Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer sci-fi and new mysteries for teens

School's nearly over and this means lots of time to read just for fun. Here are some books that will be great summertime reads on the beach, by the pool, or just sitting down in the air conditioning. Look for these titles using the Amazon and WorldCatalog search boxes here on BookBag, and get ready for a summer of fun!

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, by Josh Berk (Alfred A. Knopf) Fiction. Will Halpin isn't just the new kid at Coaler High School, he's the chunky, deaf new kid in a mainstream school for the first time--so adjusting won't be easy. There are neither interpreters nor closed-captioning at Coaler, but luckily, Will is a skilled lip reader who's very observant of his surroundings. It's a talent that comes in handy when geeky Devon Smiley recruits him to help investigate the suspicious death of the school's quarterback during a field trip. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin is a crass, goofy novel with a bit of mystery, a touch of romance, and a fantastically memorable main character.

The Adventures of Jack Lime, by James Leck (KCP Fiction) Mystery. Meet Jack Lime: high school student, private eye, narcoleptic. (No, that doesn't mean he's a tattle-tale--it means he's got a condition that causes him to fall asleep at some very inconvenient moments.) He's the guy you talk to if you've got a problem, and in this book he investigates three of them: a missing bike, a kidnapped hamster, and the disappearance of the star of the quiz bowl team on the night before a tournament. This spoof of hard-boiled detective novels and noir films is a quick, fun read that fans of Jack Ferraiolo's The Big Splash are sure to enjoy.

Stuck on Earth, by David Klass (Frances Foster Books) Science Fiction. Ketchvar III of the planet Sandoval has come to Earth to determine whether the human race is worth saving, or whether his fellow aliens should wipe them all out. Taking up residence in the brain of 14-year-old Tom Filber (Ketchvar is small and rather snail-like and simply crawls up Tom's nose), he reports back to his spaceship everything that he observes...and bullied, unpopular Tom's life is far from peachy. Will humanity be euthanized, or will Ketchvar find something worth saving? Stuck on Earth is hilarious, surprisingly thoughtful, and has some twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages.

Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve (Scholastic Press) Science Fiction. Fans of the author's Hungry City Chronicles will be thrilled with this prequel set in a bleak, futuristic London still centuries away from the world depicted in that series. Young orphan Fever was adopted by Dr. Crumb of the Order of Engineers and has been raised to be supremely logical. When Fever leaves the order for the first time to assist an archaeologist who may have found remnants of Scriven technology (the Scriven, London's mutant overlords, were overthrown and exterminated many years before), her mind is flooded with memories that aren't her own. Could the murmurings of the city-dwellers be true? Could Fever be part Scriven? Readers who enjoy steampunk fantasy, superb world-building, and fast-paced adventure will love every minute of intrigue in Fever Crumb.

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path: 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga (Amulet Books) Graphic Novel. You never know where a seemingly small decision--say, a choice between vanilla and chocolate ice cream--might lead. In this book's crazy-complicated world, you decide which flavor young Jimmy should choose, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. By following the series of tubes that connect different sets of comic-book panels, you can create thousands of different stories based on which way you go -- it's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, only bigger, better, and definitely weirder. With mad scientists, adventure, puzzles, amazing machines, and plenty of surprises, Meanwhile is a funny, absorbing, and mind-bending read -- backward, forward, upside-down, or right side up.

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