Anticipated Books (Winter/Spring) 2013: YA April-June

2013Here’s the second half of my Anticipated Books YA post. 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.

Jennifer Archer – The Shadow Girl (Mystery, jenniferarcher-theshadowgirlHarperTeen)
Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she’s with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I’m crazy.

For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily’s movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily’s secret.

But when Lily’s father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily’s mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily’s own identity.

catherinefisher-obsidianmirrorCatherine Fisher – Obsidian Mirror (Fantasy, Dial Books)
The obsidian mirror. Its power is great and terrible. Men have been lost in it, the dead brought back to life through it, and the future annihilated by it. Or it will be, unless the mirror is destroyed. One has been sent from the future to do just that. One protects the mirror at all costs, obsessed with its power. One needs the mirror to find a murdered father and save his life. Only one can succeed.

The mirror can send you to the past, but it will not bring you back.

Jordana Frankel – The Ward (Science Fiction, Katherine Tegen Books)jordanafrankel-theward
Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

helengrant-silentsaturdayHelen Grant – Silent Saturday (Mystery, Random House Children’s Books)
Seventeen-year-old Veerle is bored with life in suburban Brussels. But a chance encounter with a hidden society, whose members illegally break into unoccupied buildings around the city, soon opens up a whole new world of excitement – and danger.

When one of the society’s founding members disappears, Veerle suspects foul play. But nothing can prepare her for the horror that is about to unfold when an old foe emerges from the shadows… No one is safe, and The Hunter will strike again…

Karen Mahoney – The Stone Demon (Fantasy, Flux)karenmahoney-thestonedemon
The just-unleashed demon hordes have delivered an impossible ultimatum to the Order of the Crow: produce the Philosopher’s Stone, or suffer a reaper storm of demonic tribulation. If alchemist’s apprentice Donna Underwood can’t recreate the mythical artifact, the world will be plunged into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.

Pitting her dangerously unpredictable powers against a vengeful demon king, two maleficent faery queens, and an immortal magus with his own shadowy agenda, Donna must be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice–but this time, even death may not be enough.

emilymurdoch-ifyoufindmeEmily Murdoch – If You Find Me (Contemporary, Indigo)
A gripping mystery – can Carey finally face the terrible secret she’s been keeping?

A fluid, compelling and thought-provoking debut. Sisters, Carey and Jenessa, live with their mother in the heart of the woods – until Mum disappears and a social worker arrives with Carey’s father. Suddenly the sisters must adapt to the wider world. But Carey is burdened by a terrible secret that she fears will destroy her new life and new relationships. Can the truth set her free?

Jennifer E. Smith – This Is What Happy Looks Like Jennifer E Smith-1x3a(Contemporary, Headline)
When 17-year-old Graham Larkin sends an email to a friend about his pet pig, Wilbur, the last thing he expects is a response from the other side of the country, from one Ellie O’Neill. As their online friendship blossoms, they begin to reveal more about themselves, but crucially leave out the truth about Ellie’s past and Graham’s career as a Hollywood heartthrob. But, now that they’re together, it’s impossible to keep their secrets for long and there’s a lot to overcome if love is to blossom…

scotttracey-moonsetScott Tracey – Moonset (Fantasy, Flux)
Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents–members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset–began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.

When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past…and its deadly future.

Martha Wells – Emilie and the Hollow World (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry)marthawells-emilieandthehollowworld
While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.
Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.
With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.

armstrongmarr-lokiswolvesK.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr – Loki’s Wolves (Fantasy, Atom)
In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarök that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters – wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the sea beds – all bent on destroying the world.

But the gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history – because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarök is coming and kids – led by Matt – will stand in for the gods in the final battle, Matt can hardly believe it.

Matt’s, Laurie’s and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.

Alex Flinn – Towering (Fantasy, HarperTeen)alexflinn-towering
High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall, green forest stretch to places I might never see.

Mama, who isn’t my mother, has kept me hidden away for eight long years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books – great adventures, mysteries, and romances, that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me—my life is not a fairy tale after all.

Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it is now long enough to reach the bottom of the tower from my window. I’ve also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful green-eyed boy.

