Saturday, October 9, 2010

New books for teens: Spirits, witches and quests

Readers looking for something spooky to get them in the Halloween spirit can find it in these new books. Look for them using the World Catalog and Amazon search boxes on BookBag and be prepared to be scared!

Sleepless, by Cyn Balog (Delacorte Press) Paranormal Romance. Eron DeMarchelle died in 1910 and has served as a Sandman--a spirit who coaxes his charges to sleep--ever since. After completing 100 years of service, Eron will return to the world of the living, but he's got a couple of problems to solve first. Problem one: he's grown too attached to Julia, a lonely young girl who is just one of his many charges. Problem two: Eron's new apprentice, who happens to be Julia's recently deceased and extremely possessive boyfriend, seems determined to violate all the rules of being a Sandman. Sleepless is a fast-paced and suspenseful tale of star-crossed lovers that's sure to haunt your dreams.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, by Robin Benway (Razorbill) Fiction. Sisters April, May, and June have been through a lot lately--their parents recently divorced, their dad moved from California to Texas, and the girls and their mom have moved to a new town to start over. But even these big changes are small potatoes compared to what happens next: each of the sisters suddenly develops a supernatural power. April, the oldest, can see the future; May can literally disappear; and June can read minds. Alternately narrated by each of the sisters, this hilarious book by the author of Audrey, Wait! will charm readers who like snappy dialogue, strong yet complicated family bonds, and mostly-realistic fiction with a touch of fantasy.

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, by Stephanie Hemphill (Balzer + Bray) Historical Fiction. This novel in verse takes a fresh look at the Salem witch trials, weaving a tense and plausible story about historical figures Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, and Margaret Walcott, three out of a group of teenage girls whose accusations of witchcraft doomed more than a dozen of their neighbors to hang. Narrated in turn by each of the three girls, this story unfolds slowly and carefully, but once it grabs you, it doesn't let go. Were there queen bees (like those in the movies Heathers or Mean Girls) even in Puritan society? Wicked Girls says, "oh yes, dear readers, and they were most definitely to be feared."

Hothouse, by Chris Lynch (HarperTeen) Fiction. After their fathers, both firefighters, die while battling a house fire, high school seniors Russell and DJ are treated like heroes by everyone in their town. Russell realizes that he doesn't deserve to share in his father's glory, but somehow, it helps. But when an investigation into the tragic incident casts doubt on the dead men's heroism, the community's reaction is severe. With believable characters, emotional intensity, and complex psychological drama, Hothouse is a riveting read.

The Thin Executioner, by Darren Shan (Little, Brown) Fantasy/Horror. Jebel Rum lives in a brutal society where everyone who flouts the law is beheaded and where the position of Executioner--Jebel's father's job--is akin to royalty. As the scrawniest of three brothers, Jebel isn't likely to take his father's place, so he goes on a dangerous quest to gain invincibility from a legendary fire god. In order to win such power, he'll have to sacrifice the slave who accompanies him on his journey...but they'll both have to survive it first. Balancing adventure, social commentary, and action, The Thin Executioner may not be gory enough for fans of the author's Demonata series, but fans of sharp-edged fantasy adventures will be well pleased.

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