NEW BOOKS! NEW BOOKS!

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Our October book order has arrived! (And there was much rejoicing..!)

We just received a bunch of new books in stock for you to read! Click through the tabs below to find your next book…

Realistic Fiction

Rachel, after donning an inappropriately bright lipstick called “Little Red Lies,” welcomes her beloved elder brother, James, back from World War II. Unfortunately, lies aren’t confined to the lipstick. James, deeply altered by the war, glosses over his disturbing experiences to his family, although letters he continues to write to Rachel—but has never sent—contain the truth of the brutality. Tragically, once safely home, he develops leukemia, a lethal illness in 1947. Rachel lies to him to convince him to visit a faith healer, whom she then recognizes as a fraud. Then she lies to her parents (and herself) about the intentions of a handsome but predatory teacher who’s playing up to her as well as other girls. After her mom conceives an unplanned baby, it’s concealed from both Rachel and James. When they discover, embarrassingly late, the cause of her weight gain, James feels convinced the baby is intended as a replacement for him. The seeming surfeit of subplots is believably explained and sensitively written, succeeding largely due to Rachel’s spunky though almost pathetically naïve first-person voice, which rings fully true. At one point, the whole town believes James has the clap, largely because Rachel overheard then repeated a conversation she didn’t understand. Filled with bumbling characters who achingly love each other, this coming-of-age tale rises above a crowded field to take readers on a moving journey of discovery. (Review via Kirkus)

Mila, 12, a keen observer of people and events, accompanies her translator father, Gil, on a journey from London to upstate New York in search of Gil’s lifelong friend, who’s disappeared. Mila applies her puzzle-solving skills to the mystery of why Matthew would abandon his wife and baby, not to mention his dog. On a road trip to Matthew’s cabin in the woods, she mulls over the possibilities while Gil keeps his thoughts to himself. Mila, who finds strength in her multinational pedigree and her ability to read people, is the one who eventually puts the pieces of the story together. Rosoff respects her young character, portraying her as a complete person capable of recognizing that there are things she may not yet know but aware that life is a sometimes-painful sequence of clues to be put together, leading to adulthood. The author skillfully turns to a variety of literary devices to convey this transition: the absence of quotation marks blurs the line between thoughts spoken and unspoken; past, present, and future merge in Mila’s telling just as they do in the lives of the characters as truths come to light and Mila is able to translate Matthew’s darkest secrets. A brilliant depiction of the complexity of human relationships in a story that’s at once contemplative and suspenseful. (Review via Kirkus)

Action/Adventure

 

Every day thousands of animals die in laboratory experiments. Some say these experiments provide essential scientific knowledge, while others commit violent acts in order to stop them. James and Lauren Adams are stuck in the middle… (Description via publisher website)

When an MI5 mission goes disastrously wrong, James Adams needs all of his skills to get out of Russia alive. Meanwhile, his sister Lauren is on her first solo mission trying to uncover a brutal human trafficking operation. And when James does get home, he finds that his nightmare is just beginning. (Description via publisher website)

 

Sci-Fi

 

Recon Team Angel, a group of teens trained for espionage and surgically altered to resemble the invader alien race (The Assault, 2012), are back for their next mission…going deep into alien territory. The Great Bzadian War is well under way, and the humans are losing. It will be only a matter of months before the Bering Strait freezes over sufficiently to allow the aliens to transport their heavy equipment over from Russia to invade the last bastion of freedom, the United States. In a last-ditch effort to delay the attack they know is coming, the Allied Combined Operations Group has deployed the titular task force deep into Bzadian territory (formerly Australia) to take out the factory that produces the power cells that keep the alien forces moving, hopefully buying time for the humans to launch their own attack and build up defenses. Lt. Ryan “Lucky” Chisnall must once again take his team deep into enemy territory, risking his and their lives to save the human race from extinction. Short sentences, clipped dialogue and a bounty of initialisms and technical language make this a winner for kids who love military-style adventures. The clear battle lines drawn between humans and Bzadians facilitate easy, total immersion. The action never stops, keeping readers engrossed in a rapid-paced tale that doesn’t hesitate to deal with the realities of a war of survival. (Review via Kirkus)