When Mama isn’t around, I plan my escape, even if it’s just for a little while. There’s something— maybe someone—waiting for me out there and it won’t find me if I’m trapped here TOWERING above it all.

Dan KrokosDan Krokos – The Planet Thieves (Science Fiction, Starscape)
Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. he trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.

But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

Bennett Madison – September Girls (Fantasy, HarperTeen)madisonbennett-septembergirls
Critically acclaimed author Bennett Madison presents a darkly imaginative and painfully honest novel about oblivious parents, sibling rivalries, first loves… and mermaids. This modern reimagining is perfect for fans of the irreverent wit of Ned Vizzini and the seductive magic of Alex Flinn’s retold fairy tales.

laurenmiller-parallelLauren Miller – Parallel (Science Fiction, HarperTeen)
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She’d go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it’s as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby’s life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby’s senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby’s never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn’t choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally within reach.

Chelsea Pitcher – The S-Word (Contemporary, Gallery Books)chelseapitcher-thesword
Lizzie wasn’t the first student at Verity High School to kill herself this year. But the difference is, she didn’t go quietly.

First it was SLUT scribbled all over the school’s lockers. But one week after Lizzie Hart takes her own life, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s own looping scrawl. Photocopies of her diary show up in the hands of her classmates. And her best friend, Angie, is enraged.

Angie had stopped talking to Lizzie on prom night, when she caught Lizzie in bed with her boyfriend. Too heartbroken to let Lizzie explain the hookup or to intervene when Lizzie gets branded Queen of the Sluts and is cruelly bullied by her classmates, Angie left her best friend to the mercy of the school, with tragic results.

But with this new slur, Angie’s guilt transforms into anger that someone is still targeting Lizzie even after her death. Using clues from Lizzie’s diary and aided by the magnetic, mysterious Jesse, Angie begins relentlessly investigating who, exactly, made Lizzie feel life was no longer worth living. And while she might claim she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, her anguish over abandoning and then losing her best friend drives Angie deeper into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

christianschoonChristian Schoon – Zenn Scarlett (Science Fiction, Strange Chemistry Books)
Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds the size of a hay barn to a baby Kiran Sunkiller, a colossal floating creature that will grow up to carry a whole sky-city on its back.

But after a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school and other near-disasters, the Cloister is in real danger of being shut down by a group of alien-hating officials. If that happens, Zenn knows only too well the grim fate awaiting the creatures she loves.

Now, she must unravel the baffling events plaguing her school, before someone is hurt or killed, before everything she cares about is ripped away from her and her family forever. To solve this mystery – and live to tell about it – Zenn will have to put her new exovet skills to work in ways she never imagined, and in the process learn just how powerful compassion and empathy can be.

Amy Tintera – Reboot (Science Fiction, HarperTeen)amytintera-reboot
La Femme Nikita meets Maximum Ride in this action-packed debut novel about seventeen-year-old Wren, who rose from the dead as a Reboot and is now the government’s top soldier—until she is given an order she refuses to obey.

Sage Blackwood – Jinx: The Wizard’s Apprentice (Fantasy, Quercus Children’s)
Never stray far from the path is the rule every child in the Urwald Forest follows. Every child, that is, except a boy named Jinx.

Jinx is an apprentice to Simon, a wizard who is just a little bit evil. When one of Simon’s spells robs Jinx of his ability to see other people’s thoughts, he decides to head off into the forest to try recover his magic.

Jinx’s mission brings him face to face with a very evil, soul-sucking wizard, the terrible Bonemaster. With help only from Elfwyn, who is cursed with a truth-telling spell, and Reven, who is far too polite to be useful in a fight, it looks like Jinx’s magic could be gone forever …

johncartercash-lupusrexJohn Carter Cash – Lupus Rex (Fantasy, Ravenstone)
Isyl and Cormo are two quail who must risk their lives when they are driven from their home by the crows when the Murder fractures over the decision of who shall rule the Tree. The disorder this brings to the region comes to the attention of the wolf Asmod and he sees an opportunity to make himself King. To restore order the quails must venture far from their home to seek an audience with a potentially dangerous ally, the hawk Pitrin. As the forest trembles with the approach of Asmod’s army, the two quail will find themselves entangled in an epic struggle, as they fight to bring peace to the Field.

