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.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Teen Scene: Dec. 2016

Teen Scene
December 2016

"I didn't know you this morning, and now I don't remember not knowing you."
~ from Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star
 
Recent Releases
The Rains
by Gregg Hurwitz

Science Fiction. After a meteor strike turns adults 18 and older into vicious, zombie-like hosts for parasitic aliens, the thought of growing up becomes scarier than a death sentence. Though 15-year-old Chance and his older brother Patrick have (so far) managed to fight off the predatory adults, they know their safety may be short-lived: Patrick's 18th birthday is only days away. Desperate, the brothers (along with Patrick's girlfriend Alex) venture out into danger, hoping to find answers before Patrick's time is up. Full of gritty, pulse-pounding action, The Rains is perfect for fans of Rick Yancey's 5th Wave series or Isla J. Bick's Ashes trilogy. 
The Diabolic
by S.J. Kincaid

Science Fiction. Genetically engineered to be an emotionless bodyguard, a Diabolic bonds to a single person, doing whatever it takes to keep them safe. For teen Diabolic Nemesis, that means impersonating her privileged charge, Sidonia, and becoming a hostage to the Galactic court in Sidonia's place. Treachery lurks everywhere at court, and while trying to convincingly fake emotions, Nemesis is shocked to actually feel them – especially when it comes to Tyrus, the Emperor's heir. If you love high-stakes, futuristic science fiction like Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, don't miss this "philosophical, twisty, and addictive" (Kirkus Reviews) series opener.
My Sister Rosa
by Justine Larbalestier

Thriller. At ten years old, Rosa is smart and charming...and probably a psychopath. For years, her 17-year-old brother Che has been concerned by Rosa's sadistic, manipulative tendencies, and since their Australian family's recent move to New York City, Che's protective concern has turned to alarm. As Rosa's disturbing behavior escalates and dark family secrets come to light, Che -- who's already dealing with making new friends and falling in love with fellow boxer Sojourner -- faces a painful question: is he afraid for his sister, or of her? Diverse, compelling characters and gripping psychological tension make My Sister Rosa difficult to put down.
Heartless
by Marissa Meyer

Fantasy. Lady Catherine "Cath" Pinkerton doesn't want to be queen. Though her ambitious parents are thrilled when the King of Hearts takes an interest in her, Cath would prefer opening a bakery over marriage (she does a delectable lemon tart). Cath's choices, however, are narrowed by a tangled knot of politics and fate as she's courted publicly by the king and secretly by the alluring new court joker, Jest. Expanding on the whimsical world of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, this delicious backstory for the head-chopping Queen of Hearts will captivate readers who relish fractured fairy tales and sympathetic villains.
The Sun Is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon

Fiction. Can a single day change the direction of your life? Both Natasha and Daniel believe it might, though for different reasons: practical, scientific Natasha is making a final attempt to stop her family's deportation to Jamaica, while dreamy Korean-American Daniel is headed to a prestigious but unwanted college interview. Neither of them expects to meet the other, or to feel an undeniable bond that kicks off a confusing yet unforgettable 12 hours. With lyrical writing, multiple perspectives, and authentic characters, this tale of a whirlwind relationship will "appeal to cynics and romantics alike" (Kirkus Reviews).
Focus on: Spies
Also Known As
by Robin Benway

Spy Fiction. As the daughter of international spies, 16-year-old Maggie is well-traveled, an expert safe-cracker, and has never had to go to school. That last fact changes with her first solo assignment: she's got to infiltrate an elite private high school in New York and get close to wealthy Jesse Oliver, whose father has intel that could destroy Maggie's parents' spy ring. Though she's lacking in typical high school social skills, Maggie finds help from a snarky new friend and quickly realizes that she doesn't have to fake her interest in Jesse. For further witty, romantic tales of teen espionage, try the sequel, Going Rogue, or Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.
Etiquette & Espionage
by Gail Carriger

Steampunk Fiction. Sophronia Temminnick's mother has high hopes that Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy will transform her troublemaking daughter into a proper Victorian lady. Little does she know that while the school does indeed teach deportment, it also instructs the girls in the arts of espionage and assassination -- much to Sophronia's delight. Set in the same 19th-century world as author Gail Carriger's popular Parasol Protectorate series, Etiquette & Espionage offers a winning combination of twisted history, mystery, and madcap adventure.
Sekret
by Lindsay Smith

Historical Science Fiction. In 1963 Russia, the Cold War rages quietly, and Yulia Chernina discovers that psychic powers are both an asset and a liability. Targeted for her ability to "read" objects and people through touch, Yulia is kidnapped by the KGB, who want her to join their training program for psychic spies. With her family's lives on the line, Yulia has no choice but to comply…and wait for the right moment to run. Filled with complicated relationships and unexpected reveals, this thriller with a science fiction twist also boasts an intensifying pace that will keep you reading to the last page and into the sequel, Skandal.
Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein

Historical Spy Thriller. After crash-landing in France in 1943 and being captured by Nazis, a female wireless operator for the British (who goes by Queenie, Eva, Verity, and various other aliases) reveals bits of code in exchange for reprieve from torture...and to postpone her execution. Woven into Verity's confession is a powerful, gritty tale of war, friendship, espionage, and great courage -- one that reviewers describe as "gut-wrenching" (Booklist), "heartbreaking" (VOYA), and "downright sizzling" (Horn Book). If you feel the same way, be sure to check out the follow-up, Rose Under Fire, and watch out for The Pearl Thief, a prequel due out in 2017.
Palace of Spies
by Sarah Zettel

Historical Mystery. Unwilling to go through with a terrible arranged marriage, 16-year-old orphan Peggy Fitzroy finds herself in dire need of a job. That's why she agrees to pose as Lady Francesca, a (recently deceased) lady-in-waiting at the court of King George I. At court, Peggy carries tales of palace intrigue to her mysterious employers while also investigating the death of the real lady Francesca. Detail-rich descriptions will draw you in to the world of 1716 London, and clever, fiery Peggy is a heroine you'll want to root for. Bubbling over with excitement, humor, and romance, this series opener will please all kinds of readers, especially those who love historical mysteries.