 

Falls’ (Rip Tide, 2011, etc.) first novel for teens is the nail-biting start of a new trilogy. Nineteen years ago, the deadly Ferae Naturae (“of a wild nature”) virus killed 40 percent of America’s population. Now, 16 year-old Lane McEvoy lives a safe, sterile life in the shadow of the Titan, a 700-foot-tall wall that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, separating the uninfected west from the Feral Zone to the east. Lane’s life is turned upside down when the head of Biohazard Defense makes her an offer she can’t afford to refuse. Director Spurling has evidence that Lane’s father, Mack, is a “fetch,” paid to retrieve valuables left behind during the exodus two decades before. Unless Lane locates her father so he can recover something the director has lost, Spurling will expose Mack’s treason, and Lane will lose him to execution by firing squad. As she ventures into the Feral Zone, Lane picks up two unlikely allies: the enigmatic feral-hunter Rafe and the militant, by-the-book guard Everson. Readers will find themselves drawn into Lane’s story through the author’s consistent worldbuilding and striking turns of phrase. Lane is an appealing and credible protagonist; her progression from obsessive cleanliness to fearless engagement with the infected is subtle and believable. Sure to satisfy fans of the dystopian-romance genre and to gather new ones along the way. (Review via Kirkus)

 

A teenage girl learns the terrifying truth about her physically painful visions of another girl’s life. Elissa misses her old life, before the hallucinations, the pain, the mysterious bruises and the endless doctor appointments for a condition most people think is attention-seeking behavior. Finally, a specialist offers brain surgery to end her visions. But when Elissa finds proof that one of her visions was real, she discovers her condition isn’t just a brain malfunction. The visions are a telepathic link that lead Elissa to her newly escaped, tortured twin: Lin, a Spare, is viewed as nonhuman. Elissa, unwilling to let the scientists catch Lin and hurt her again, runs away with her, giving up normalcy for good. Each twin brings tools to help them as they barely evade authorities—Elissa has convenient, high-tech false IDs that double as no-limit credit cards, and Lin has electrokinetic powers—in an action-packed, tense chase. Lin’s lack of compassion and trust for anyone except Elissa and Elissa’s naïve worldview test their newfound bond. Their only hope is to get off the planet by manipulating and taking advantage of Elissa’s love interest—a complex character despite the forced romantic subplot. While escaping, they discover the secret purpose of Spares, and the ending resolves the standalone plot in a way thematically consistent with the girls’ growth. Moral dilemmas and character development distinguish it from the crowded dystopian field. (Review via Kirkus)

Non-Fiction

Adolf Eichmann was among the Gestapo war criminals who managed to escape from Europe and establish new lives in Argentina. The search for him involved an international group of Nazi hunters who left no stone unturned to determine where and how he had fled, find him and bring him to justice. The trail of the man, an exacting scheduler who oversaw the transportation of Jews to the concentration camps, went cold until one small clue led to another. He was finally traced to Argentina, captured and secretly removed to Israel for a public trial. Meticulously detailed plans with timing down to the minute involving several Israeli secret services, intelligence networks, other civilian and governmental agencies, and dedicated individuals brought him to justice. Drawing on a wealth of sources that include original interviews, Bascomb swiftly establishes background, introduces readers to the key players and takes them through the search. At any moment in the hunt something might have gone wrong, with those involved being captured as spies and allowing Eichmann to escape. Tension rises from the pages, thanks to Bascomb’s command of pacing, judicious use of quoted material, inclusion of archival photographs and strong descriptions. It’s nonfiction as thriller in its recounting of the actions of a midlevel, monstrous clerk and the work of a few dedicated people in delivering him to justice. (Review via Kirkus)

 