Cassandra Rose Clarke – The Pirate’s Wish (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry Books)cassandraroseclarke-thepirateswish
After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

shannondelany-weatherwitchShannon Delany – Weather Witch (Fantasy. St. Martin’s Griffin)
Some fled the Old World to avoid war and some fled to leave behind magic. But even the fiercely regulated New World—with its ranks and standards and emphasis on decorum—cannot avoid the power that wells up in certain people and influences weather and calls down storms. So the Weather Witches—those who can control the weather—are hunted by Testers and Wraiths and made to power the Grounded population’s ships, their lights—their every luxury—in a time before either steam or electricity takes hold. Jordan Astraea, a high-ranking member of The Nine is from a flawless background with seemingly no taint of magic or witchery. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday celebration the Wraiths and the Tester appear and blame her for summoning an unscheduled storm. Taken from her family and near-boyfriend, Rowen, Jordan is sentenced to be Made—to become a Conductor—and be enslaved as a living battery for an airship. But breaking Jordan may prove the very thing the carefully constructed New World society cannot survive. And the chance of losing Jordan forever may make Rowen become the hero he would have never dared otherwise be.

David Fleming – The Saturday Boy (Contemporary, Viking Children’s Books)davidfleming-thesaturdayboy
Eleven-year-old Derek Lamb likes superhero comic books, Saturday morning cartoons, and Chocolate Ka??Blams, but he’d gladly trade all of these things to have his father home. For as long as Derek can remember, his father has been in Afghanistan piloting Apache helicopters for the US Army. The letters they write to each other are all they have to bridge the distance—ninety-one letters to date. But just when Derek’s best friend becomes his archnemesis, a time when Derek could use his father’s advice most, the letters stop. Derek’s whole life is on the brink of change and he doesn’t even know it.

pjhoover-solsticeP.J. Hoover – Solstice (Fantasy, Tor Teen)
Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy the Earth. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth—her very identity…

Imogen Howson – Linked (Science Fiction, Quercus Children’s)imogenhowson-linked
For years, Elissa has suffered nightmarish visions and unexplained bruises. Finally, she’s promised a cure, and an operation is scheduled. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the truth: she’s seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. A world filled with wires, machines and pain. Elissa follows her visions, only to find a battered, broken girl.

A girl who looks exactly like her. A twin she never knew existed.

Elissa and Lin go on the run, but even after changing their looks and clothes, they’re barely a step ahead of the government agents who are ruthlessly tracking them down. For Lin and Elissa are too valuable to let go, and the dark truth at the heart of it all is too shocking to risk exposing …

elizabethknox-mortalfireElizabeth Knox – Mortal Fire (Fantasy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie’s vacation takes a turn when she stumbles upon a mysterious and enchanting valley, occupied almost entirely by children who can perform a special type of magic that tells things how to be stronger and better than they already are. As Canny studies the magic more carefully, she realizes that she not only understands it–she can perform the magic, too, so well that it feels like it has always been a part of her. With the help of an alluring seventeen-year-old boy who is held hostage by a spell that is now more powerful than the people who first placed it, Canny figures out the secrets of this valley and of her own past.

Stephanie Kuehn – Charm & Strange (Contemporary, St. Martin’s Griffin)stephaniekuehn-charmandstrange
Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost, because his darkest fear is turning into a vicious wolf, just like his father. But he’s also part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a family secret so painful it led three children to do the unthinkable. Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild wolves inside his mind or learn that surviving means more than not dying.

alexanderlondonAlex London – Proxy (Science Fiction, Philomel Books)
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when both boys realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

Amy McCulloch – The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (Fantasy, Random House Children’sAmyMcCulloch Books)
Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all – not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future khan) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

sarahjamilastevenson-underneathSarah Jamila Stevenson – Underneath (Contemporary, Flux)
With New Agey parants and a Pakistani heritage, it might have been difficult for Sunny Pryce-Shah to fit in. Thankfully, she had her older, popular cousin Shiri to talk to–until now. Shiri’s shocking suicide brings heart-wrenching pain and grief, and also seems to have triggered a new and disturbing ability in Sunny: hearing people’s thoughts.

