January means lots of exciting new books on the menu! (And a new year means trying to get back in the habit of reviewing books again…) As always, summary information comes from Edelweiss.
The book: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Publisher & date: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Jan. 6
Publisher description: “Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
“At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
The book: X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon
Publisher & date: Candlewick, Jan. 6
Publisher description: “Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies-after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion-and that he can’t run forever.
“X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.“
The book: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Publisher & date: Knopf Books for Young Readers, Jan. 6
Publisher description: “Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
“Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
“When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself-a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.”
The book: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
Publisher & date: Atheneum books for Young Readers, Jan. 6
Publisher description: “Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.
“Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more-and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down-in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.
“Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died-although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness-and who can maybe even help take it away.”
The book: Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
Publisher & date: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Jan. 13
Publisher description: “Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changed when her sister was murdered—and Zephyr used a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.
“On the run from a punishment worse than death, an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend upends Zephyr’s world—and not only because her old friend has grown surprisingly, extremely hot. It seems that Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess that is prophesied to shift the power balance: for hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.
“But how is she supposed to save everyone else when she can barely take care of herself?”
The book: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson, Christine Larsen
Publisher & date: Simon Pulse, Jan. 20
Publisher description: “Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.
“Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.
“Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together though all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their pasts.
“But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront Death, and life will have to get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks destroying any chance of a future.”
The book: All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Publisher & date: Scholastic Press, Jan. 20
Publisher description: “This exciting new series from […] bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.
“Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.”
The book: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars mystery) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Publisher & date: Vintage, Jan. 20
Publisher description: “The Neptune Grand has always been Neptune’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and sensationalized events that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and smuggled out and left for dead by its staff, the owners know that they have a problem on their hands. They turn to Veronica Mars-instead of her father and new partner, Keith-to help disprove the woman’s story. It’s true that something doesn’t add up. While security footage clearly shows the woman entering the hotel, there is no evidence that she ever left; how did she end up in that field? And why? As Veronica digs deeper, and exposes a clientele that the hotel would rather not advertise, she finds herself on the trail of a mystery man known only as “Mr. Kiss and Tell.””
The book: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles – Levana’s Story) by Marissa Meyer
Publisher & date: Feiwel & Friends, Jan. 27
Publisher description: “Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.”