Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the last one. 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!
Socorro Acioli – The Head of the Saint (Hot Key Books, Contemporary)
Dreams of love come true when they’re told to the right person…After walking for days across the harsh Brazilian landscape only to be rejected by his last living relative, Samuel finds his options for survival are dwindling fast – until he comes to the hollow head of a statue, perfect for a boy to crawl into and hide…Whilst sheltering, Samuel realises that he can hear the villagers’ whispered prayers to Saint Anthony – confessing lost loves, hopes and fears – and he begins to wonder if he ought to help them out a little. When Samuel’s advice hits the mark he becomes famous, and people flock to the town to hear about their future loves. But with all the fame comes some problems, and soon Samuel has more than just the lovelorn to deal with. This is a completely charming and magically told Brazilian tale, sure to capture your heart
Kelley Armstrong – The Masked Truth (Doubleday Canada, Thriller)
In this heart-stopping suspense thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong proves herself to be a master of terror and suspense.
Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.
Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.
The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.
The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.
Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.
Leah Bobet – An Inheritance of Ashes (HMH Young Readers, Fantasy)
The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.
S.A. Bodeen – The Detour (Feiwel & Friends, Thriller)
Livvy Flynn is a big deal – she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself. When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference. And then she hits the detour.
Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.
Teri Brown – Velvet Undercover (Balzer + Bray, Historical Fiction)
A thrilling and suspenseful World War I–era spy novel about a bright British girl who is sent into the heart of enemy territory to rescue Britain’s most valuable (and secret) spy—perfect for fans of Code Name Verity and What I Saw and How I Lied.
Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.
When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche, she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.
Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse, she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?
From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.
Linda Buckley-Archer – The Many Lives of John Stone (S&S Books for Young Readers, Historical Fiction)
An English teen questions all she knows about aging when she encounters a set of journals that date from the present back to the reign of King Louis XIV in this blend of contemporary and historical fiction from the author of the acclaimed Gideon trilogy.
Stella Park (Spark for short) has found summer work cataloging historical archives in John Stone’s remote and beautiful house in Suffolk, England. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and her uncertainty about living at Stowney House only increases upon arriving: what kind of people live in the twenty-first century without using electricity, telephones, or even a washing machine? Additionally, the notebooks she’s organizing span centuries—they begin in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles—but are written in the same hand. Something strange is going on for sure, and Spark’s questions are piling up. Who exactly is John Stone? What connection does he have to these notebooks? And more importantly, why did he hire her in the first place?
Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!
But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….
Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.
Jennifer Donnelly – These Shallow Graves (Hot Key Books, Historical Fiction)
Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.
Joe Ducie – The Rig (HMH Books for Young Readers, Thriller)
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a special juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. After hatching some escape plans—and making the first real friends of his life—Drake quickly realizes that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X, a blue glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan, and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom—but can they survive long enough to make it?
Charlie Han’s troubles are much bigger than he is. At school he’s branded an outsider, a loser—the tiny kid from the Chinese takeout. His only ally is Sinus Sedgely, a kid with a lower-level reputation than Charlie himself. Life at home isn’t much better. His dad is more skilled with a wok than he is with words, and his mom is suffocating the life out of Charlie, worried about his every move. But when a new passion leads Charlie to the mother of all confrontations, he finds his real mom has been hiding a massive secret. A secret that while shocking, might actually lead Charlie to feeling ten feet tall.
Tim Floreen – Wilful Machines (Simon Pulse, Science Fiction)
In this action-packed, high-octane debut, the closeted son of an ultra-conservative president must keep a budding romance secret from his father while protecting himself from a sentient computer program that’s terrorizing the United States—and has zeroed in on him as its next target.
In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.
Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.
But when attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.
As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive…and what makes life worth living.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.
Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
Sandy Hall – Signs Point to Yes (Swoon Reads, Contemporary)
Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.
Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.
In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.
That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths. Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
Daniel Kraus – The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1 (S&S Books for Young Readers, Historical Fiction)
A murdered teen is resurrected to walk the earth for centuries in this sweeping historical epic in the spirit of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, from the author of Rotters and Scowler.
Twenty minutes after his murder on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1896, seventeen-year-old Zebulon Finch awakens, resurrected to suffer an eternity upon the planet. But of all people…why him?
Is it because he was a violent Chicago gangster and this is his chance at redemption?
Is it because he is a modern-day Job whose suffering is beyond human comprehension?
