Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hot summer fiction for teens

Summer's hot days are perfect weather for elaborate stories about thrills, mystery, and fantasy (and a witch or two). Recently published, these books perfectly fit the lazy, hot days of June. Look for them on the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes here on BookBag and get ready for exciting adventures that will keep you turning the pages!

Split, by Swati Avasthi (Alfred A. Knopf) Realistic Fiction. Jace Witherspoon is 16 when he shows up on his older brother Christian's doorstep badly beaten and with nowhere else to go. Five years earlier, Christian escaped their abusive father, leaving Jace and their mother to manage the best they could. Christian has a new life, but can Jace--who fears for his mother's life and still loves his father despite everything--put the past behind him and move on? With complex characters and painfully honest dialogue, this raw, emotionally intense novel shows how abuse affects each member of a family.

Green Witch, by Alice Hoffman (Scholastic Press) Fiction. A year ago, the city near Green's village was destroyed--while her parents and sister were there selling produce from the family's garden. The previous novel Green Angel tells how Green picked up the pieces and moved on with her life, thanks in part to fellow survivor Diamond, whom she came to love. But now, in Green Witch, she is alone again; Diamond has gone missing, and Green must venture out from her lush garden to ask for help from four solitary women who are rumored to be witches. This poetically written story of loss and longing is heartrending and memorable.

Ostrich Boys, by Keith Gray (Random House) Fiction. British teens Kenny, Sim, and Blake are sure that their best friend, Ross--who was hit by a car while riding his bike--would have loathed every second of his "farce of a funeral." So, to honor Ross's memory, they've decided to steal his ashes and take them to Ross, Scotland for a proper send-off. But their journey is plagued by trouble from the start, from lost bus tickets to high-speed police chases and more, and the secrets that they spill along the way bring up questions about Ross's death. Both moving and funny, Ostrich Boys combines a wild road-trip adventure with a searching story of guilt, grief, and friendship.

A Spy in the House, by Rushang Li (Candlewick Press) Historical Mystery. Mary Quinn is 17 years old, and she's come a long way from the gallows where she was sentenced to hang for thievery when she was 12. Rescued and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary was given a second chance at life...and now she's been offered a place in the secret, all-female detective agency for which the school is a front. Mary's first assignment requires her to pose as the companion of a wealthy merchant's daughter, and before long, she realizes that she isn't the only one sniffing around for clues to the merchant's suspected criminal activities. Richly woven with historical details that bring Victorian London to life, this first volume in a planned trilogy is a satisfying and thrilling mystery.

The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson (Dial Books) Fiction. Lennie, 17, was perfectly content living in her vibrant older sister Bailey's shadow, but now Bailey is dead. Devastated by her loss, Lennie struggles to carry on and feels guilty for the smallest moments of happiness--particularly the ones that she shares with Toby, Bailey's boyfriend. When a new boy in town, gifted musician Joe Fontaine, shows an interest in Lennie, she thinks that he might be "the one"...but can she let herself have him? Brimming with emotion and complex relationships, this honest and romantic story is one that fans of tearjerkers won't want to miss.

I Am Not a Serial Killer, by Dan Wells (Tor) Thriller. Fifteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver does everything he can not to live up to his potential; he's a sociopath who's trying his best to keep his nature in check. John assists his mother, a mortician, with the preparation of corpses--and lives by a strict set of self-imposed rules that keep him from adding to their number. But then a series of bizarre murders leads John to believe that a serial killer is preying on the people of his small town, and he aims to track the culprit down. While John Wayne Cleaver may sound a lot like a certain blood-spatter analyst (from either Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books or the Showtime TV series), this tense, gruesome novel more than holds its own.

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