Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Teen Scene: November 2015

Teen Scene
November 2015
"Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life."
~ from Patrick Ness' The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Recent Releases
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
by M.T. Anderson

Nonfiction. In 1941, as Nazi troops surrounded the starving city of Leningrad, Russia, composer Dmitri Shostakovich was writing his soul-stirring seventh symphony. Already suffering under Stalin's relentless brutality, the people of Leningrad now faced a three-year siege that would kill millions, and cause others to resort to cannibalism. Even in the midst of this horror, Shostakovich's symphony struck a powerful note of defiance. Through the lens of Shostakovich's life, author M.T. Anderson reveals a tale that is sure to grab readers who are into true stories about music, war, and the power of art to inspire survival. For another page-turning take on Russian history, pick up Candace Fleming's The Family Romanov.
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 love dystopian fiction but are tired of the same old, same old, don't miss The Scorpion Rules
Untwine
by Edwidge Danticat

Fiction. At first, they think that Giselle is her twin, Isabelle. In the chaos after the car crash that injured their parents and put Giselle in a coma, the doctors confuse the identical 16-year-old sisters -- only later do they realize that it is Isabelle who has died, not Giselle. Drifting in semi-consciousness, Giselle grapples with this unthinkable loss -- remembering her sister's musical talent, the joyful warmth of their visits with family in Haiti, and the dread of their parents' separation -- while trying to figure out who she is without her twin. Similar to Gayle Forman's If I Stay, you should pick up Untwine if you love stories that are both lyrical and heart-wrenching. 
The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

Fantasy. If you've ever imagined what it's like to be a bystander at Forks High School or Hogwarts, you know what Mikey's life is like. His small town has been plagued by vampires, ghosts, and zombie deer, but the paranormal drama seems to target only the "indie kids," those special snowflakes with "unusual names and capital-D Destinies." But Mikey and his friends? They just want to survive their messed-up families and graduate high school without becoming collateral damage in yet another looming apocalypse. Combining emotional depth with wry in-jokes, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a great pick for seen-it-all fantasy fans who want something fresh, witty, and moving. 
Carry On
by Rainbow Rowell

Fantasy. It's his final year at the Watford School of Magicks, but reluctant "Chosen One" Simon Snow just can't get it together. He should be worrying about his destiny to defeat the magic-devouring Humdrum, stressing about monster attacks, or pining for his suddenly-ex-girlfriend. Yet all he can do is obsess about why Baz -- his posh, sneering roommate/nemesis -- hasn't shown up for school. Inspired by the story-within-a-story from Fangirl (which was in turn inspired by a certain other series about a young wizard), Carry On goes beyond meta, fulfilling the wishes of fanfic readers with a deliciously thorny romance while building an intriguing fantasy world.
Legendary Reads
 Some stories never get old – check out these novels inspired by ancient myths and legends. 
The Lost Sun
by Tessa Gratton

Fantasy. In an alternate United States, the gods of Norse legend still wield enormous power -- some of them even appear on reality TV. So when the sun god Baldur the Beautiful disappears, everyone notices, and his father Odin offers a reward to whoever finds him. Desperate to earn the reward, Soren (who's afraid of his berserker heritage) and Astrid (a seer who just lost her mother) team up for a cross-country search that yields unexpected results. Readers who grew up with Percy Jackson will appreciate The Lost Sun's imaginative blend of modern American culture and manipulative ancient gods. 
Guardian of the Dead
by Karen Healey

Fantasy. A production of A Midsummer Night's Dream turns into a nightmare for 17-year-old Ellie when she discovers that some of the actors playing fairies in the play actually are fairies -- specifically, menacing creatures known as patupaiarehe -- and that they're determined to become immortal, at the cost of countless human lives. Set in New Zealand against a backdrop of Maori mythology, this intriguing debut features thrilling twists, star-crossed romance, and a smart, tenacious heroine. If you're looking for a fresh take on supernatural adventure, Guardian of the Dead is for you.
Dirty Wings
by Sarah McCarry

Urban Fantasy. The Greek myth of Persephone, queen of the underworld, is the inspiration for this darkly beautiful tale of friendship. When sheltered piano prodigy Maia meets wild, witchy street girl Cass, their connection is both unexpected and electric. But even as they throw themselves headlong into a road trip filled with punk shows, guys, and other intoxicants, Cass can't shake the threatening figure who haunts her dreams. If you want further sophisticated mythological fiction from Sarah McCarry, check out All Our Pretty Songs and About a Girl; if you can't get enough of Persephone, try Bree Despain's The Shadow Prince or Laura Ruby's Bone Gap.
Prophecy
by Ellen Oh

Fantasy. Due to her yellow eyes, demon-slaying powers, and unconventional job (she's the only female warrior in Hansong) Kira is shunned by most people in her medieval-esque society. Yet when a betrayal allows demonic Yamato soldiers to invade, Kira may be the only one who can get the young prince to safety and lead the quest to take back their kingdom. Grounded in Korean folklore and overflowing with fierce, fast-paced fight scenes, Prophecy is a breathless ride, so be careful: once you read it, you'll want to have Warrior (the 2nd book in the Dragon King Chronicles) ready to go. 
The Chaos of Stars
by Kiersten White

Fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Isadora's relationship with her parents is more strained than most, which is understandable, given that she's the human child of Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Still, at least they let their daughter leave their desert stronghold for modern day California, where Isadora works on a museum exhibit, hones her interior design skills, resists the charms of Greek poet Ry, and is targeted by dangerous mystical forces. Romantic and angsty but not too heavy, The Chaos of Stars "brings an irreverent sense of humor to Egyptian myth" (Publishers Weekly). 

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