April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Exciting New Titles by Melissa De La Cruz, Pete Hautman, and Marissa Meyer | Grades 9 & Up Fiction Reviews

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redstarBassoff, Leah & Laura DeLuca. Lost Girl Found. 216p. chron. further reading. glossary. maps. Groundwood. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554984169; ebk. $14.95. ISBN 9781554984183.

Gr 8 Up–This poignant and gripping story follows Poni, a young girl growing up in a Sudanese village. The emotional tale depicts the challenges of Poni’s everyday life before the war. Against all odds, she must find a way to stay in school, deflect any young boy’s attention, and fight for her life to survive malaria. But then the war comes, and everything changes. After her entire village is wiped out following an airstrike and her family is presumed dead, she must flee Sudan with a group of refugees to the safety of a refugee camp far away. Many die along the way, but Poni survives the long journey. Once she gets there, she discovers the horrors going on at the refugee camp and must escape. After she’s free, a nun in Nairobi offers her shelter, the continuing education the teen has been longing for, and, ultimately, help getting to America, the land of opportunity. This book does an excellent job of evoking strong emotions from readers through its graphic depictions of life in war-torn Africa. Many are familiar with the Lost Boys of Sudan, but these authors set out to tell the stories of the Lost Girls of Sudan, and have succeeded with flying colors. This short, quickly paced narrative will stay with readers for the rest of their lives.–Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT

redstarHan, Jenny. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. 368p. S. & S. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442426702; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442426726. LC 2013022311.

Gr 7-10–In this lovely, lighthearted romance, high school junior Lara Jean writes never-to-be-mailed letters to every boy she’s ever liked. The teen falls for Josh, the boy next door. The catch: he’s her older sister’s very recent ex-boyfriend. But when her letters are accidentally sent out, the protagonist is desperate to convince Josh that she’s over her crush. Peter, a popular boy at school, also received one of Lara Jean’s love letters, and—hoping to make his ex-girlfriend jealous—agrees to be her “pretend” beau. Once older sister Margot leaves for college in Scotland, Lara Jean’s interactions with Josh are more complicated. Lara Jean also must take care of her younger sister, Kitty, since their mother died six years ago. Unlike typical teen romances, this is as much the story of a family as it is about falling in love. Family traditions are skillfully woven into the first-person narrative, including some from the mother’s Korean heritage. Though the three sisters are very close, they also have conflicts to resolve, and Lara Jean’s perspective as a middle child suddenly left in charge is compelling. Readers will be intrigued by the narrator and Peter’s complicated relationship. Does she really love Josh, or is Peter the one for her? Most teens will guess the outcome but enjoy the many twists and turns along the way in this lyrical novel. Readers will remember the Song sisters and the boys in their lives long after the final page turn.–Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR

redstar Lockhart, E. We Were Liars. 240p. Delacorte. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385741262; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375989940; ebk. ISBN 9780375984402.

Gr 9 Up–Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an old-money family, headed by a patriarch who owns a private island off of Cape Cod. Each summer, the extended family gathers at the various houses on the island, and Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and friend Gat (the four “Liars”), have been inseparable since age eight. During their fifteenth summer however, Cadence suffers a mysterious accident. She spends the next two years—and the course of the book—in a haze of amnesia, debilitating migraines, and painkillers, trying to piece together just what happened. Lockhart writes in a somewhat sparse style filled with metaphor and jumps from past to present and back again—rather fitting for a main character struggling with a sudden and unexplainable life change. The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family drama, a heart-wrenching romance between Cadence and Gat, and, ultimately, the suspense of what happened during that fateful summer. The ending is a stunner that will haunt readers for a long time to come.–Jenny Berggren, formerly at New York Public Library

redstarLUCIER, Makiia. A Death-Struck Year. 288p. Houghton Harcourt. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544164505; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780544306707.

Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry frets over an uncertain future devoid of plans, dreams, and ambitions. However, when the Spanish influenza strikes her hometown of Portland, Oregon, she does not hesitate to volunteer for the American Red Cross. Lucier’s vividly accurate description of the 1918 pandemic will make readers tremble over the teen’s fate, wondering whether she will be next on the list of victims. Cleo faces the ultimate dilemma: Given a choice between herself and others, who will she choose in the face of calamity? The pace of the writing is swift, and the author spares little in her account of those afflicted and others who sacrificed their own lives to help save them: loved ones and strangers burying individuals on their own without burial societies, members of the Red Cross going door-to-door in search of the sick, and young people dying as easily as their elders from the disease. This first-person narrative is as much Cleo’s coming-of-age story as it is a full historical account of the pandemic. The novel’s strong voice intimately places readers directly into the dramatic plot right up to climactic ending. Nothing is sugarcoated, making this a difficult pick for the squeamish, who may not easily tolerate the abundant flow of blood and raging fever throughout. The mood of almost hopeless desperation that mounts toward the second half of the book cannot be readily shaken off. In the same vein of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793 (S. & S., 2000), Lucier’s debut novel deserves a place in all high school collections.–Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY

redstar MacColl, Michaela. Always Emily. 282p. Chronicle. Apr. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452111742.

Gr 7 Up–Based on the Brontë family of writers, MacColl’s story is filled with life and death, mystery, and witty humor. The main premise involves Emily and Charlotte uncovering Branwell’s nefarious activities and exposing a local mill owner, Master Heaton. The strong-willed sisters join forces to uncover Branwell and Heaton’s secrets and to reunite a family. Charlotte and Emily are the most richly drawn characters, and their often-contentious relationship is engaging. Their personalities are balanced by the supporting characters, including their father, the house manager, and a young man Emily finds on the moor. The two-dimensional Heaton has no redeeming qualities, save charm, and Branwell, who falls under his spell, is also thinly drawn. However, the effects of alcohol, mental, and physical abuse are realistically conveyed. MacColl succeeds in creating a vivid sense of place with her intricate details about Masonic rituals and the lush descriptions of the moors, Emily’s place of sanctuary. Readers will be satisfied with the ending, and their curiosities will be piqued to read more about the Brontë family. A lengthy author’s note tells more about the Brontës.–Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

redstar Miller, Lauren. Free to Fall. 480p. Harper Collins/HarperTeen. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062199805; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062199829.

Gr 9 Up–When Rory Vaughn, 16, gets accepted to a prestigious boarding school, she’s elated. Even Lux, her decision-making app, tells her that Theden Academy is the best way to assure her perfect future. Yet, within her first few days there, Rory finds so much more than what she’d expected on the surface, and inconsistencies about her own birth lead the teen to question her own past, present, and vision for the future. With friends and teachers who encourage her to follow the illustrious path of Theden alums, she wonders why she finds herself so drawn to the rebellious hacker North and his outsider, anti-Lux lifestyle? As more secrets of the past are uncovered, Rory begins to wonder if the same covert group that may have caused her mother’s death could now be after her. Miller’s science fiction–based romantic thriller takes on social commentary about teens consulting technology for every aspect of their lives. Engaging and thought-provoking, Free to Fall should appeal to a variety of readers with its blend of action, secrecy, and romance, and it provides excellent discussion opportunities.–Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Armentrout, Jennifer L. Don’t Look Back. 384p. Disney/Hyperion. Apr. 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9781423175124; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9781423187738.

Arnett, Mindee. The Nightmare Dilemma. 384p. Tor Teen. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765333346; ebk. ISBN 9781466800687.

Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia. Bloodwitch. 288p. (The Maeve’ra Series: Vol. 1). Delacorte. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385743037; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375990915; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780307980748.

Baskin, Nora Raleigh. Subway Love. 224p. Candlewick. May 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763668457. LC 2013946617.

Benincasa, Sara. Great. 272p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062222695; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062222718. LC 2013008047.

Benoit, Charles. Cold Calls. 288p. Clarion. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544239500; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780544239111.

Bertrand, Cara. Lost in Thought. 290p. (Sententia Series: Bk. 1). Luminis. Apr. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781935462934; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781935462941; ebk. $6.99. ISBN 9781935462958.

