Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Tween Reads: February

Tween Reads
February 2017


"It was a miracle to live as birds do..."
~ from Alice Hoffman's Nightbird
Recent Releases
The Dog, Ray
by Linda Coggin

Fantasy. Life after death is a lot more furry than Daisy expected. Following her untimely end in a car crash, the 12-year-old girl is reborn into the body of a puppy named Misty -- but with all of her memories from her human life. When she runs away in search of her human parents, Daisy finds homeless 14-year-old Pip instead, who adopts her and renames her Ray as he searches for his own lost family. Even as Daisy's memories start to fade, you'll be charmed by her doggy narration and moved by this thought-provoking tale of second chances.
The Bone Sparrow
by Zana Fraillon

Fiction. Though his family remembers a time before they were forced out of their home in Myanmar, Subhi only knows life in the Australian refugee detention center where he was born. It's a hungry, filthy, and violent place (thanks to the brutally abusive guards), and Subhi's only escape is his imagination, where he visits the Night Sea from his mother's stories. When Jimmie, a local girl who can't read, finds her way into the center with a notebook written by her mother, Subhi agrees to read to her, kicking off a secret friendship. For another realistic, heart-twisting reads about young refugees, try Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water.
The Lost Property Office
by James R. Hannibal

Adventure. The trip to London is supposed to help 13-year-old American Jack and his family track down Jack's missing father. Instead, it leads Jack to his own hidden heritage as a member of the Ministry of Trackers, a secret society of detectives who share Jack's superhuman ability for finding things. Before he can absorb this shock, Jack is targeted by the villainous Clockmaker, who claims that Jack can save his father by completing a dangerous quest throughout the city. Fans of both action and fantasy will be drawn in by the breathless pace, steampunk gadgets, and bookish in-jokes in this debut adventure.
The Friendship Experiment
by Erin Teagan

Fiction. Writing out standard operating procedures in her lab notebook helps sixth-grader Maddie organize her approach to her confusing life. Without SOPs, she's not really sure how she'd cope with her grandfather's recent death, her best friend's transfer to another school, and her sister's health problems (due to a blood disorder that Maddie shares). Her "How to Be Friendly" SOP, however, is challenged by irritating new girl Riley, forcing Maddie to question whether science really has all the answers. Similar to Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish, this touching tale stars a smart, awkward girl who applies scientific strategies to her personal problems, leading to unexpected results.
Focus on: Magical Realism
Each of these intriguing tales blends everyday life with magical people, things, or events. 
Nightbird
by Alice Hoffman

Fantasy. It's rumored that there's a monster living in Sidwell, Massachusetts. But 12-year-old Twig Fowler knows better than to believe rumors -- especially since the "monster" is actually her older brother James, who was born with wings due to an old family curse. Their mom says that they have to keep James a secret, but when sisters Julia and Agate move in next door, Twig and James make friends with them anyway -- and in so doing, discover the chance to change their family's fate. For another quirky, quiet book that mixes magic with everyday life, check out Jane Yolen's Centaur Rising.
Wish Girl
by Nikki Loftin

Magical Realism. Peter and Annie each have their own reasons for wanting to run away to the magical valley near their rural Texas community. Quiet, sensitive, and deeply misunderstood by his slowly fracturing family, Peter isn't sure he can keep going. Odd, artistic Annie calls herself a "wish girl" – as in Make-A-Wish, the program for kids with cancer. When family drama and the looming shadow of a risky cancer treatment overwhelm the two friends, they turn to the valley for safety, protection, and hope. If you're enchanted by author Nikki Loftin's poetic writing style, you might also enjoy her previous book, Nightingale's Nest.
The Lightning Queen
by Laura Resau