Over the next century—or two—he will try to find out. With a sly aristocratic voice and a healthy appetite for women and anarchy, Zebulon Finch spins a tale of his travels across a young America, watching the country grow and mature, knowing that his mind and body will never do the same.
Yes, he is witty. He is also vain. Absolutely brilliant, too. And he is always entertaining. But have no doubt—Zebulon Finch has a heart as vulnerable as anyone’s. Too bad he doesn’t learn to use it till after it has stopped beating…
Susan Kreller – You Can’t See the Elephants (Translated by Elizabeth Gaffney) (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Contemporary)
When all the adults refuse to see, one brave girl takes an extreme step to protect two abused children.
When thirteen-year-old Mascha is sent to her grandparents’ for the summer, she spends her days bored and lonely at a nearby playground. There she meets Julia and Max, two young siblings who are incredibly shy and withdrawn. Mascha soon begins to suspect that they are being physically abused by their father, a prominent member of their small community. She tells her grandparents and the authorities, but they all refuse to believe her.
Mascha can’t let the abuse go on, so she takes matters into her own hands. Already an international award winner, this beautifully written novel is a haunting and timely tale.
Jen Larsen – Future Perfect (HarperTeen, Contemporary)
A bright, popular, and overweight seventeen-year-old is offered the chance to have weight-loss surgery. She doesn’t want the procedure, but when it comes with the promise of tuition to the college of her dreams, she is forced to reconsider it—and everything she previously believed about herself.
50 pounds for a trip to Disneyland. 75 pounds for a shopping trip in Paris. 80 pounds for a new car.
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley is content with her body as it is. But she falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to Harvard University, in exchange for undergoing weight-loss surgery. What’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone…but her?
The frank discussion of body image, and the author’s first-hand experience living through weight-loss surgery, make for a liberating read—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
Nigel McDowell – The House of Mountfathom (Hot Key Books, Fantasy)
There is a house. Surrounded by a high wall. Behind which magic happens. Luke Mountfathom knows he is special and odd. He is told so by everyone he knows. His parents are special and odd too – they are the keepers of the House of Mountfathom, a magnificent stately home where the wrong door could take you to a far away land, and strange animals appear to stalk the grounds at midnight. The house is his home – but it is also the headquarters of the Driochta, a magic-weaving group of poets, artists, politicians and activists charged with keeping the peace in Ireland. They have many powers – have mastered Mirror-Predicting and Smoke-Summoning and Storm-Breaching – and a final ability: that of Mogrifying; taking on a unique animal form. But Luke’s idyllic existence at Mountfathom cannot last. Word reaches the House of protests across Ireland. There is a wish for independence, a rising discontent and scenes of violence that even the Driochta cannot control. In Dublin, death and disease is running rife in the tenements; a darkness is clogging the air, and is intent on staying. And when things quickly spin out of control for the Driochat, it is up to Luke, his cat Morrigan and his best friend Killian to worm out the heart of the evil in their land.
Grace Mae knows madness. She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, landed her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. And inexplicably, she does nothing at all.
After the truth comes out, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are punished and made to do community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut Say What You Will with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes and learning to forgive.
Walter Dean Myers – Juba! (Amistad, Historical Fiction)
A gripping historical novel, based on the life of a real dancer known as Master Juba, from distinguished New York Times–bestselling author Walter Dean Myers.
My name is William Henry Lane, but when I dance, I call myself Master Juba, and people I know just call me Juba. Juba is a dance that black people do in the South. They say it comes from Africa. I don’t know about that, but most dancers in Five Points give themselves a stage name, so I settled on Juba. It has a nice ring to it.
This engaging historical novel is based on the true story of the meteoric rise of an immensely talented young black dancer who influenced today’s tap, jazz dance, and step. With meticulous and intensive research, Walter Dean Myers has brought to life Juba’s story.
Lisa Papademetriou – A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic (HarperCollins, Fantasy)
Two girls on opposite sides of the world connect through a mysterious book, whose phantom narrator guides them into a tale about a past romance that has surprising ties to each of their futures.
Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family for the summer in Pakistan—for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Georgia while her mom looks for a job. They have no idea that their utterly different worlds are about to get much, much bigger, and their futures are about to collide.
In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. When Kai writes three words on the first page, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As they take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.
This hilarious, inventive, and deeply touching story about destiny carries readers along as Kai, Leila, Ralph, and Edwina begin the search for their true selves, and discover the invisible threads that link us all, ultimately, to one another. Middle grade bestseller Lisa Papademetriou constructs a page-turning, endlessly accessible story for readers of all ages.
