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November 9, 2009

This Week's New Releases

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Whether you're in the mood for gripping historical fiction, heart-racing thrillers, quirky comedies or mind-bending fantasies, we're sure you'll find something to satisfy your literary cravings in this week's New Releases Roundup, which includes two installments in Laurie Faria Stolarz's paranormal Touch series; David Almond's heartbreaking tale of survival, RAVEN SUMMER; HAZEL, Julie Hearn's anticipated follow up to last year's IVY; and Margaret Peterson Haddix's latest suspense novel about a young Hollywood starlet, CLAIM TO FAME.


New Releases for November 10th


Hardcover

ANGEL IN VEGAS: The Chronicles of Noah Sark, by Norma Howe (Candlewick Press)
Who is Noah Sark, really? And what is he doing in the men’s room at Angelo’s Donut Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada? No use asking him; he doesn’t know. But he’s gambling that an assignment from above will shed some light --- after all, a life depends on it! Only master satirist Norma Howe could craft a provocative meditation on free will from blending one (or maybe two) budding teen romances, a psychic fair, a dead frog, a headful of blond curls, and Las Vegas in all its glitz and kitsch (hello, Elvis!) with the dramatic backstory of Princess Diana in Paris. The jackpot? A wild and witty portrait of an unlikely guardian angel on a desperate mission to save a certain unknown girl from a certain unknown disaster.

THE BROTHERS STORY by Katherine Sturtevant (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers)
Teenage twins Kit and Christy have grown up amid grinding poverty in their Essex village. As Christy has been “simple” from birth, Kit is literally his brother’s keeper. But the latest hardships visited upon their country home by the Great Frost of 1683–84 bring Kit to frustration and despair, and he abandons Christy to make his way to London, seeking to better himself. There he finds work as an apprentice to a struggling artist and much else to take his mind off what he has left behind. But the time comes when he can no longer ignore the problem of his brother.

A fascinating portrait of a young person struggling to balance family and freedom, The Brothers Story is also a frank depiction of Restoration London in its bawdy, raucous glory.

CLAIM TO FAME by Margaret Peterson Haddix
(Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
I have to tell you my secret. I can't go on...without revealing it. I had a pretty good run, hiding from everyone for five years. For five years I was safe. But now...

It was a talent that came out of nowhere. One day Lindsay Scott was on the top of the world, the star of a hit TV show. The next day her fame had turned into torture. Every time anyone said anything about her, she heard it. And everyone was talking about Lindsay: fans, friends, enemies, enemies who pretended to be friends....

Lindsay had what looked like a nervous breakdown and vanished from the public eye. But now she's sixteen and back in the news: A tabloid newspaper claims that Lindsay is being held hostage by her father.

The truth? Lindsay has been hiding out in a small Illinois town, living in a house that somehow provides relief from the stream of voices in her head. But when two local teenagers try to "rescue" Lindsay by kidnapping her, Lindsay is forced to confront everything she's hiding from. And that's when she discovers there may be others who share her strange power. Lindsay is desperate to learn more, but what is she willing to risk to find the truth?

THE MAGICIAN OF HOAD by Margaret Mahy (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster)
Heriot Tarbas was born with a gift. Visions wake him in the middle of the night, and others' thoughts invade his head. Heriot's mind already feels torn apart when the King of Hoad decides to tear him away from his family.

Heriot quickly discovers that life in the royal court is much more difficult and complex than life on the farm. Being at the beck and call of a King who expects him to read friends' and foes' minds alike is no small challenge, but neither is being caught in a power struggle among three princes and an intimidating Hero of Hoad.

As Heriot hones his skills and grows into the role of the Magician of Hoad, the number of people he can trust becomes smaller. Loneliness threatens to engulf him until a chance encounter brings a street urchin named Cayley into his life. Heriot feels inexplicably drawn to Cayley, someone he sees so much of himself in, yet at times feels like he does not understand at all. But even amidst the turmoil, Heriot is certain that his ever-developing power is the key to his destiny...if only he could figure out exactly what that destiny is supposed to be.

Award-winning author Margaret Mahy conjures a faraway, majestic land where truth is an illusion, freedom is a battle, and pure magic may be the only saving grace.

RAVEN SUMMER by David Almond
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones --- with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby’s parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison. Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam’s parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia. In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver’s dark past --- and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of.

WINTER’S END by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (Candlewick Press)
In a gripping dystopian novel, four teenagers risk impossible odds to fight against tyranny in a world of dangerous choices --- and reemerging hope.

