Tag Archives: ya

March 18 New Releases

19 Mar

the-riverman-aaron-starmerTitle: The Riverman
Author: Aaron Starmer
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Fantasy?
Page Count: 320
Blurb: Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis is not the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

February 11 New Releases! (and one or two from the past couple weeks…)

12 Feb

18079719Title: Grasshopper Jungle   
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Apocalypse?
Blurb: In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.
Excitement Factor: OMG

71lDO5ansSLTitle: Teen Spirit
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Fantastic
Blurb: After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.
When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

January 21 New Releases

22 Jan

13626692Title: Evertrue
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Fantastic…ish? Mythology remix?
Blurb: Inspired by the Persephone myth, this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy—whose captivating first book earned a VOYA Perfect Ten of 2011 and a Whitney Award—explores the resilience of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love. (This is totally not the real blurb, but since I haven’t read the second book yet I didn’t want to look at it too closely.)
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else to read. I enjoyed the first one but never got around to reading the second one, so if that ever happens, sure.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

23 Nov

The-Coldest-Girl-in-ColdtownTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Horror
Page count: 432

Tana woke lying in a bathtub.

Tana is a human girl living in a world just like our own, except for the fact that it is infested with vampires forced to live in ghettos called Coldtowns. One morning she wakes up disoriented in a bathtub, and when she emerges from her hangover coccoon she finds that everyone else in the party has had their throats ripped out and blood drained by vampires. Everyone, that is, except for her ex-boyfriend (Aidan), tied to a bed and infected (bitten but not drained), and a half-crazed vampire (Gavriel) chained on the floor next to him. In a moment of impetuous decisiveness (a character trait that continues throughout the book), Tana decides to rescue both before the culprits of the killing spree, nesting in the basement til nightfall, wake up and finish the job. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is the story of Tana, Aidan, and Gavriel’s adrenaline-charged flight to the dangerous safe haven of the nearest Coldtown, a race against the clock as Aidan descends into vampirism and Tana waits to see if she, also, has been infected. And what a ride it is.

Continue reading

September 10 New Releases

11 Sep

17262303Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick
Genre: Science Fiction-ish?
Blurb: A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .
Excitement Factor: OMG!!!!!!! AAAAAAH!!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!!! NEW PATRICK NESS!!!!! NEW PATRICK NESS!!!!!!!

17262236Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Miramax
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?
Excitement Factor: OMG. I mean, have you READ Code Name Verity??

16068905Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Blurb: In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Excitement Factor: Yes, please! I’ve been really wanting to read Eleanor & Park, and this has been getting stellar reviews.

September 3 New Releases

4 Sep

It’s been several months, I know. All my writing projects hibernated for three months while I went a little manic in the unusually long Vancouver summer. But never fear, dear readers: it’s starting to rain, which means I am going to be forced to wither away indoors for nine months of dedicated writing. So, without further adieu, here are this week’s notable releases:

17063696Title: The Lord of Opium
Author: Nancy Farmer
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: Matt has always been nothing but a clone—grown from a strip of old El Patron’s skin. Now, at age fourteen, he finds himself suddenly thrust into the position of ruling over his own country. The Land of Opium is the largest territory of the Dope Confederacy, which ranges on the map like an intestine from the ruins of San Diego to the ruins of Matamoros. But while Opium thrives, the rest of the world has been devastated by ecological disaster—and hidden in Opium is the cure. And that isn’t all that awaits within the depths of Opium. Matt is haunted by the ubiquitous army of eejits, zombielike workers harnessed to the old El Patron’s sinister system of drug growing—people stripped of the very qualities that once made them human. Matt wants to use his newfound power to help, to stop the suffering, but he can’t even find a way to smuggle his childhood love, Maria, across the border and into Opium. Instead, his every move hits a roadblock, some from the enemies that surround him…and some from a voice within himself. For who is Matt really, but the clone of an evil, murderous dictator?
Excitement Factor: OMG. This is the sequel to one of my faves, The House of the Scorpion. If you haven’t read it, what the heck are you waiting for?

The-Coldest-Girl-in-ColdtownTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Horror-ish
Blurb: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please! I love Holly Black.

 

 

June 4 and 11 New Releases

14 Jun

I’m a lazy cad, so here are the new releases that interest me from the past two weeks. Note: THERE ARE ONLY TWO OF THEM.

far-far-awayTitle: Far Far Away
Author: Tom McNeal
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy/horror
Blurb: It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn’t even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

14061955Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Fantasy
Blurb: Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Excitement Factor: Even though I had tons of problems with the first book, I still found it compulsively readable so sure, why not.