Anne M. Pillsworth – Fathomless (Tor Teen, Horror)
In Anne M. Pillsworth’s Fathomless, Sean dips even further into his magical destiny, but will blood prove thicker than the mysteries of Innsmouth’s briny depths?
Sean Wyndham has tried to stay away from the lure of magic-the last time he tried to dabble in the dark studies, he inadvertently summoned a blood familiar, wreaking havoc on his town, and calling the attention of the Elder Gods. But now Sean has been offered the chance to study magic with a proper teacher, overseen by Helen Arkwright, a friend of Sean’s father and heir to ancient order of much power, who protects New England from that which lurks in the coastline’s unseen depths. But will learning theory be enough, when there is a much greater magical secret hidden in Helen’s vaulted library?
Accompanied by his best friend, Eddy, and their enigmatic new friend Daniel, Sean wades out deeper into mystical legend and shadow. With hints and secrets buried long in family lore, they turn to the suspicious Reverend Orne once more for assistance. But as Sean deepens his understanding of his power, a darkness is waking…
Charlie Price – Dead Investigation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Mystery)
In this standalone sequel to Charlie Price’s acclaimed debut novel, Murray is a boy who lives in a cemetery and can talk with those buried beneath the tombstones. He’d rather no one knew, but word got out once he helped solve a fellow student’s murder. Now people think he’s nuts, or want to use his ability for their own ends, or don’t care that he might not want to get tangled in another police investiagation all over again. But there’s been a brutal killing—maybe more than one—and Murray may be able to help unravel the crime, although not without risking his own life.
When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?
Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.
As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s descent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist–or to see a deadly truth that no one else can.
Diana Renn – Blue Voyage (Viking Books for Young Readers, Thriller)
From the author of Tokyo Heist and Latitude Zero comes another edge-of-your seat international mystery with a strong female protagonist, this one about antiquities smuggling in Turkey.
Zan is a politician’s daughter and an adrenaline junkie. Whether she’s rock climbing or shoplifting, she loves to live on the edge. But she gets more of a rush than she bargained for on a forced mother-daughter bonding trip to Turkey, where she finds herself in the crosshairs of an antiquities smuggling ring. These criminals believe that Zan can lead them to an ancient treasure that’s both priceless and cursed. Until she does so, she and her family are in grave danger. Zan’s quest to save the treasure—and the lives of people she cares about—leads her from the sparkling Mediterranean, to the bustle of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, to the eerie and crumbling caves of Cappadocia. But it seems that nowhere is safe, and there’s only so high she can climb before everything comes tumbling down.
Emerson May is “the good girl.” She’s the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend’s brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn’t scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn’t want to be good…
The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer…
You can’t always trust the boy next door.
Rainbow Rowell – Carry On (St. Martin’s Griffin, Fantasy)
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything. Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.
Gary D. Schmidt – Orbiting Jupiter (HMH Books for Young Readers, Contemporary)
The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject’s body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
Blythe Woolston – MARTians (Candlewick Press, Dystopian)
In a near-future world of exurban decay studded with big box stores, daily routine revolves around shopping—for those who can. For Zoë, the mission is simpler: live.
Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, is starting work at AllMART, where “your smile is the AllMART welcome mat.” Her living arrangements are equally bleak: she can wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, leaving Zoë behind, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds. With a handful of other disaffected, forgotten kids, Zoë must find her place in a world that has consumed itself beyond redemption. She may be a last girl, but her name means “life,” and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.
Tim Wynne-Jones – The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick Press, Mystery)
The ghosts of war reverberate across the generations in a riveting, time-shifting story within a story from acclaimed thriller writer Tim Wynne-Jones.
When Evan’s father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk—a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in WWII. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan’s grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan? In a pulse-quickening mystery evoking the elusiveness of truth and the endurance of wars passed from father to son, this engrossing novel is a suspenseful, at times terrifying read from award-winning author Tim Wynne-Jones.
Alexander Yates – The Winter Place (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Fantasy)
There is a middle world between life and death, and Tess must navigate it to save her brother in this heart-wrenching story infused with the fractured and fantastical realms of Finnish mysticism.
Axel and Tess are bewildered when a stranger shows up in their backyard accompanied by a giant brown bear, but before they can investigate the bizarre encounter, something more harrowing happens: their father is killed in a freak car accident.
Now orphaned, Tess and Axel are shipped off to Finland to live with grandparents who they’ve never met, and are stunned to discover that the mysterious stranger with the bear has found them again. More stunning—they come to understand that this man isn’t really a man…he’s a keeper of souls. And the bear isn’t really a bear…it’s a ghost. Their mother’s ghost. Wandering, endlessly, searching for their father.
