It’s officially back to school and everyone has been given a taste for what’s to come. It’salways the first week of school that we really like, but come that following Monday we’re slapping that ‘snooze’ button four times. Here’s to another great list of new releases that should keep us going late at night or during times of boredom when all you really want to do is go on an adventure. This week there’s THE SECRET OF KA, an adventure novel set in the mysterious Island of Djiin, or genies; the very funny KID TABLE, a look into the changing dynamics of kid hierarchy; and a bunch of new paperbacks!
CRAZY by Han Nolan (Harcourt Children's Books)
Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad times --- his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his father’s deteriorating condition.
As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship.
One minute Sara's bored on vacation in Istanbul. The next, she's unearthed a flying carpet that cleverly drags her to the mysterious Island of the Djinn, or genies. By her side is Amesh, a cute guy she has a crush on but doesn't yet trust. When Amesh learns the secret of invoking djinn, he loses control. He swears he'll call upon only one djinn and make one wish. The plan sounds safe enough. But neither Sara nor Amesh are any match for the monster that that swells before them. It hypnotizes Amesh, compelling him to steal Sara’s flying carpet and leave her stranded on the island.
When she discovers that the carpet has sparked a new path for Sara, it may lead her to battle creatures even deadlier than djinn. In this fight, Sara can save mankind, herself or the boy she cares for. Who will she be forced to sacrifice?
Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status.
While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut.
CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the façade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud?
DARK WATER by Laura McNeal (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it’s sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn’t pay much attention to them…until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel’s makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship --- and a forbidden romance.
Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook --- the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes --- is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is in the direct path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke.
In this hilarious sequel to SWIM THE FLY, told from Coop’s point of view, it’s the beginning of the school year, and the tenth-grade health class must work in pairs on semester-long projects. Matt and Sean get partnered up (the jerks), but Coop is matched with the infamous “Hot Dog” Helen for a presentation on safe sex. Everybody’s laughing, except for Coop, who’s convinced that the only way to escape this social death sentence is to win “The Battle of the Bands” with their group, Arnold Murphy’s Bologna Dare. There’s just one problem: none of the guys actually plays an instrument. Will Coop regain his “cool” before it’s too late? Or will the forced one-on-one time with Helen teach him a lesson about social status he never saw coming? With ribald humor and a few sweet notes, screenwriter-turned-novelist Don Calame once again hits all the right chords.
FALLOUT by Ellen Hopkins (Margaret K. McElderry)
Hunter, Autumn, and Summer, three of Kristina Snow’s five children, live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.
Hunter is 19, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.
Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family’s story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person’s problem.
Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?
As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.
HUSH by Eishes Chayil (Walker Books for Young Readers)
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail --- and abuse has never been a part of it. But when 13-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.
Ingrid Bell and her five teenage cousins are such a close-knit group that they don't really mind sitting at the kid table --- even if they have to share it with a four-year-old. But then Brianne, the oldest cousin, lands a seat at the adult table and leaves her cousins shocked and confused. What does it take to graduate from the kid table?
Over the course of five family events, Ingrid chronicles the coming-of-age of her generation. Her cousins each grapple with growing pains, but it is Ingrid who truly struggles as she considers what it means to grow up. When first love comes in the form of first betrayal (he's Brianne's boyfriend), Ingrid is forced to question her own personality and how she fits into her family. The cousins each take their own path toward graduating into adulthood --- only to realize that maybe the kid table was where they wanted to be all along.
Telemachos has a comfortable life on his small island of Ithaka, where his mother Penelopeia keeps the peace even though the land has been without its king, his father Odysseus, since the Trojan War began many years ago.
But now the people are demanding a new king, unless Telemachos can find Odysseus and bring him home. With only a mysterious prophecy to guide him, Telemachos sets off over sea and desert in search of the father he has never known.
The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver --- deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school --- Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him --- at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died. Read our blog post by Ivy Devlin here.
The story of a young marine’s return from war in the Middle East and the psychological effects it has on his family.
Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.
But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.
Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.
Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for 14-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission --- to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo --- seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret.
Magic is dangerous --- but love is more dangerous still.
When 16-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas lit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworld-er with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by --- and torn between --- two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Skinned, BOOK 3: WIRED by Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse)
One year ago, Lia Kahn died.
A few days later, she woke up.
She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn’t judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever.
At least, it was supposed to.
But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all. Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can’t live without. But not before facing one final truth: She can’t save everyone.
Ten-year-old Jennifer Day lives in a small mining town full of secrets. Trying to make sense of the sudden death of her teenage sister, Beth, she looks to the adult world around her for answers.
As she recounts the final months of Beth’s life, Jennifer sifts through the lies and the truth, but what she finds are mysteries, miracles and more questions. Was Beth’s death an accident? Why couldn’t Jennifer --- or anyone else --- save her?