Magical Realism. For Teo and Esma, destiny strikes during their childhood in the 1950s, when Esma and her Romani family visit Teo's Mixteco community in the dusty Mexican mountains. Teo is grieving the loss of his twin sister, but spirited Esma (who calls herself the "Queen of Lightning") puts "the spark of life" back in him. Though Esma's fortune-teller grandmother predicts that their friendship will be lifelong, even lasting into the lives of their grandchildren, readers are fast-forwarded to the present day, where Teo and Esma have lost touch over the years. Can their grandchildren figure out how to reunite them so they can fulfill their destiny? Find out in this magical and deeply moving read. 
The Disappearance of Emily H.
by Barrie Summy

Mystery. You'd think that the ability to see memories attached to objects would be useful when starting a new school, but it's not much help to eighth-grader Raine. She still has to put up with the school's mean-girl clique, whose bullying seems more sinister when memories reveal that they know more than they're telling about the recent disappearance of fellow student Emily. Though following Emily's memories becomes increasingly risky, Raine feels compelled to find the missing girl. Combining authentic middle school social drama with supernatural mystery, Raine's dogged search for the truth is bound to keep you turning pages. 
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Ouachita Parish Public Library
1800 Stubbs Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
(318) 327-1490

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Teen Scene: Jan. 2017

Teen Scene
January 2017
"To us, the things that stirred mortal human emotions are incomprehensible. Only stories of love pass through our postmortal filter, yet even then, we are baffled by the intensity of longing and loss that threatens those mortal tales."
~ from Neal Shusterman's Scythe
 
 
Recent Releases
Merrow
by Ananda Braxton-Smith

Historical Fiction. Just like the water swirls around her home on Carrick Island, rumors swirl around Neen Marrey and her family. Some say that after Neen's father drowned, her mother wasted away with a broken heart. Others claim that she was a merrow -- a mermaid -- who followed her husband into the sea. Neen's harsh Auntie Ushag might know what really happened, but she's not telling, leaving Neen to search for the truth within the stories. Though the Irish folklore and snippets of Manx language in Merrow hint at a Middle Ages setting, this atmospheric, absorbing tale about the need to belong will still resonate with modern readers.
Of Fire and Stars
by Audrey Coulthurst

Fantasy. After arriving in Mynaria to prepare for her arranged marriage to the prince, Princess Dennaleia soon finds herself falling in love…only not with her fiancé. Already hiding her illegal magical abilities, Denna is keenly aware that she's responsible for clinching her country's alliance with Mynaria -- yet the deepening feelings between her and Mare, the prince's sister, are undeniable. As an assassination rocks the kingdom, both girls begin to question the future that's been chosen for them. If you're intrigued by the clash of romance and politics in this debut fantasy, you may also want to try Malinda Lo's Ash or Rachel Hartman's Seraphina series. 
Spindle
by E.K. Johnston

Fantasy. After years of imprisonment, a powerful demon escapes to claim her revenge by cursing the youngest member of the royal family who banished her. Princess Zahrah, known as the Little Rose, is only five when she's cursed to become the demon's pawn. There's time before the curse takes effect, however, and with some unexpected help from exiled spinner Yashaa and his friends, Zahrah sets out to break the curse and take back her life. Set in the same Arabian Nights-inspired fantasy world as author E.K. Johnston's earlier book, A Thousand Nights, this feminist retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" is sure to enchant fairy tale fans.
Fate of Flames
by Sarah Raughley

Fantasy. In an uncertain future where the world is plagued by monstrous Phantoms, the Effigies are humanity's last line of defense. Four girls with elemental powers, the Effigies are heroes and celebrities, and when one dies, another is chosen. After Effigy fangirl Maia inherits the powers of the Fire Effigy, she's shocked to discover that her idols are just as messed-up as any human. Then a new villain with game-changing powers appears, and the Effigies are forced to step up like never before -- if only they can learn to work together. Pairing high-stakes action with plenty of personal drama, Fate of Flames kicks off a new and unusual superhero series. 
Scythe
by Neal Shusterman