Then the Keeper invites Axel, who is fighting his symptoms of muscular dystrophy, to join the path of the dead—and when Axel disappears into the deep snow, Tess knows she must find a way to follow. There are mysteries connected to this peculiar man, this keeper, and if she can untangle them, she might not only save Axel, but also bring her parents peace.
Jenny Bennett – The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Feiwel & Friends, Contemporary)
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is-and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?
One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place – the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him?
A hugely fast-paced dystopian page-turner which by the end will leave you in a state of shock. For fans of Chaos Walking and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.
Natasha Carthew – The Light That Gets Lost (Bloomsbury Childrens, Thriller)
A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.
Years later, Trey goes to a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark …
Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.
Renee Collins – Until We Meet Again (Sourcebooks, Mystery)
Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck.
But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family’s private beach, claiming that it is his property—and that the year is 1925—Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence’s life into jeopardy. It won’t matter which century he is from if he won’t live to see tomorrow.
Desperate to save the boy who’s come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.
For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.
Laura Lettel is the most beautiful girl in the world. Her perpetual calm and her Mona Lisa smile drive Andrew crazy, but too nervous to talk to her, he admires her from afar during his senior year, enjoying his time with his two best friends, Sara and Marcia, and avoiding his neglectful parents and cruel older brother.
But in the final weeks before graduation, everything changes. Sara is hit by a drunk driver and ends up in a coma and Marcia drops everything to care for her in an out-of-state hospital. Andrews finds himself with no one to turn to—until the enigmatic Laura invites him to find comfort with her fundamentalist Christian group. Is Laura genuinely interested in Andrew’s well-being? Or does she view Andrew’s grief as a way to “convert” him? And, if religion is meant to bring the sort of inner contentment Laura exudes, why do many in the group seem as troubled as Andrew?
All the Major Constellations is a beautifully written debut about what happens when issues of life and death intrude into the already-confusing high school years. It deftly explores deep questions of identity, sexuality, and spirituality with a true frankness and an open mind.
Melissa de la Cruz – Tripple Moon: Summer on East End (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Fantasy)
A YA spin-off of Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Witches of East End, where twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook must learn to control their powers.
After they cause a terrible accident at their old high school, twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook are sent to live with their “Aunt” Ingrid Beauchamp in North Hampton, on Long Island’s mist-shrouded East End. Unable to control their powers, their father begs Ingrid to tame them over the summer, before the White Council exiles the girls to Limbo.
Trouble continues to bubble and boil when the girls meet the younger Gardiner boys, who are just as handsome and sexy as their older kin. But all is not as it seems. As Ingrid helps the girls learn to control their magical impulses, Mardi and Molly have just this summer to figure out how to grow up, how to love, and how to be a family.
Laura Malone Elliott – Da Vinci’s Tiger (Katherine Tegen Books, Historical Fiction)
For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity, Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de’ Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest masterpieces.
Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties.
When charismatic Bernardo Bembo arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is attracted to the handsome newcomer, yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a world of exquisite art, elaborate feats, and exhilarating jousts, she discovers romance, friendship, temptation, and a deadly battle between powerful families.
Fourteen-year-old Tommy Shore lives a life of privilege: he has the finest clothing, food, and education available and servants to take care of his every whim. He is the son of the chief administrator of Aeren-the most important man on the islands. Fifteen-year-old Tamsin Henry has grown up knowing only poverty, but she is the daughter of a revolutionary who longs to give her and their people more.
Ordinarily, Tommy and Tamsin would never cross paths, but on the day of a violent and deadly revolt, chance brings them together. Now the world waits to hear the fate of the August 5, five men led by, and including, Tamsin’s father and captured during the uprising. As tensions between the government and the rebels escalate, Tommy uncovers a brutal truth about his father. How will he ever get Tamsin to trust that he wants to help her cause, when she believes he stands for everything she’s fighting against?
Charlotte Huang – For the Record (Delacorte Press, Contemporary)
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like…until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule…Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
Martine Leavitt – Calvin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Contemporary)
In this latest novel from National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt, a schizophrenic teen believes that Bill Watterson can save him from his illness if he creates one more Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.
Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even has a best friend named Susie. As a child Calvin played with the toy Hobbes, controlling his every word and action, until Hobbes was washed to death. But now Calvin is a teenager who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hobbes is back—as a delusion—and Calvin can’t control him. Calvin decides that if he can convince Bill Watterson to draw one final comic strip, showing a normal teenaged Calvin, he will be cured. Calvin and Susie (and Hobbes) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track him down.