Billingsley, Reshonda Tate. Real As It Gets. 256p. (Rumor Central Series: Bk. 3). Kensington/KTeen. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9780758289551; ebk. $8.99. ISBN 9780758289568.

Blankman, Anne. Prisoner of Night and Fog. 416p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062278814; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062278838.

Bradley, John Ed. Call Me By My Name. 288p. S. & S./Atheneum. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442497931; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442497955.

Brezenoff, Steve. Guy in Real Life. 385p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Jun. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062266835. LC 2013021584.

Chodosh, Janie. Death Spiral: A Faith Flores Mystery. 310p. Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2014. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781929345007; ebk. $5.99. ISBN 9781929345014.

Clark, Catherine. How to Meet Boys. 320p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. May 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780062264510; ebk. ISBN 9780062264527.

Clark, Georgia. Parched. 320p. ebook available. Holiday House. May 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780823429493. LC 2013022884.

Clipston, Amy. Destination Unknown. 272p. ebook available. Zondervan. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780310736691.

Colasanti, Susane. Now & Forever. 272p. Viking. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670014248. LC 2013027005.

Connors, Lucy. The Lonesome Young. 384p. ebook available. Penguin/Razorbill. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781595147097.

Cooper, T & Allison Glock-Cooper. Drew. 288p. (Changers Series: Bk. 1). Akashic/Black Sheep. 2014. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781617751950. LC 2013938807.

Culbertson, Kim. Catch a Falling Star. 304p. Scholastic/Point. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545627047; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545627054. LC 2013029467.

De la Cruz, Melissa. The Ring & the Crown. 384p. Disney/Hyperion. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423157427.

Derting, Kimberly. The Taking. 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062293602; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062293626.

dos Santos, Steven. The Sowing. 432p. (The Torch Keeper Series: Bk. 2). Flux. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780738735405.

Duncan, Lois. Written in the Stars: The Early Stories. 228p. Lizzie Skurnick. Apr. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781939601209; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781939601148.

Echols, Jennifer. Biggest Flirts. 336p. (The Superlatives Series). S. & S./Simon Pulse. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442474468; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781 442474451; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781 442474475.
Elston, Ashley. The Rules for Breaking. 320p. Disney/Hyperion. May 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423168980; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9781423190356.

Fama, Elizabeth. Plus One. 384p. Farrar. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374360078.

Fantaskey, Beth. Buzz Kill. 368p. Houghton Harcourt. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780547393100. LC 2013011423.

Gray, Laurie. Just Myrto. 208p. Luminis. May 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781935462965; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781935462972; ebk. $6.99. ISBN 9781935462989.

Green, Sally. Half Bad. 416p. Viking. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670016785.

Green, S. E. Killer Instinct. 272p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481402859; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481402873.

Hahn, Rebecca. A Creature of Moonlight. 320p. Houghton Harcourt. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544109353; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780544110090. LC 2013020188.

Hasiuk, Brenda. Your Constant Star. 248p. ebook available. Orca. Apr. 2014. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459803688. LC 2013954147.

Hautman, Pete. The Klaatu Terminus. 368p. (The Klaatu Diskos Series: Bk. 3). ebook available. Candlewick. Apr. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763654054. LC 2013944132.

Haydu, Corey Ann. Life by Committee. 304p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062294050; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062294074.

Healey, Karen. While We Run. 336p. ebook available. Little, Brown. May 2014. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316233828.

Henderson, Lauren. Kissing in Italian. 272p. Delacorte. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385741378; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375990007; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780 375984532.

Higgins, Wendy. Sweet Reckoning. 400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Apr. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780062265975; ebk. ISBN 9780062265968.

Howland, Leila. Nantucket Red. 336p. (Nantucket Series: Bk. 2). Disney/Hyperion. May 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423160953; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9781484706398.

Jacobs, John Hornor. The Shibboleth. 408p. (The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy: Bk. 2). Carolrhoda Lab. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780761390084; ebk. $12.95. ISBN 9781467724050. LC 2013009535.
Jordan, Sophie. Uninvited. 384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062233653; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062233660. LC 2013015448.

Klise, James. The Art of Secrets. 272p. Algonquin. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781616201951.