Escape. Milena, Bartolomeo, Helen, and Milos have left their prison-like boarding schools far behind, but their futures remain in peril. Fleeing across icy mountains from a terrifying pack of dog-men sent to hunt them down, they are determined to take up the fight against the despotic government that murdered their parents years before. Only three will make it safely to the secret headquarters of the resistance movement. The fourth is captured and forced to participate in a barbaric game for the amusement of the masses --- further proof of the government’s horrible brutality. Will the power of one voice be enough to rouse a people against a generation of cruelty? Translated from the French, this suspenseful story of courage, individualism, and freedom has resonated with young readers across the globe.

DEADLY LITTLE LIES: A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Disney-Hyperion)
Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, the mysterious new boy at school who turned out to have a very mysterious gift --- pyschometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry, and experiencing her own strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her. Can the power of psychometry be transferred?
Even once Ben returns to school, Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Despite the romantic tension between them, Ben remains aloof, avoiding contact. Then when an unexpected kiss leads to a frightening argument, Camelia makes the painful decision to let Ben go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at work, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. Adam is easygoing, and seems to really care about her.

But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events upturns secrets from Ben's past --- and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who-before it's too late.

EVERWILD: Skinjacker Trilogy, Book Two by Neal Schusterman (Simon & Schuster)
There was the rumor of a beautiful sky witch, who soared across the heavens in a great silver balloon. And there were whispers of a terrible ogre made entirely of chocolate, who lured unsuspecting souls with that rich promising smell, only to cast them down a bottomless pit from which there was no return.

Everlost, the limbo land of dead children, is at war. Nick the "Chocolate Ogre" wants to help the children of Everlost reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Mary Hightower, self-proclaimed queen of lost children and dangerous fanatic, is determined to keep Everlost's children trapped within its limbo for all eternity. Traveling in the memory of the Hindenburg, Mary is spreading her propaganda and attracting Afterlights to her cause at a frightening speed.

Meanwhile, Allie the Outcast travels home to seek out her parents, along with Mikey, who was once the terrifying monster the McGill. Allie is tempted by the seductive thrill of skinjacking the living, until she learns a shocking secret: Those who skinjack are not actually dead.

Critically acclaimed author Neal Shusterman writes a book about life, death, and how the choices we make define ourselves in this luminous sequel to EVERLOST, which Orson Scott Card called "marvelously inventive...and magically beautiful."

HAZEL by Julie Hearn (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)
Hazel Louise Mull-Dare has a good life, but it's so dull. With an adoring father who grants her every wish, a place in the Kensington School for the Daughters of Gentlemen, and no pressure to excel in anything whatsoever, her future looks primly predictable.

But on the day of the Epsom Derby --- June 4, 1913 --- everything changes. A woman in a dark coat steps in front of the king's horse, in protest at the injustice of denying women the vote. She dies days later, bringing further attention to the suffragist cause. Young Hazel is transfixed. And when her bold new friend Gloria convinces her to take on the cause, Hazel gets her first taste of rebellion.

But doing so leads her into greater trouble than she could have ever imagined. Such great trouble that she is banished from London, all the way to where her family fortune originates --- a sugar plantation in the Caribbean. There Hazel is forced to confront the dark secrets of her family --- secrets that have festered, and a shame that lingers on.


Paperback

DEADLY LITTLE SECRET: A Touch Novel by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Hyperion Books for Children)
Sixteen-year-old Camelia Hammond’s normal life gets turned upside down when Ben Carter transfers to her school. Rumors fly that Ben murdered his girlfriend. Then Camelia starts receiving threatening letters and phone calls. Her gut says she can trust Ben, but then who is stalking her every move? And is the stalker really capable of the threats he makes?
- Click here to read our review of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET.

WTF by Peter Lerangis (Simon Pulse)
Two parties, six alternating points of view, and three letters that says it all --- WTF!


New Releases for November 12th

Hardcover

THE BETRAYAL OF NATALIE HARGROVE by Lauren Kate (Razorbill/Penguin Young Readers Group)
A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake...

Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party --- when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.

From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.


Paperback

BEAUTIFUL AMERICANS by Lucy Silag (Razorbill)
A story of four American teens in Paris… and the scandal that leads one girl to disappear.

This sparkling novel reveals exactly how it feels to be a teen in love, in angst, in a big, gorgeous, unfamiliar city. Fall in love with the elusive model --- gorgeous PJ, on the run from a mysterious past. Or Olivia, a hardworking ballerina whose fall from grace --- both literal and figurative --- lands her in the arms of the wrong boy. Witness the melodrama of jaded but beautiful Alex, whose seductions will never fill the void left by her father. Finally, let fun-loving Zack warm your heart with his vulnerability and sweet Memphis accent.

On their own for the first time, these kids go wild in Paris. But when PJ disappears, the others must face the lies they’ve told and the secrets they’ve kept in order to help find her.