Welcome to the penultimate post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Today I’m sharing the second half of my picks for books published for the YA crowd. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
Rosie Best – Skulk (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry Books)
When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.
As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.
John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard – Conquest (SF, Headline)
Earth is no longer ours. It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilised yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders.
Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape.
But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home.
For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun…
Laure Eve – Fearsome Dreamer (Fantasy, Hot Key Books)
In the world of FEARSOME DREAMER, England has become Angle Tar – a technophobic and fiercely independent country holding its own against the mass of other nations that is World. Rue is an apprenticed hedgewitch in rural Angle Tar, but she knows she is destined for greater things. After being whisked off to the city by the enigmatic Frith, Rue becomes the student of White, a young Worlder with a Talent that is much in demand: White is no ordinary Dreamer – but then neither is Rue. Both can physically ‘jump’ to different places when they dream – and both have more power than they know.
Rue and White find themselves electrically attracted to each other – but who is the mysterious silver-eyed boy stalking Rue’s dreams? And why is he so interested in her relationship with White? Is Rue about to discover just how devastatingly real dreams can be…?
Carol Goodman – Blythewood (Fantasy, Viking Children’s Books)
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.
But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.
Nina de Gramont – Meet Me at the River (Contemporary, Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to being something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.
Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly and desperately alone. Unable to outrun the waves of grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.
He visits only at night. But when he’s with her, it’s almost like the accident never happened. Oh, there are reminders, from the way she can only feel him when he touches the scars on her wrist, to how she can’t seem to tell him about life since he’s been gone. As long as they’re together, though, the rest…it fades away.
But during the day it is Tressa who can’t grasp hold of the people around her. The same people who never wanted her and Luke together in the first place are determined to help her move on. Determined to help her heal. They just don’t understand—one misstep, one inch forward, could leave Luke behind forever.
Vicki Grove – Everything Breaks (Fantasy, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Tucker was supposed to be the designated driver. But there was something about the beauty of that last true summer night, that made him want to feel out-of-control just once. He drank so much and so quickly that he was instantly sick. That left Trey to drive. “I’ll catch up to you later,” were the last words Tucker would ever say to his friends as he heaved by the side of the road. It was the last time Tucker would ever see them alive.
Tucker’s grief and guilt are just about unbearable and he wonders how he can continue living himself. When he meets the Ferryman who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers that divide the world of the living from the world of the dead, Tucker gets a chance to decide: live or die. The temptation to join his three best friends on the other side may be too much for Tucker to overcome.
Dawn Klehr – The Cutting Room Floor (Mystery, Flux)
Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.
Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.
Meg Rosoff – Picture Me Gone (Mystery, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.
A.E. Rought – Tainted (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry Books)
Alex Franks believes the madness is behind them. With Ascension Labs under his direction and the forces threatening Emma’s life overcome, they have a chance at a normal life, and keeping his secrets safely buried.
But a shadow rises from Alex’s past, and she wants him back. Criminally brilliant, Hailey Westmore will stop at nothing to claim the boy she was meant to be with.
Without warning, Emma Gentry finds she cannot trust anything. Not her mind, her memory, not even herself. Tragic events and unexpected deaths stalk Alex and Emma, testing them in ways they would never imagine, and may not survive.
Alex carries a new secret, and a horrifying guilt that Hailey uses to her advantage. Emma’s life and sanity in the balance, and Alex may have created a monster…
Lydia Syson – That Burning Summer (Historical, Hot Key Books)
Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it’s Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy’s brother Ernest’s curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.
Jessica Verday – The Beautiful and the Damned (Fantasy, Simon Pulse)
Cyn and Avian are far from a perfect match. She’s a witch who casts spells on men so she can steal their cars. He spends his time being judge, jury, and executioner to the truly evil in the supernatural realm.
When the blackouts Cyn’s been having ever since her time in Sleepy Hollow start escalating, she finds herself unable to remember where she’s been or what she’s been doing. Frightened, she seeks guidance at a local church, and it’s there she meets Avian.
The unlikely pair soon discovers that her blackouts are a side effect of what she truly is—an Echo—a conduit for souls of the dead. The only way to prevent Cyn from losing complete control is to return to Sleepy Hollow and vanquish the source of her power—but she may not survive the process. And if she does? She won’t ever be the same…
Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping.
Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you.
And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals.
Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilites.
For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough.
But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother’s horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be…
Robyn Bavati – Pirouette (Contemporary, Flux)
Simone was raised to be a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her adoptive parents think it’s just a hobby. When the two girls meet at Candance summer camp, they realize they’re identical twins. Then they decide to switch places for the three weeks of camp.
As the girls learn about each other, a new plan develops. Since Hannah and Simone are from the same city but live in different suburbs, they decide to swap places at home. Yet fooling their friends and family is more challenging than either girl expected, and they’re both burdened by the weight of their lies. How long can Hannah and Simone keep pretending? What will happen when the truth is revealed?
Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.
They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.
Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.
The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
Karen Foxlee – The Midnight Dress (Fantasy, Hot Key Books)
All her life, Rose Lovell has moved from town to town with her alcoholic father. When they wash up in an Australian coastal sugarcane town, Rose wonders if maybe, finally, things will be different this time. On her first day at school, Rose meets Pearl Kelly, a popular, pretty and lively girl intent on tracking down her long-lost Russian father. She convinces Rose to join in with the town’s annual Harvest Parade, and Rose agrees, despite thinking the whole thing is embarrassingly yokel. She has to find a truly special dress – one that will make it clear she is different to the rest of the girls in this town. And who better to help her than the local eccentric, Edie Baker, who knows all the town’s secrets and whose own family is a rich tapestry of stories, including whispers of witchcraft and murder. Edie agrees on the condition that Rose will create the dress with her – a dress woven from scraps and secrets and stories.