It’s awful, especially when Sunny learns what her so-called friends really think of her. Feeling more comfortable with the Emo crowd, she tells them about her strange talent and uses it to help cute, troubled Cody. But when his true motives are revealed, she isn’t sure whom to trust anymore. Sunny hopes to find answers in Shiri’s journal. Was her cousin also cursed with this “gift”? Will Sunny end up like Shiri?

Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill – Legacies

In the wake of the accident that killed her family, Spirit White is sent to Oakhurst Academy, a combination school and orphanage in the middle of Montana. There she learns that she is a legacy – not only to the school, which her parents also attended, but to magic.

All the students at Oakhurst have magical powers, and although Spirit’s power hasn’t manifested itself yet, the administrators insist she has one. Spirit isn’t sure she cares. Devastated by the loss of her family, she finds comfort with a group of friends: Burke Hallows, Lachlan Spears, Muirin Shae, and Adelaide Lake.

But something strange is going on at Oakhurst. Students start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, and the school seems to be trying to cover it up. Spirit and her friends must find out what’s happening – before one of them becomes the next victim…

Legacies is a YA fantasy, written by a well-oiled team. Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill have written nine adult novels together in the Elves on the Road universe, all published by Baen. I’ve enjoyed all of those, so I was curious to see what they would make of a YA story. It’s a Lackey novel, so I was always going to read it, but I was glad I read it as it was an entertaining story and I flew through it. Legacies is a classic magical boarding school story, though more X-men’s Xavier Institute than Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. I love these kinds of stories, where we get to explore the world with the protagonist and learn alongside them.

I liked Spirit. She’s resilient, without just bouncing back from such a crushing loss as if it were no more than a misplaced notebook. I loved that first scene in the hospital with Neil, the med student/orderly, as I found it strangely realistic, both Spirit’s depressed moping and Neil’s kick in the behind. The story was filled with this kind of small details, such as Muirin needing to be needled into taking responsibility at the scrying or Spirit’s needing to be reminded of her family to be shocked back into action in the final showdown of this book. However, despite not just ‘getting over’ her loss, Spirit does try and rebuild her life, even when this rebuilding doesn’t come easily. Reading about Spirit’s settling in at Oakhurst and forming friendships with her little cabal was a pleasure. I especially liked the descriptions of how the kids would try and get around all the restrictions and monitoring of their internet, email and IM use. I thought Muirin and Spirit’s use of Orwellian 1984 lingo was brilliant!

Legacies definitely read as the first in a series. There is lots of introduction of the characters and setup of the world, though there is a lot which remains unclear; the premise of the grand war is still shrouded in mystery and it isn’t even clear whether Dr. Ambrosius and the rest of the staff are good guys or part of the problem. Lackey and Edgehill also build up a definite triangle between Loch, Spirit and Burke, to be further elaborated upon in the next books, one presumes. Personally, I’m rooting for Burke to get our girl, as I love his steady dependability and his unfailing sense of fair play.

Unfortunately, the book contains lots of annoying loose ends too, such as Dr. Ambrosius’ weird personality switches, which are mentioned a few times, but never explained. Or the real cause of Spirit’s accident and how exactly are Spirit’s parents connected to Oakhurst? What happens to Nick and Edgar; do they come back or are they out of school forever? While some of these issues will no doubt be addressed in coming novels, I would have preferred if at least the minor ones, such as the last one, would have been wrapped up in this book, instead of just being left by the wayside. Because I fear that some of these loose ends will never be tied up and while I don’t mind ambiguous endings when they are deliberate, that doesn’t always seem the case here.

Despite the loose ends, Legacies truly is a fun read, a story you can breeze through in a sitting and not regret the time spent on it. I’d recommend it to younger readers, Lackey fans and readers who like books in this sort of boarding school setting or ‘education of the hero’-type novels.