May whatever new releases

22 May

I am making a resolution to try harder to keep on top of this blog. I have read TWO YA novels this month without reviewing them and this aggression will not stand. Also, when I tried to take out the third season of Battlestar Galactica from the library today it was CHECKED OUT, so I guess I have no choice but to stop being a couch potato and write.

557278_1286734502628_full(I miss Anders, though.)

Alas, there still hasn’t been much being published that has me too excited. Since there is absolutely nothing this week that has my panties in a bunch, here are a couple from earlier this month that I am at least moderately interested in:

9852529Title: Yellowcake
Author: Margo Lanagan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy/short stories
Blurb: Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from the extraordinarily talented Margo Lanagan–each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking. The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity.  The people of Lanagan’s worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging. These are stories to be savored slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are.
Excitement factor: Yes please! Margo Lanagan is one of those weird fantasy writers I’ve been meaning and needing to read for some time now.

imagesTitle: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
Excitement factor: Yes, please! Even though I was the only person ever who didn’t love Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist (I couldn’t even finish it), this sounds soooo sweet I have to give him another try.

Next up: I am reading Quintana of Charyn and I swear to GODDESS that I will review it. Cross my heart and  don’t hope to die.

In Darkness by Nick Lake

9 Apr

11451112I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help.

Nick Lake‘s In Darkness is the 2013 Printz Award winning story of a nameless teen trapped in the rubble underneath a collapsed hospital after the Haiti earthquake. His only companion in the darkness is a decomposing hand, his own memories, and a psychic connection to Touissant l’Ouverture, a Haitian revolutionary who lived 200 years earlier.

So, this book is…wait for it…dark. And when I say it’s dark, I mean dark in every sense of the word. Half of the narrative’s setting is defined by absolute darkness. The sense of claustrophobia as we experience the narrator’s blindness, his thirst that drives him to drink whatever blood has collected on the floor, to reach out and touch a disembodied hand just to see if his only companion in his coffin is alive, is overwhelmingly visceral.

The subject matter is dark. It is a story of horrible lives, of murder and murderers, of watching your father get hacked apart by machete toting gangsters, of fighting for your country’s freedom only to die in a dungeon on the other side of the world. This is the kind of story that, for the bulk of its telling, makes you want to kill yourself from the overwhelming sense that there is nothing good in the world, at all.

The writing is staggering in its bleak beauty. Some of my favorite quotes include:

“I tried to call out, but bullets are faster than words, and I was just standing there in the middle of all that metal death” (263).

“We have a mouth – we can feel it in our face, an opening into us that can let the spirit out – but when we use it, when we speak, there is no one to listen. The voices that come to us, drifting through the darkness beyond our prison, they might as well be the voices of the dead. (…) We are a slave to this space, to the inevitable decay of trapped things. We can feed ourselves, but there is no food; we can work with our hands and with our minds, but there is nothing on which to work; we have eyes, but there is nothing to see. There is no future and no past. We are in the darkness. We are one” (326-7).

One of my favorite things about this book was the spirit of Om that came through more and more strongly as the narrative progressed; the sense of emptiness and unity, while horribly depressing in context, was also one of the only reoccurring moments in which I, as a reader, felt liberated from the oppressing sense of insurmountable awfulness.

At times I struggled to get through Touissant’s half of the narrative; it just didn’t have the pop that our nameless narrator’s story had. However, I appreciated the parallels of experience that spanned the hundreds of years between their physical lives, and so I was able to deal.

All in all, this is a pretty amazing book that still continues to haunt me even though I finished it about two weeks ago. However, there are parts that can be difficult to get through without wanting to say “fuck this world, I want to die,” so just be forewarned if you do decide to pick it up.

And, just because Biggie Smalls is mentioned every other page, it’s only fitting that he gets the spotlight for this edition’s music match.

February 26 New Releases

28 Feb

13401993Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life. Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

15745753Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Realistic
Blurb: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
Excitement factor: Sure, why not.

14760527Title: Pulse
Author: Patrick Carman
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Science fiction/fantasy
Blurb: With the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan Gilmore, Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a “pulse,” and Dylan has the talent, too.
In riveting action scenes, Faith demonstrates her ability to use her pulse against a group of telekinesis masters who are so powerful they can flatten their enemies by uprooting streetlights, throwing boulders, and changing the course of a hurtling hammer so that it becomes a deadly weapon. But even with her unusual talent, the mind—and the heart—can be difficult to control. If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she’ll have to harness the power of both.
Excitement factor: Sure, why not.