A penetrating look into the roots of global conflict, the many ways it can begin and possible resolutions. Attempting to answer the question “Why do we fight?” is ambitious from the start. Following a natural arc by explaining different types of conflict and then contemplating ways conflict can escalate, Walker touches on topics that could each have their own book. However, she keeps the pace lively and the flow of information smooth. Preteen readers may anticipate finding solutions to conflicts in their everyday life, but instead, the focus is on global issues: fighting over natural resources, culture clashes, religious beliefs, etc. Underlying parallels to personal practice can certainly be drawn, but it is not the ultimate purpose of this work. Designed in a visual, infographic style with bold headlines and a sharp yellow, black and white color scheme, the sunny layout provides structure and bounce to a dense topic. In a concluding chapter entitled “What do YOU think?” Walker encourages readers to use their newfound knowledge and tolerance to become global activists. A laudable goal, but directions to getting involved with organizations such as UNICEF’s Voices of Youth or Amnesty International would have been appreciated. (Review via Kirkus)

Fantasy

The names change, but the characters and themes not so much as Gidwitz takes a pair of children through a third series of folk-tale scenarios punctuated with washes of blood, fire, tears and parental issues that presage readers’ encounters with Bruno Bettelheim. Before finally making good on their vow never to part, twins Jorinda and Joringel hie off on separate plotlines. Jorinda, as Ashputtle (freely translated as “Toilet Cleaner”), is betrothed to a comically clueless prince, survives three nights in an ogre’s haunted castle, becomes a child tyrant queen and is murdered. Joringel, magically reconstituted after having his head snipped off by his stepfather, swallows a fear-killing juniper berry, gives Sleeping Beauty CPR and rescues his sister from hell with help from the devil’s grandmother. So intrusive a narrator that even his characters hear him, Gidwitz offers commentary and (necessarily frequent) warnings about upcoming shocks. He then later steps in to shepherd his protagonists to modern Brooklyn for some metafictional foolery before closing with notes on his sources. After many tears, few of them happy ones, and much reference to suppressed feelings of anger and guilt, the children are reconciled with their neglectful, widowed mother and go on to a happy-ever-after in an anarchic day camp dubbed Jungreich, the Kingdom of Children. (Review via Kirkus)

Chima returns to her best-selling contemporary fantasy series with an entry that is almost entirely setup—but such delicious setup. Ten years ago, something terrible happened at the magical commune of Thorn Hill, a refuge from vicious Weir infighting. Thousands died, leaving only a few hundred young children, horribly damaged and with mutated gifts. Jonah is one of those survivors, born a charismatic and empathetic enchanter but now cursed with a killing touch, which he reluctantly employs to hunt down the undead spawn of the massacre. Meanwhile, Emma scarcely remembers Thorn Hill and knows nothing of her sorcerous heritage, until her grandfather’s murder sends her fleeing into the epicenter of Weir intrigue, prejudice, accusations and assassination. There are so many complicated storylines introduced here—characters old and new, factions with shifting allegiances and agendas, plots and counterplots and secrets and lies—that the protagonists don’t even meet for over 100 pages, and the volume ends on a grisly cliffhanger. Yet the twisty narrative works, propelled by the deft characterizations of tortured, frustrated, desperate Jonah and fierce, feral, determined Emma and held together by the ubiquitous soundtrack of the blues, both literally and metaphorically. Chima orchestrates a world gravid with smoke and grit and sudden death, throbbing with hopeless longings, messy affections, festering resentments, passionate hungers, inevitable betrayals, and miraculous flashes of beauty and grace. A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding. (Review via Kirkus)

Graphic Novels

 

 

Two friends alternate narration and struggle with grief and trauma after a violent murder. Freerunners who fearlessly climb and jump through the city as an urban obstacle course, Holly, Savitri and Corey are nearly inseparable—Holly and Corey twins, Savitri and Corey dating, Holly and Savitri best friends. But then a gunman murders Corey and gravely wounds Holly. Comatose Holly dreams that a snake man, Kortha, claims Corey for the Shadowlands. Phillips’ masterful dream illustrations, marked by fluid, bold lines and strong angles that create impeccable clarity and movement, provide intermittent graphic-novel segments. The strategically deployed illustrated sections pack major narrative and emotional punches. Upon waking from her coma, Holly can’t let go of her dreams. She latches onto her favorite comic-book character, a vengeance-bound superhero named Leopardess. Meanwhile, Savitri struggles to support the ever more distant and erratic Holly at the cost of dealing with her own needs. The two desperately try to make meaning of Corey’s death and find his killer. The girls are sympathetic in different ways, and their development as characters is natural, logical and seamless. Avasthi deftly weaves story elements and narrative techniques—two narrators, the graphic portions and even a flawlessly executed second-person passage—to create a rich portrait of friendship and the depths of reality-shattering grief. Haunting, mesmerizing and intense. (Review via Kirkus) 