Through Jennifer’s eyes, we see one girl’s failure to cross the threshold into adulthood as her family slowly falls apart. Check out the review here.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. Check out our review here.
Travis Morrison knows how good his life is. He’s a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. He has Darla, the girl he loves; Emily, his kid sister, whom he actually doesn’t mind hanging out with; and Cooper, his best friend.
On the first day of summer vacation, all four go boating on the lake, and everything feels perfect. They cut the motor and drift toward their favorite spot, where cliffs abound --- nature at its finest. Travis’s friends ask him not to try the diving stunt, but he can’t resist a challenge.
Travis’s silly stunt dive goes wrong, and he fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals devastating news. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.
Travis understands that his parents believe they’re doing what’s best for him. But he’s always been sure of himself, and he’s sure of one thing now—that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. How will he convince the three people he feels he can count on most to help him? And when things get even worse, who will fulfill his most important request? Read our review of BREATHLESS here.
Known to the faithful as Little Texas, Ronald Earl King has been preaching on the revival circuit since he was ten.
He’s now 16, and his adoring followers still roar and praise his name.
So why is he plagued with dreams that are shaking his faith to its core?
When a nearly lifeless girl in a blue dress is brought before him, Little Texas lays his hands upon her just as he has done in countless other healings. But he knows that something is not right. This one is different. Is she just another of the grateful and devoted? Or is she something else? Is she following Little Texas…or haunting him? Read the review here.
Abby Lovitt has been riding horses for as long as she can remember, but Daddy hasn’t let her name a single one. He calls all their geldings George and their mares Jewel and warns her not to get attached. The horses are there on the ranch to be sold, plain and simple.
But with all the stress at school (the Big Four --- Linda, Mary A., Mary N., Joan --- have turned against her) and home (nothing feels right with her brother, Danny, gone), Abby can’t help but seek comfort in the Georges and the Jewels, who greet her every day with soft nickers. There is one exception: the horse who won’t meet her gaze, the horse who bucks her off, the horse Daddy insists she ride and train. Abby knows not to cross her father, but she knows, too, that she can’t get back on Ornery George. And suddenly the horses seem like no refuge at all. We've got the review of Smiley's THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS here.
When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home --- said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.
But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and how he could get to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.
Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.
I know it's ridiculous. Lights can't whisper. But I swear I heard a voice calling to me. It sounded like static to begin with, but then it came into focus, a single word repeated over and over.
The Disciples are being manipulated by beings older than time. Only Kernel Fleck knows that something is wrong. But he is in the grip of a creature that cares nothing for the fate of humanity. Voices are calling to him from the darkness and he's powerless to resist.
Kernel has already been to hell and back. Now he's about to go further.
Charlotte Usher, a.k.a. ghostgirl, discovers that the afterlife isn't quite what she expected when she's forced to intern at a hotline for troubled teens. She may be dead, but the phone lines sure aren't. So, when duty calls, Charlotte has to take the risk of a lifetime --- or call it quits for good.
GRACE by Elizabeth Scott (Dutton Juvenile)
Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.
Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they’ve reached the final page.
The last thing Harry “Dit” Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. B brainy Emma doesn’t play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white in the 1910s. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable. Read our review of THE BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD.
Mirasol is a beekeeper, a honey-gatherer, with an ability to speak to the “earthliness” on the sentient parts of Willowlands, where she lives. The concerns of Master, Chalice and Circle, who govern Willowlands, have nothing to do with her until the current Master and Chalice die in a fire and leave no heirs to take their places. The Master’s closest relative has been a priest of Fire for the past seven years; he is not quite human anymore. And then the Circle comes to Marisol and tells her that she is the new Chalice, and it will be up to her to bind the land and its people with a Master, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone….
Wil David can’t wait to take over his brother’s paper route. For years it has been tradition in his family to hand over the route to the next boy in line on his twelfth birthday and Wil is just about to turn 12 and get his chance to put his sidearm throw into action. But when the newspaper company cancels delivery to Wil's small town, it’s up to him to fight to save the route. Along the way, he unravels a carnival mystery, exposes a con artist, rescues his little town and becomes a true hero.
Continuing the absorbing, inventive saga started in FOUNDLING, LAMPLIGHTER follows Rossamund Bookchild, now one of the Emperor’s lamplighters, who is sworn to protect travelers from the ferocious bogles that live in the wild. Small and meek, he does not fit in. Then a haughty young female monster hunter is forced upon the lamplighters for training. As Rossamund begins to make new friends in the dangerous world of the Half-Continent, he also seems to make more enemies, finding himself pushed toward a destiny that he could never have imagined…Read our review here.