Kerfol that day. In this remarkable collection of intertwining short stories, Deborah Noyes takes us back to the haunted manor and tells us Anne de Barrigan's story through the sympathetic eyes of her servant girl. Four more tales slip forward in time, peering in on a young artist, a hard-drinking party girl, a young American couple, and a deaf gardener who now tends the Kerfol estate. All these souls are haunted by the ghosts of Kerfol --- the dead dogs, the sensual yet uneasy relationships, and the bitter taste of revenge.
- Click here to read our review of THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL
BLOODHOUND: Beka Cooper, Book Two by Tamora Pierce (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Beka Cooper, the heroine of Terrier, is no longer a Puppy.
She's a Dog now --- a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Tortall. But there's unrest throughout land. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the capital city of Corus, and the nation's economy is on the brink of collapse.
The Dogs discover that the counterfeit money seems to originate in Port Caynn. So Beka heads upriver to investigate, traveling with her mentor, Goodwin; Achoo, a hound whose nose is as sharp as her claws; and the pigeon Slapper, who carries the voices of the dead.
In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won't let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. From the Silversmith's Guild to the Provost's House to the city sewers, it won't be enough for Beka to be her usual Terrier self. She'll have to learn from Achoo how to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . . .
- Click here to read our review of BLOODHOUND
GENERATION DEAD: KISS OF LIFE by Daniel Waters (Disney-Hyperion)
The phenomenon that’s been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville has banded together in a group they’re calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in egregation.
Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie --- her Homecoming date Tommy --- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can’t seem to live without.
CHANGE-UP: Mystery at the Word Series by John Feinstein (Yearling/Random House Children’s Books)
Bestselling author, journalist, and Edgar Award winner John Feinstein is back with another high-stakes sports mystery. Teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are covering baseball's World Series, and during the course of an interview with a new hot pitcher, they discover more than a few contradictions in his life story. What's he hiding? An embarrassing secret? A possible crime? Let the investigation begin!
- Click here to read our review of CHANGE UP.
New Releases for May 27th
INVISIBLE GIRL by Mary Hanlon Stone (Philomel/Penguin Young Readers Group)
When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by her abusive mother and taken in by Annie’s Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance. These are girls who seem to live life in fastforward, while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town, threatening Annie’s queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking sides in a battle she never even knew existed, and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be healed by standing up for who she is.
Brilliant newcomer Mary Hanlon Stone delivers a compulsively readable insider’s view of growing up in a world where money and privilege don’t always glitter.