Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New summer fiction for teens

Summer: time for a lazy time by the pool, or keeping cool inside. Here are some new books for teens recently published and great for chilling out during the heat of July. Look for these on BookBag using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes ... and stay cool!

The Cardturner
, by Louis Sachar (Delacorte Press) Fiction. Alton Richards--freshly dumped by his girlfriend, jobless, and with no plans for the summer--has just been recruited as a driver and cardturner for his blind great-uncle, a master bridge player. Uncle Lester is elderly, crotchety, and "rich enough that he never had to be nice to anyone," and Alton's parents are eager for Alton to buddy up to him and hopeful that they'll be rewarded in Lester's will. We know what you're thinking: "A novel about an obscure card game that only old people play? Really?" Well, yes, really. Fabulous characters, humor, romance, and more excitement and suspense than you'd ever expect are in store for those who give this unusual novel a try.

For Keeps, by Natasha Friend
(Viking) Realistic Fiction. Josie and her single mom, Kate (who had Josie when she was a teenager), are close friends. Josie has never wanted to meet her father, who left before she was born, but when his parents move back to Josie's Massachusetts hometown, it's likely that she will. Meanwhile, Josie is seriously smitten with her first real boyfriend, Matt, and Kate is dating again for the first time in 16 years. Fans of TV's The Gilmore Girls and those who enjoy character-centered family dramas with great dialogue and plenty of twists and turns will finish For Keeps with a sigh and a smile.

Efrain's Secret,
by Sofia Quintero (Alfred A. Knopf) Fiction. Smart, hard-working Efrain Rodriguez is a likely candidate for valedictorian at his Bronx high school and has his sights set on Harvard. But a disappointing score on his first crack at the SAT and the reality of nearly $33,000-per-year tuition have Efrain seriously worried. Convinced that "doing the right thing" won't pay his tuition, he resorts to desperate measures in order to finance a second round of test prep and to bankroll his higher education. In her debut novel for teens, author Sofia Quintero, who also writes hip hop novels under the pen name Black Artemis, has created memorable characters and a story that fans of gritty realistic fiction will love.

by Marcus Sedgwick (Roaring Brook Press) Historical Suspense. Sig Andersson is sitting in his family's remote cabin with the corpse of his father, Einar--who fell through too-thin ice and froze in a nearby lake just hours earlier--when a burly stranger with a gun shows up demanding gold that he swears Einar stole from him. Sig's stepmother and sister could return home at any time, and Sig isn't sure whether he can get to his father's hidden pistol or escap
e from the intruder before they do. And even if he does get the gun, can he pull the trigger? Flashbacks to the Alaskan gold rush reveal what really happened between Einar and his erstwhile business partner, and tension builds steadily in the one-room cabin 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle. This atmospheric and intense story will chill you to the bone.

Inside Out, by Maria V. Snyder (Harlequin Teen) Dystopian Science Fiction. The denizens of Inside inhabit what is essentially an enormous metal box that's divided into floors and quadrants, with the higher-class "uppers" living above and the menial laborers, called scrubs, occupying the floors below. Trella, a scrub, spends as much time as she can hiding in the structure's pipes and ductwork, but her solitary life is disturbed when she meets a prophet and soon after finds herself in the middle of a rebellion. This action-filled story of revolution is a good choice for fans of Jeanne DuPrau's Books of Ember series--especially those who also like a bit of romance in the mix.

White Cat,
by Holly Black (Margaret K. McElderry Books) Dark Fantasy. Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of criminals and "curse workers," people who practice magic illegally and can alter others' luck or memories--or even kill them--with a single touch. Cassel, who doesn't seem to have inherited his family's talents,
tries very hard to convince his private-school classmates that he's just a regular guy. But he's haunted by a dirty secret from his past, a white cat that keeps appearing in his nightmares, and the odd way that his brothers have been acting around him lately. Right from the start, when Cassel awakens from a nightmare to find himself on the roof of his dormitory, this 1st volume in the Curse Workers series is a fast-paced, intense, and mysterious read.

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