Science Fiction. Most job training isn't life-threatening, but being a Scythe isn't a typical job. It's 2042, and Earth is enjoying a post-mortal period, free of natural or accidental death. To keep the population in check, the Scythes -- an organization of professional killers -- are tasked with randomly "gleaning" lives. Sixteen-year-olds Citra and Rowan are horrified at the idea of murder, yet both are chosen as apprentice Scythes and forced into a winner-gleans-loser competition. As their violent training progresses, the apprentices take turns describing their moral misgivings and increasingly complicated relationship. If you're into provocative, philosophical science fiction, don't miss this series opener from award-winning author Neal Shusterman.
Focus on: Artificial Intelligence
The Scorpion Rules
by Erin Bow

Science Fiction. In the far future, an artificial intelligence called Talis has achieved world peace...by holding hostage the children of world leaders. Princess Greta has grown up as one of these "Children of Peace," but now her country is on the brink of war and her life could be forfeit. Enter Elián, a new, rebellious hostage who inspires Greta to question who she loves and where her duty truly lies. With an international cast of characters, Canadian author Erin Bow crafts an intricate world filled with impossible decisions and shocking twists. If you can't get enough dystopian fiction but are tired of the same old, same old, don't miss The Scorpion Rules, the 1st in the Prisoners of Peace series
Incarceron
by Catherine Fisher

Science Fantasy. Finn is trapped in Incarceron, a brutal, futuristic prison imbued with artificial intelligence and so vast that it's like a city. Claudia, the daughter of Incarceron's ruthless warden, is being forced into an arranged marriage for political reasons. The two of them live in completely separate worlds, but each is desperate to escape -- and they may be each other's only hope. Readers of either science fiction or epic fantasy who love twisting plots, intricate world-building, romance, and plenty of political intrigue are sure to be hooked by this riveting read and its sequel, Sapphique.
Willful Machines
by Tim Floreen

Science Fiction. You'd think that being the President's son would offer a life of ease, but things are far from easy for Lee Fisher. For one thing, he's been targeted by a rogue "artificially conscious" terrorist (ironic, since Lee is a robotics geek). Then there are his dad's ultra-conservative politics, which force Lee to hide the fact that he's gay and falling fast for his eccentric new classmate, Nico. And those are just the first of many thorny situations Lee has to face in this near-future techno-thriller filled with star-crossed romance and thought-provoking questions about artificial intelligence. 
Illuminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Science Fiction. Ugh, you know that feeling when your break-up is overshadowed by the destruction of your planet? No? Well, it isn't what Kady and Ezra are expecting either, but when their home on the mining colony Kerenza IV is annihilated by corporate rival BeiTech, their personal issues take a back seat to survival. Yet even after they escape on separate spaceships, survival is a tall order: the ships are afflicted with unrest, conspiracies, a crazed artificial intelligence, and a virus that turns people into rage-filled zombies. First in a trilogy and told through message transcripts, surveillance logs, and other "found documents," Illuminae is a gripping, unconventional science fiction thriller.
Contact your librarian for more great books! 
Ouachita Parish Public Library
1800 Stubbs Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
(318) 327-1490

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tween Reads: Dec. 2016

Tween Reads
December 2016

"Music surpasses all distinctions between people."
~ from Pam Muñoz Ryan's Echo
Recent Releases
Nothing But Trouble
by Jacqueline Davies

Fiction. How do you deal with the crushing boredom of sixth grade in a small town? For science-loving Maggie, the answer is "hacking." Hacking, Maggie explains to her artistic new friend, Lena, means "pulling off a prank with style." Armed with a hacker's guide by Maggie's late father, the two friends dedicate themselves to causing good-natured chaos at Odawahaka Middle School. Though both girls are dealing with some serious issues at home, their epic pranks -- which involve tiny parachutes, a huge inflatable mouse, and showers of ping-pong balls -- will keep you laughing throughout this series-starter from the author of The Lemonade War
Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II
by Alan Gratz

