Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New tween reads: the Titanic sinks, time-travel, and the Amazon

Every month the number of fascinating books for tween readers to explore grows larger. Here, for example, are just a few of the new books recently released -- from real-life stories to funny high-school fiction, there's lots to keep up with!

Titanic Sinks! Experience the Titanic's Doomed Voyage, by Barry Denenberg (Viking) Nonfiction. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the disaster, this attention-grabbing book in the form of a newspaper tabloid presents the history of the building, launching, and sinking of the Titanic in a fascinating narrative. Archival photographs, survivor's accounts, and re-creations of Titanic memorabilia accompany the well-researched facts that the author weaves into a riveting story. Those who can't get enough about the Titanic should also check out Allan Wolf's The Watch that Ends the Night, and fans of historical page-turners in general might also try Jim Murphy's gripping Blizzard!

We Dine with Cannibals, by C. Alexander London; illustrated by Jonny Duddle (Philomel Books) Adventure. Last heard from in We Are Not Eaten by Yaks, twins and reality-television junkies Oliver and Celia Navel are -- much to their dismay -- off adventuring again in this exciting and frequently ridiculous sequel. Traveling from the ruins of ancient temples to the shadowy forests of the Amazon, Celia and Oliver ride a llama, race rapids, fly an airplane, and learn the proper etiquette for a cannibal feast before all is said and done. Blending mystery and adventure with silliness and attitude, this second Accidental Adventure is a blast!

The Inquisitor's Apprentice, by Chris Moriarty; illustrated by Mark Geyer (Harcourt Children's Books) Historical Fantasy. In this fast-paced novel set in an alternate version of early-20th-century New York City, people practice magic in secret and Inquisitors investigate magical crimes and attempt to stamp out enchantment. When his ability to see spells being cast is discovered, young Sacha Kessler becomes the apprentice of the New York Police Department's star Inquisitor, Maximilian Wolf -- and his career as a detective begins with the case of the attempted murder of Thomas Edison. This sophisticated mystery brings both New York and the period to life and features other historical figures as well, making it a good bet for fans of Scott Mebus' Gods of Manhattan.

The Crazy Things Girls Do for Love, by Dyan Sheldon (Candlewick Press) Fiction. In this hilarious novel, attendance is up at Clifton Springs High School's environmental club since the drop-dead gorgeous new guy, Cody Lightfoot, joined. As vegan eco-friendly girls, previously eco-hostile queen bees, and girls from across all social boundaries compete to out-green each other leading up to the Earth Day fair that Cody is organizing, life at Clifton Springs gets a little crazy. This wry, fun, and deceptively deep novel about romance, friendship, and saving the Earth will keep you laughing and is a great pick for fans of Jennifer Cowan's slightly edgier Earthgirl.

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders (Delacorte Press) Time-Travel Fantasy. On her way by train to a school she does not want to attend (even temporarily), spoiled 21st-century English girl Flora Fox is transported not to posh Penrice Hall in the here-and-now, but to St. Winifred's boarding school ... in 1935. At first shocked by the prospect of life without a smartphone, regular hot showers, and lattes, Flora soon warms up to her roommates -- and learns that they have a mission for her to fulfill. First published in the UK in 2010, this highly entertaining novel is one that fans of memorable characters (and magic) should not miss.