"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
In 1941, as Nazi troops surrounded the starving city of Leningrad,
Russia, composer Dmitri Shostakovich was writing his soul-stirring
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.
Fiction. In the far future, an artificial intelligence called Talis has
achieved world peace...by holding hostage the children of world
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
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.
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.
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.
Some stories never get old – check out these novels inspired by ancient myths and legends.
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.
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
-- 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.
Fantasy. The Greek myth of Persephone, queen of the underworld, is the
inspiration for this darkly beautiful tale of friendship. When sheltered
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.
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.
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).