Historical Thriller. In World War II-era Germany, 13-year-old Michael O'Shaunessey, the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany, is in the perfect position to be a spy. Pretending to be an eager young Nazi, Michael joins the Hitler Youth to gain access to information he can share with the British Secret Service. The tense first-person voice will draw you in to this high-adrenaline tale as Michael describes his daring discoveries of German plans and blueprints -- until he's assigned to a team of junior Gestapo assassins, and he has to ask himself how much he's willing to sacrifice to do the right thing.
Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape
by Ron McGee

Thriller. Ryan has been training his whole life for this moment, although he didn't know it until now. His dad has gone missing and his mom has just been kidnapped when eighth-grader Ryan learns that not only are his parents operatives for the Emergency Rescue Committee, a secret international organization dedicated to risky rescues, but also that they've quietly taught him the skills he'll need for his first mission: to rescue them. Far-flung locations, breakneck pacing, and an action-movie plot make this thriller (the 1st in a series) a sure bet for fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books or Bruce Hale's School for S.P.I.E.S. series.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella
by Megan Morrison

Fantasy. In this clever fractured fairy tale, romancing a prince is an accidental side effect of a quest for justice. Though her stepmother forces her to attend Coterie Prep, talented seamstress Ella Coach remembers what it's like to be poor and hates being surrounded by rich, spoiled students who don't care about the kingdom's workers. Struggling to figure out how she can change things, Ella finds unlikely allies in Prince Dash (recently un-cursed) and Serge, a high-level fairy godfather. Though this sequel to Grounded is a stand-alone story, it holds special appeal for readers of the earlier book who've been waiting to revisit the land of Tyme.  



Long Reads for Lazy Days
At over 400 pages each, these boredom-busting books will grab your attention and keep you busy for a long time.
The Glass Sentence
by S.E. Grove

Fantasy. Thirteen-year-old Sophia and her uncle Shadrack live in 1890s Boston -- but it's not the 1890s in the rest of the world. During the Great Disruption, different parts of the globe were plunged into different points in time, making Shadrack's profession of magical mapmaker especially valuable. So valuable, in fact, that he's kidnapped by an organization hunting for a legendary map. With the help of some pirates, Sophia ventures through various times and regions in search of her uncle, encountering outlandish (sometimes nightmarish) creatures along the way. The 1st book in the Mapmakers trilogy, The Glass Sentence presents a cleverly re-imagined world, complete with geographic quirks and a unique, inventive system of magic.
Cuckoo Song
by Frances Hardinge

Historical Fantasy. Ever since she fell in the pond, odd things have been happening to Triss Crescent. She's ravenously hungry. Objects around her come to life. And she has trouble remembering her family: her protective parents, her hostile sister Pen, and her brother Sebastian, who died in World War I. Triss just doesn't feel like herself anymore…but if she's not herself, then who -- or what -- is she? Complex characters and touches of shivery horror give Cuckoo Song a dark, sophisticated edge. For another British historical fantasy in which magic collides with the everyday world, try Laura Amy Schlitz's Splendors and Glooms.
Echo
by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Historical Fiction. One enchanted harmonica, four intertwined lives. Otto, a boy lost in the woods, uses the harmonica to break a spell; Friedrich finds bravery in the harmonica's music while trying to escape Nazi Germany; in Depression-era Pennsylvania, the harmonica proves a useful tool for orphaned piano prodigy Mike; and in 1940s California, the harmonica helps Ivy survive injustice and find her musical talent. To find out how these four very different characters finally come together, pick up this lyrical story about "the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Marvels
by Brian Selznick

Fiction. In 1766, shipwreck survivor Billy Marvel finds a job at a fancy London theater. In 1990, Joseph Jervis runs away from school to look for his uncle in London. Billy's story is presented entirely through lifelike, carefully shaded pencil illustrations, while Joseph's is told only through words. The way in which these two characters connect might surprise you, even if you're already familiar with Brian Selznick's multi-layered, award-winning storytelling. Based in part on a true story, The Marvels is a bittersweet tale of lost love and found family that's sure to stay with you long after the final page.