 

Shakespeare’s tragic lovers receive star treatment in this spellbinding graphic-novel production. Hinds as director, set designer and writer has expertly abridged the original text while embellishing it with modern sensibilities. His edition retains the flavor and poetry of the 1597 play and its memorable and oft-quoted dialogue. It is in the watercolor and digitally illustrated panels that he truly presents a stunning visual reading. Juliet and the Capulets are from India. Romeo and the Montagues are from Africa. Thus, the political rivalries of Verona become contemporary and more meaningful to 21st-century readers. The Capulets are dressed in reds and the Montagues in blue—all against the finely rendered lines of Verona’s buildings and Friar Laurence’s monastery. Beautiful shades of blue infuse the night sky as the two lovers swear their eternal devotion. The panels vary in size to control the pace of the plot. Sword fights pulse with energy and occasional karate thrusts for added drama. The most moving image—a double-page spread without words—is depicted from above in shades of gold and brown stained red with blood as Romeo and Juliet lie dead and immortalized in each other’s arms. As thrilling and riveting as any staging. (Review via Kirkus)

 

One almost never hears the sentence, “I’m reading a Holocaust book for fun,” but parts of this memoir of French Jews fleeing the Occupation read like an adventure story. No one would describe this book as a thriller, but it has false identities and escapes through the forest in the dark of night. Ten-year-old Joseph even looks a bit like Tintin, with his skinny frame and blond hair. For a brief portion of the war, he spends his days eating pastries and watching the same movie over and over again. (Bailly’s pictures of the free zone in Marseille are gorgeous.) But the memoir is always a moment away from tragedy. In real life, Joseph Joffo’s father died in a concentration camp, and the last image in the story highlights his framed, sepia-toned photo. A few scenes are deeply poignant. Early in the book, Joseph is told to deny his Jewish identity, and he asks, “What is…a Jew?” His father says, “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing, but…I don’t really know.” At the time, Joffo probably didn’t think he was living an adventure story. He had to flee from one zone of France to another, hoping he wouldn’t be caught by the Nazis. For the 128 pages of this graphic novel, though, readers can pretend this is an awfully big adventure, and they’ll keep flipping pages, hoping it doesn’t turn into another story altogether. (Review via Kirkus)

 

Lonely young Hélène begins to get out from under her body-image issue with help from a new friend—and Jane Eyre. Weighed down by cruel graffiti (“Hélène weighs 216!”—a figure belied, later, by the “88” on a doctor’s scale but not before the damage is done) as well as looks and snickers from her former circle, Hélène walks slump-shouldered and isolated through a dreary world rendered in sepia wash. A class trip to nature camp brings no relief, as it entails a painful expedition to buy a swimsuit (“I’m a sausage”) and then exile to the “outcasts’ tent.” Only following Jane Eyre’s growth into a woman “clever, slender and wise” lightens her spirit. Then a brief encounter with a fox and the arrival of Géraldine, an extroverted fellow camper, signal at last the beginnings of a brighter outlook. Hand-lettered but easily legible, her sparely told narrative suits the swiftly drawn look of the art. Ably capturing Hélène’s emotional tides, Arsenault portrays her (as a child of plainly average build) in dark sequential panels that give way when she’s reading or dreaming to full spreads, usually in subdued tones of orange and blue. Those colors and others show up as highlights in closing scenes that are capped by a final glimpse of the bright fox amid burgeoning greenery. (Review via Kirkus)

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