Sally Gardner – Tinder (Fantasy, Indigo)
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half-beast half-man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire – pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Margaret Peterson Haddix – Full Ride (Contemporary, S&S Books for Young Readers)
Becca’s claim to fame is one she’s been hiding from for the past three years: Her father is a notorious embezzler, and when he was caught, his excuse was, “How else is a guy like me supposed to put his kid through college?”
Three years after the trial and imprisonment that destroyed Becca’s life, she and her mother have started over again and are living in a town where no one knows their secret. But as college—and its cost—looms large, Becca begins to wonder how they’ll afford it. And how she can apply for financial aid without divulging her secret? A local scholarship opportunity seems like a dream come true, but as the application process commences, Becca uncovers a chain of secrets that could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build. But the truth could also lead her toward the future she’s always dreamed of…
Julie Halpern – The F- It List (Contemporary, Feiwel and Friends)
Alex’s father recently died in a car accident. And on the night of his funeral, her best friend Becca slept with Alex’s boyfriend. So things aren’t great. Alex steps away from her friendship with Becca and focuses on her family.
But when Alex finally decides to forgive Becca, she finds out something that will change her world again–Becca has cancer.
So what do you do when your best friend has cancer? You help her shave her head. And then you take her bucket list and try to fulfill it on her behalf. Because if that’s all you can do to help your ailing friend–you do it.
Assigned by her English teacher to write a poem that reveals her true self, Cassandra Randall is stuck. Her family’s religion is so overbearing, she can NEVER write about who she truly is. So Cass does what any self-respecting high school girl would do: she secretly begins writing a tarot-inspired advice blog. When Drew Godfrey, an awkward outcast with unwashed hair, writes to her, the situation spirals into what the school calls “a cyberbullying crisis” and what the church calls “sorcery.” Cass wants to be the kind of person who sticks up for the persecuted, who protects the victims the way she tries to protect her brother from the homophobes in her church. But what if she’s just another bully? What will it take for her to step up and tell the truth?
Jonathan L. Howard – Katya’s War (SF, Strange Chemistry Books)
The battle lines have been drawn. The people of Russalka turn upon one another in a ruthless and unwavering civil war even while their world sickens and the deep black ocean is stained red with their blood. As the young civilisation weakens, its vitality fuelling the opposing armies at the cost of all else, the war drums beat louder and louder.
Katya Kuriakova knows it cannot last. Both sides are exhausted – it can only be a matter of days or weeks before they finally call a truce and negotiate. But the days and weeks pass, the death toll mounts, and still the enemy will not talk.
Then a figure from the tainted past returns to make her an offer she cannot lightly refuse – a plan to stop the war. But to do it she will have to turn her back on everything she has believed in, everything she has ever fought for, to make sacrifices greater even than laying down her own life. To save Russalka, she must become its greatest enemy.
Emily McKay – The Lair (Fantasy, Berkley)
In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been “quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .
After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.
Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.
But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.
Barbara Stewart – The In-Between (Contemporary, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Fourteen-year-old Elanor Moss has always been an outcast who fails at everything she tries—she’s even got the fine, white scars to prove it. Moving was supposed to be a chance at a fresh start, a way to leave behind all the pain and ugliness of her old life. But, when a terrible car accident changes her life forever, her near-death experience opens a door to a world inhabited by Madeline Torus . . . Madeline is everything Elanor isn’t: beautiful, bold, brave. She is exactly what Elanor has always wanted in a best friend and more—their connection runs deeper than friendship. But Madeline is not like other girls, and Elanor has to keep her new friend a secret or risk being labeled “crazy.” Soon, though, even Elanor starts to doubt her own sanity. Madeline is her entire life, and that life is drastically spinning out of control. Elanor knows what happens when your best friend becomes your worst enemy. But what happens when your worst enemy is yourself?
Michelle Zink – This Wicked Game (Fantasy, Dial Books for Young Readers)
Claire Kincaid would love to be normal. But as a descendant of Marie Leveau, the most powerful voodoo queen in history, that’s just not possible. Even worse, Claire’s lack of interest in the craft makes her an outsider in her community, putting her secret romance with the voodoo Guild leader’s son at odds. But when mysterious strangers start requesting black market items from local voodoo shops, including the one her family owns, Claire decides to investigate. With the help of some unlikely allies and her gorgeous boyfriend, Claire must uncover the dark truths her family has kept hidden from her and unravel a dangerous plot that threatens to destroy every member of the Guild, including her family and the boy she loves.
Greg Weisman – Rain of the Ghosts (Fantasy, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Welcome to the Prospero Keys (or as the locals call them: the Ghost Keys), a beautiful chain of tropical islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Rain Cacique is water-skiing with her two best friends Charlie and Miranda when Rain sees her father waiting for her at the dock on the pier. SEBASTIAN BOHIQUE, her maternal grandfather, has passed away. He was the only person who ever made Rain feel special. The only one who believed she could do something important with her life. The only thing she has left to remember him by is the armband he used to wear: two gold snakes intertwined, clasping each other’s tails in their mouths. Only the armband . . . and the gift it brings: Rain can see dead people. Starting with the Dark Man: a devilishly handsome World War II fighter pilot who looks more than a little familiar: ‘Bastian’s spirit. It turns out granddad’s armband wasn’t just for show. It was a ZEMI. A talisman of power created by the Arawak Taino Indians who originally inhabited these islands. When Rain’s grandfather died, his spirit passed into the zemi. Now her grandfather’s ghost is determined to prove to her just how special she is by revealing the Ghost Keys’ hidden world of mystery and mysticism, intrigue and adventure.