BERRY, Julie. All the Truth That’s in Me. 288p. Viking. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-78615-2. LC 2012043218.
Gr 8 Up–The village setting of this novel evokes the rigid religious communities of Colonial times, but Berry cleverly sets her story in an unnamed time and place so the protagonist’s anguish and the town’s mystery are the focus. Sixteen-year-old Judith is still in love with Lucas, even after his father held her prisoner for two years and violently silenced her by cutting out part of her tongue. Another girl went missing at the same time and her body was found washed down a stream. Only Judith knows the truth of what happened to Lottie, but her muteness leaves her an outcast in the village, even from her own mother, and the truth stays bottled up inside her. Told from Judith’s narrow, troubled perspective, the story unwinds in taut chapters that peel back what happened two years before and gradually allows Judith to find her voice again. The austerity of the village and its harshly judgmental inhabitants help sustain a mood of dread. Judith does find tenderness in surprising places, and these secondary characters relieve not just her isolation but also offer readers moments of fun and promise as well. Lyrical language, a good mystery, and a compelling heroine–this is a page-turner with substance.–
BLACK, Holly. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. 419p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-316-21310-3. ebook available. LC 2012043790.
Gr 9 Up–A dystopian thriller with a chilling twist. Tana, 17, passes out at a party and wakes up in a house filled with corpses. Her friends lie in crusted pools of blood as she searches through piles of belongings for her keys and boots. Her first thought is that someone must have left a window open. In Tana’s world, vampire attacks happen. At the tender age of six, she witnessed her mother’s transformation from a loving parent to a creature so desperate for blood it would lure and attack its own daughter. It is because of things like this that Coldtowns, quarantined cities where the infected go to live and die, exist. Along with Tana, the only other survivors of the party are Gavriel, a handsome and mysterious vampire, and Aidan, her newly infected ex. She decides to take them directly to Coldtown, but if crossing the barricades means staying there indefinitely, Tana’s not sure she’s ready to leave life as she knows it behind. Twilight fans will enjoy the drama, but its fan base need not be limited to those who read paranormal romance. Teens with a yen for dark, futuristic novels, and maybe even a few Anne Rice readers, will find this a refreshing take on vampire lit. As always, Black’s writing is quick paced and thought-provoking. A must-have for any teen collection.–
NESS, Patrick. More Than This. 480p. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6258-5. ebook available.
Gr 9 Up–This haunting and consistently surprising novel raises deep questions about what it means to be alive, but it doesn’t try to console readers with easy or pat answers. As the story opens, teenage Seth is experiencing his own death in painful detail. In the next chapter, he wakes up physically weak, covered in bandages and strange wounds, and wonders if he is in Hell or the future or somewhere else entirely. As he tries to survive in and make sense of his strange yet familiar surroundings, he is plagued by intense flashbacks of his life before he died: his guilt over the tragedy that befell his little brother, his burgeoning romance with another boy in his small town, and the events that led to his (dubious) death. Upon discovering two other young people in the blighted place he’s landed, Seth begins to learn the Matrix-like truth about what has happened to the rest of humanity, how he can escape, and whether he even wants to. The intense themes in this novel make it more appropriate for older teens, but the language and sexual scenarios are clear, relevant, and neither graphic or gratuitous. A delicate balance between dystopian survival and philosophical grappling means that many different kinds of readers should appreciate the story.–
QUICK, Matthew. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. 280p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-316-22133-7.
Gr 10 Up–Leonard Peacock has big plans for his 18th birthday. He plans to kill Asher Beal and then commit suicide. Leonard is a loner, an outcast, a misfit. Asher is a superpopular jock/bully. But they used to be friends, best friends. Something happened when they were 12, something bad. Leonard has had no one to confide in–his washed-up rock-musician dad is on the lam and his self-absorbed, oblivious mother forgets that she has a son. His anger, emotional pain, and brokenness build until he feels there is nothing left to do but end his life and the cause of his misery. As he gives gifts to the four people who mean something to him, he reveals some of his anguish. One recipient, his teacher Herr Silverman, picks up on his suicidal signals and offers the listening ear Leonard so desperately needs. As the heartbreaking climax unfolds, readers learn about the sexual and emotional trauma the teen has endured. Fortunately, there is no bloodshed, just the shedding of many overdue tears. Leonard knows he needs help and readers will hope he gets it. This is a difficult, yet powerful, book. Quick’s use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard’s tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma. May there be more Herr Silvermans willing to take personal risks to save the Leonard Peacocks.–
ROWELL, Rainbow. Fangirl. 416p. St. Martin’s Griffin. Sept. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-1-250-03095-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-250-03096-2.
Gr 9 Up–This charming coming-of-age novel tells the story of a painfully shy teen who prefers the fantasy world of fanfiction to reality. Cath expected to survive her first year of college with the help of her twin sister. Wren, however, is taking full advantage of her newfound freedom from parental supervision, spending a great deal of time partying and very little time with her needy, nerdy, slightly pathetic sister. Feeling lost and alone, Cath scurries from class to class, hiding in her room and working on her Simon Snow fanfiction omnibus. When she writes, she can escape herself and be somewhere else. Otherwise she’s just another social misfit stuck with a surly roommate, her roommate’s overly friendly, kinda cute boyfriend (who might also be flirting with Cath), and a family that’s falling apart. Sometimes, however, real life can become better than fantasy. Even if getting there feels like an epic battle. Cath is an exceptionally well-developed, self-aware, and endearing character, partly because she is so quirky and flawed. There are also great secondary characters, but because Cath doesn’t want to get involved in the messiness of their lives, readers are also kept from knowing them more fully. The plot is multilayered and filled with complex subjects (such as divorce, abandonment, and mental illness) handled in a realistic manner, and the writing effortlessly and seamlessly weaves these threads together. This book will find a wide audience, especially among older fans of Harry Potter.–
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The following titles are reviewed in the August 1, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Grades 9 & Up
ATWATER-RHODES, Amelia. Promises to Keep. 236p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74192-7; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99032-8; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98872-1.
