YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK
by Charles Benoit
In the vein of the teen suspense classics I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Face on the Milk Carton, Cold Calls is a chilling thriller, an unsettling mystery, and a provocative exploration of bullying, culpability, and the cost of keeping secrets.
Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common: "I know your secret."
Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .
This suspenseful, pitch-perfect mystery-thriller raises timely questions about privacy, bullying, and culpability.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Cold Calls?
I’m happy that the book stayed as gray as I had hoped it would when I first started writing it. Dealing with a topic like bullying (and extortion, theft, invasion of privacy, immorality and faith) it would be easy to slip into a black and white, “this is right, this is wrong” preachy kind of writing. I worked hard to avoid that kind of stuff because I don’t like reading that kind of stuff. We all know books that were so heavy-handed with their messages that they were almost unreadable*1 and I didn’t want my book falling into that category. In COLD CALLS none of the characters think of themselves as bullies. The bully is always somebody else, right? The truth is each one of us may be somebody’s bully without realizing we’re doing it. Okay, if you’re jacking someone up against a locker you probably know what you’re doing, but it’s the smaller stuff we don’t think about that may be ruining someone’s life.
We’d like to believe we’re good people, but we spend more time in the gray than we’d think. But it’s that ambiguous, slippery, self-deceiving gray area that makes writing—and life—so much more interesting.
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The Last Forever
by Deb Caletti
Endings and beginnings sit so close to each other that it’s sometimes impossible to tell which is which.
Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all she can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s so hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home.
Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town at Tessa’s grandmother’s. Despite all the warmth and beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost.
Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more importantly, he understands her. A secret stands between them, but Tessa’s willing to do anything to bring them together—because Henry may just be her one chance at forever.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Last Forever?
I have several favorite things about THE LAST FOREVER. I like the setting (one of the odd, moody Northwest islands in the San Juans), and I like the fact that most of the characters love books as much as I do. I like the way that a sweet boy, a great girl, and a whole town have a mission together. But it’s the mission itself that’s my favorite part, because the mission involves trying to get to one of the most impossible to reach and fascinating places I know of.
How can this NOT be my favorite part? A vault, hidden away in the farthest corner of the arctic, made for one, singular purpose: to store seeds so that civilization could start again in the event of a catastrophic event? One look at the picture of The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and I knew I had to write about. I hope you, dear readers, will find it as intriguing, mysterious, and captivating as I did!
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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS
Drama Queens in the House
by Julie Williams
Roaring Brook Press
Winner - Danielle Guzzardi
All of Jessie's world is a stage, and she's determined to become a player, in Drama Queens in the House by Julie Williams.
Sixteen-year-old Jessie Jasper Lewis doesn’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t surrounded by method actors, bright spotlights, and feather boas. Her parents started the Jumble Players Theater together, and theater is the glue that holds her crazy family together. But when she discovers that her father’s cheating on her mother with a man, Jessie feels like her world is toppling over. And on top of everything else, she has to deal with a delusional aunt who is predicting the end of the world. Jessie certainly doesn’t feel ready to be center stage in the production that is her family. But where does she belong in all of this chaos?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Drama Queens in the House?
I’m drawn to Jessie’s wildly crazy theatrical family. I can see why she doesn’t want to go away to college yet. I’m with her. I want to keep hanging out with all those actors and dancers and chefs and singers and costumers and . . . well, you know . . . THEATRICAL folks. As an author, I never know when I begin a story exactly where it’s going to go or how the characters will turn out. Now that DRAMA QUEENS IN THE HOUSE is done, I have to say I like Jessie’s sense of humor, the way her view of the world helps her cope when things get tough. It makes me want to hang out with her at one more rehearsal, one more dance class, one more opening night theatre party.
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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
by Leslye Walton
Winner - Kirsten Wood
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
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MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
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by Lindsay Smith
Roaring Brook Press
From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.
Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. When she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power where she can trust no one.
She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Sekret?
I loved getting to incorporate a wide variety of music in Sekret! The psychic spies in my book weave music into their thoughts to guard against other psychics’ attempts to read their minds, and the songs they choose reveal a lot about their personalities, I think. Russian classical music—Tchaikovsky, Mussourgsky, Rachmaninoff, et al—is so emotional and evocative and epic in scale, while the Soviet folk ballads and patriotic melodies really add to the other-worldly sense of life in the Soviet Union. My characters also listen to Western jazz and pop records smuggled through the Iron Curtain, which was a common, relatively safe way to subvert the system. The Beatles’ first album also has a special role to play!
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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK
by Katherine Ewell
Katherine Tegen Books
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.
Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.
But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.
Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.
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Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!
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Learning Not to Drown
by Anna Shinoda
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.
There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.
To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.
Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.
Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.
Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet.
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Love Letters to the Dead
by Ava Dellaira
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
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by Alexandra Duncan
Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
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The Ring and the Crown
by Melissa de la Cruz
Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.
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The Summer I Wasn't Me
by Jessica Verdi
Lexi has a secret…
Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.
You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.
The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.
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Happy reading, everyone and good luck in the giveaway. Have a great week,
Martina, Alyssa, Jan, Clara and Lisa
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