Kwaymullina, Ambelin. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. 384p. ebook available. Candlewick. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763669881.

LaZebnik, Claire. The Last Best Kiss. 384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. May 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780062252289; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062252296.

London, Alex. Guardian. 352p. Philomel. May 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399165764. LC 2013025938.

McCahan, Erin. Love and Other Foreign Words. 336p. ebook available. Dial. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803740518.

MacHale, D. J. Storm. 496p. (The SYLO Chronicles: Bk. 2). Razorbill. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781595146670.

Maciel, Amanda. Tease. 336p. HarperCollins/ Balzer & Bray. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062305305; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062305329.

Mariconda, Barbara. Bird with the Heart of a Mountain.

313p. ebook available. glossary. Skyscape. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781477817339.

Matson, Morgan. Since You’ve Been Gone. 464p. S. & S. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442435001; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442435025. LC 2013041617.

Meadows, Jodi. Infinite. 432p. (Incarnate Series: Bk. 3). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062060815; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062060839.

Meyer, Marissa. Cress. 560p. (The Lunar Chronicles: Bk. 3). Feiwel & Friends. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780312642976; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781250053183.

Mlynowski, Sarah. Don’t Even Think About It. 320p. Delacorte. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385737388; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385906623; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780449814154.

Mullin, Mike. Sunrise. 546p. (Ashfall Trilogy: Bk. 3). Tanglewood. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781939100016.

Paige, Danielle. Dorothy Must Die. 464p. HarperCollins. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062280671; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062280695.

Pass, Emma. Acid. 400p. Delacorte. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385743877; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375991349; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385372411. LC 2013002923.

Patrick, Denise Lewis. A Matter of Souls. 192p. Carolrhoda Lab. Apr. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780761392804; ebk. $12.95. ISBN 9781467724029. LC 2013017597.

Pauley, Kimberly. Ask Me. 304p. SohoTeen. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781616953836; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9781616953843.

Perry, Jolene. The Summer I Found You. 256p. Albert Whitman. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807583692.

Plum, Amy. After the End. 336p. HarperTeen. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062225603; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062225627.

Preble, Joy. The A-Word: A Sweet Dead Life Novel. 272p. SohoTeen. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781616952907; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9781616952914.

Prendergast, Gabrielle. Capricious. 344p. Orca. Apr. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459802674. LC 2013954149.

Serle, Rebecca. The Edge of Falling. 304p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442433168; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442433199.

Shahan, Sherry. Skin and Bones. 240p. ebook available. Albert Whitman. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807573976. LC 2013028442.

Sharpe, Tess. Far from You. 352p. Disney/Hyperion. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423184621; ebk. ISBN 9781423187844.

Shepherd, Megan. Her Dark Curiosity. 432p. (Madman’s Daughter Series: Bk. 2). ebook available. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062128058.

Sitomer, Alan Lawrence. Caged Warrior. 224p. Disney/Hyperion. May 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781423171249; ebk. $15.99. ISBN 9781423186595.

Somper, Justin. Allies & Assassins. 496p. ebook available. Little, Brown. May 2014. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316253932. LC 2013017968.

Stewart, Elizabeth. Blue Gold. 300p. further reading. websites. Annick. 2014. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781554516353; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554516346.

Struyk-Bonn, Chris. Whisper. 352p. ebook available. Orca. Apr. 2014. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459804753. LC 2013954148.

Stuber, Barbara. Girl in Reverse. 336p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442497344; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442497368.

Ventresca, Yvonne. Pandemic. 352p. Sky Pony. May 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781628736090.

Verdi, Jessica. The Summer I Wasn’t Me. 352p. Sourcebooks Fire. Apr. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781402277887.

Webb, Philip. Where the Rock Splits the Sky. 272p. Scholastic/Chicken House. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545557016; ebk. ISBN 9780545557023. LC 2013026045.

Weitz, Chris. The Young World. 384p. Little, Brown. July. 2014. Tr $19. ISBN 9780316226295; ebk. ISBN 9780316226271. LC 2013022285.

Williams, Julie. Drama Queens in the House. 432p. Roaring Brook. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781596437357.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.