Juman Malouf – The Trilogy of Two (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Fantasy)
For fans of Brian Selznick comes a magical adventure of two very talented twins, gorgeously written and illustrated by debut author Juman Malouf.
Identical twins Sonja and Charlotte are musical prodigies with extraordinary powers. Born on All-Hallows-Eve, the girls could play music before they could walk. They were found one night by Tatty, the Tattooed Lady of the circus, in a pail on her doorstep with only a note and a heart-shaped locket. They’ve been with Tatty ever since, roaming the Outskirts in the circus caravans, moving from place to place.
But lately, mysterious things are starting to happen when they play their instruments. During one of their performances, the girls accidentally levitate their entire audience, drawing too much unwanted attention. Soon, ominous Enforcers come after them, and Charlotte and Sonja must embark on a perilous journey through enchanted lands in hopes of unlocking the secrets of their mysterious past.
Kate McGovern – Rules for 50/50 Chances (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Contemporary)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that tells her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother.
With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult-including her dream career in ballet and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool and gets an audition for a dance scholarship across the country, Rose begins to question her carefully laid rules.
Wes Moore, Shawn Goodman – This Way Home (Delacorte Press, Contemporary)
One young man searches for a place to call home in this gut-wrenching, honest novel from New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore with Shawn Goodman.
Elijah Thomas knows one thing better than anyone around him: basketball. At seventeen, he’s earned the reputation of a top-level player, one who steps onto the court ready for battle, whether it’s a neighborhood pickup game or a tournament championship.
What Elijah loves most about the game is its predictability: if he and his two best friends play hard and follow the rules, their team will win. And this formula has held true all way up to the summer before their senior year of high school, when a sinister street gang, Blood Street Nation, wants them to wear the Nation’s colors in the next big tournament.
The boys gather their courage and take a stand against the gang, but at a terrible cost. Now Elijah must struggle to balance hope and fear, revenge and forgiveness, to save his neighborhood. For help, he turns to the most unlikely of friends: Banks, a gruff ex-military man, and his beautiful and ambitious daughter. Together, the three work on a plan to destroy Blood Street and rebuild the community they all call home.
This Way Home is a story about reclamation. It’s about taking a stand for what matters most, and the discovery that, in the end, hope, love, and courage are our most powerful weapons.
Christopher Pike – Strange Girl (Simon Pulse, Fantasy)
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Pike comes a brand-new fascinating and seductive new novel about a girl with a mysterious ability—but one that carries an unimaginable cost.
From the moment Fred met Aja, he knew she was different. And she was.
Aja had a gift. But her gift came with a price.
After a shocking sequence of events, Fred must look back at their relationship, and piece together all of their shared moments, so he can finally understand Aja’s precious gift…and its devastating repercussions.
Allie is devastated when her sister commits suicide—and it’s not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.
Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.
But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.
Courtney C. Stevens – The Lies About Truth (HarperTeen, Contemporary)
An affecting and heartfelt story from the gifted author of Faking Normal, Courtney C. Stevens, about the struggle to move forward in the face of tragedy
Sadie Kingston is living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.
As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him. But Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. And Sadie realizes that she has to embrace the future to become whole again.
From author Courtney C. Stevens comes a story of hope and courage and the power to overcome the pain of loss.
Look to the left, look to the right. We’re all going to die. But someone has to do it first. So who’s it going to be?
Tragedy struck Amanda Tart’s town a year and a half ago when a sophomore girl was killed in a car accident on graduation night.
Amanda’s brother, Jonathan, was behind the wheel and too drunk to drive. He’s spent the past year in prison and has cut off all ties. But now Jonathan is coming home. Just as Amanda’s trying to figure out what that means for her family and herself, she’s paired up for a school project with Henry Crane—a former crush, and brother of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend, who survived the crash with horrible injuries.
Everyone is still incredibly damaged by the events of that night. Can Amanda and Henry finally begin to heal what’s broken and find some peace?
When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it’s too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?
Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.
Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.
Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.
Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.
Lauren Morrill – The Trouble with Destiny (Delacorte Press, Contemporary)
Set sail with this fun and irresistible contemporary YA from the author of Being Sloane Jacobs, a book Huntley Fitzpatrick says is “full of twists and romance” and Gwendolyn Heasley calls “funny, charming, and heartwarming.”
With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.
Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.