BARDUGO, Leigh. Siege and Storm. Bk. 2. 448p. (The Grisha Trilogy). illus. Holt. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-9460-2. ebook available.
BARNHOLDT, Lauren. Right of Way. 308p. S & S/Simon Pulse. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5127-8; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5129-2. LC 2012021578.
BENWAY, Robin. Also Known As. 310p. Walker. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-3390-0. LC 2012026254.
BLOCK, Francesca Lia. Love in the Time of Global Warming. 240p. Holt/Christy Ottaviano. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-9627-9.
CARMICHAEL, Clay. Brother, Brother. 320p. Roaring Brook. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-743-2.
COOK, Trish & Brendan Halpin. A Really Awesome Mess. 288p. Egmont USA. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-363-5; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-364-2. LC 2012045978.
ELDRIDGE, Courtney. Ghost Time. 416p. Amazon. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-1657-8; ebook $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-6657-3.
GOLD, Maya. Spellbinding. 263p. Scholastic/Point. 2013. pap. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-545-43380-8. LC 2012016692.
GOEGLEIN, T. M. Flicker & Burn. Bk. 2. 352p. (Cold Fury Series). Putnam. Aug. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25721-6. LC 2012043305.
GRATTON, Tessa. The Lost Sun. Bk. 1. 352p. (The United States of Asgard Series). Random. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97746-5; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97747-2; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97748-9. LC 2012027695.
HAYDU, Corey Ann. OCD Love Story. 352p. S & S/Simon Pulse. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5732-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5734-8.
HENRY, April. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die. 224p. Holt/Christy Ottaviano. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-9541-8.
ISERSON, David. Firecracker. 336p. Penguin/Razorbill. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-370-9.
JAY, Stacey. Of Beast and Beauty. 400p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74320-4; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99100-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-307-98142-4.
JAYNE, Hannah. Truly, Madly, Deadly. 304p. Sourcebooks/Fire. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4022-8121-1.
KEPLINGER, Kody. Secrets & Lies. 87p. Little, Brown/Poppy. 2013. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-24909-6.
KIEM, Elizabeth. Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy. 288p. SohoTeen. Aug. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-61695-263-1; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-1-61695-264-8.
KLAUSNER, Julie. Art Girls Are Easy. 232p. Little, Brown/Poppy. 2013. $9.99. ISBN 9780316233972.
KNOX, Elizabeth. Mortal Fire. 448p. Farrar/Frances Foster. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-374-38829-4.
LONDON, Alex. Proxy. 384p. Philomel. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25776-6. ebook available.
LUNETTA, Demitria. In the After. 480p. Harper Collins/HarperTeen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210545-5; ebook available.
MASSEY, David. Torn. 288p. Scholastic/Chicken House. Aug. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-49645-2; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-52378-3. LC 2012024405.
MATTHEIS, Philipp. How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story. tr. from German by Kathryn Malczyk. 207p. Zest. 2013. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-936976-40-9.
MCGINNIS, Mindy. Not a Drop to Drink. 320p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219850-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219852-5.
METZGER, Lois. A Trick of the Light. 196p. bibliog. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-213308-3. LC 2012019039.
MILLER, Kimberly Ann. Triangles. 216p. Spencer Hill. 2013. pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-937053-36-9; ebook $6.99. ISBN 978-1-937053-37-6.
MILLER, Lauren. Parallel. 432p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219977-5. LC 2012038128.
NAPOLI, Donna Jo. Skin. 352p. Amazon. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-1721-6; ebook $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-6721-1.
NAYLOR, Phyllis Reynolds. Now I’ll Tell You Everything. 544p. S & S/Atheneum. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4590-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6161-1.
PATRICK, Cat & Suzanne Young. Just Like Fate. 304p. S & S/Simon Pulse. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-7271-6; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-7273-0.
ROCK, J. K. Camp Boyfriend. 324p. Spencer Hill. 2013. pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-939392-50-3. ebook available.
SMITH, Hilary T. Wild Awake. 375p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-218468-9. LC 2012045524.
SONES, Sonya. To Be Perfectly Honest. 496p. S & S. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-689-87604-2; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-442-49477-0.
STOHL, Margaret. Icons. 428p. Little, Brown. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-316-20518-4. LC 2012040163.
STROHM, Stephanie Kate. Confederates Don’t Wear Couture. 208p. further reading. websites. Houghton/Graphia. 2013. pap. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-97258-9.
TAUB, Melinda. Still Star-Crossed. 352p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74350-1; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99118-9; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-449-81665-3. LC 2012032626.
WEST, Kasie. The Distance Between Us. 320p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223565-7. LC 2013003173.
WHITNEY, Daisy. When You Were Here. 262p. Little, Brown. 2013. Tr $18. ISBN 978-0-316-20974-8. ebook available. LC 2012031409.
WILLIAMS, Avery. The Impossibility of Tomorrow. Bk. 2. 375p. (Incarnation Series). S & S. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4319-8; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4321-1.