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The Indie Next List (formerly Book Sense Picks) for children is a seasonal selection of eclectic new books chosen by independent booksellers.

Winter 2013

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Summer 2012

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Winter 2008/2009

— Fall 2008

— Spring 2008

Fall 2007

— Summer 2007

Favorites of 2007







Top Ten

1. Colin Fischer
by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz (Razorbill)
“Colin Fischer has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles to connect with his fellow high school students and to understand the world around him. However, his observational skills make him the ideal person to figure out how a loaded gun ended up on the floor of the school cafeteria. Colin Fischer is told from the unique perspective of a character who sees things differently and whose observations offer a humorous view on high school culture.”
—Rebecca Olson, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

2. Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Lemony Snicket, Seth (illus.) (Little, Brown Young Readers)
“Snicket's eccentric characters, gloomy settings, and twisted plots are back in full force. Thirteen-year-old Lemony is already suspicious, worried, and over his head in secrets. He is apprenticed to S. Theodora Markson (asking what the S stands for is a Wrong Question), who is taking him to Stain'd-by-the-Sea, a thoroughly strange place with lots of its own secrets. Markson and Snicket are there to do one thing: retrieve and return a statue of the rather frightening Bombinating Beast to its rightful owner. Nothing is as simple as it seems, especially when you can't trust anyone. Snicket knows much more than he's telling, and he weaves a complex mystery that ultimately brings up more questions than it answers.”
—Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

3. Jinx
Sage Blackwood (HarperCollins)
“This great adventure story draws the reader into its magical, dangerous world in a way that reminded me of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Magic here is many-layered and both good and bad; it is used by some, banned by others, and feared by the rest. The characters, too, are complex and multidimensional. There are no clear heroes, and some villains are more villainous than others. Blackwood has barely scratched the surface of the world that he has created, and there should be many more adventures ahead for Jinx and his friends. I look forward to them impatiently.”
—Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

4. Peace
Wendy Anderson Halperin (Atheneum)
“This picture book explores the question we always ask ourselves: 'Why can't there be world peace?' Drawing quotes from peace advocates around the world to outline her illustrations, Halperin explains that peace has to begin small to branch out into the world.”
—Maryam Yachnes, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA


5.The Bully Book: A Novel
Eric Kahn Gale (HarperCollins)
“Eric has recently begun sixth grade and just wants to be normal and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, other sixth-grade boys and even his best friend from the previous school year have decided he would make the perfect Grunt. But why him? Eric is determined to find the answer as he knows the bullying will follow him until he graduates. Gale felt the same insults and name calling at the same age and decided to write The Bully Book for all those who have been singled out as Grunts. An important book not just for students, but also for teachers and parents as they seek to stop the trauma of bullying that can last a lifetime.”
—Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

6. A Flower in the Snow
Tracey Corderoy, Sophie Allsopp (Illus.) (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)
“This is the wonderful little story of two best friends, Luna and Bear, and their special relationship. Bear thinks he needs to search to find the perfect gift for his friend, but when he returns he discovers that the best gift of all is the special friendship that he shares with Luna. The illustrations are warm and inviting and add to the special feeling of the story. This is perfect to recommend as a special quiet-time book for young children”
—Judith Lafitte, Octavia Books, LLC, New Orleans, LA

7. Prodigy: A Legend Novel
Marie Lu (Putnam Juvenile)
“Its hard to believe that there could be a more thrilling, heart-stopping tale than Lu-s fantastic debut, Legend, but she has done it with this sequel. Moving the action out of Los Angeles and around the battle zone Republic, Day and June fight together and apart through numerous situations and deceptions and their relationship deepens. These well-drawn characters, as well as the young, new Elector, point to the final book that will conclude this terrific imaginative dystopian tale. Be ready to stay up all night to finish this!”
—Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

8. Peanut
Ayun Halliday, Paul Hoppe (Illus.) (Schwartz & Wade)
“This graphic novel follows Sadie, a 10th grader, who has just transferred to a new school. To make herself appear more interesting, Sadie fakes a peanut allergy, which ends up landing her a boyfriend and a group of interested friends in spite of her duplicity. Peanut is incredibly accurate in its depiction of teenage life, including language and emotions, but it also remarkably portrays the ignorance of food allergies to non-sufferers. An important book on many levels.”
—Halley Pucker, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

9. The Darkest Minds
Alexandra Bracken (Hyperion Books for Children)
“A disease, Ideopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration or IAAN, is killing children. Any child who survives ends up with special mental powers of varying types and strengths. Frightened by their new abilities, the government establishes camps for the rehabilitation of these children. Instead, as our heroine Ruby finds, they are nothing more than brutal prisons, filled with mind-numbing activities and armed guards who readily kill anyone they deem a threat. Despite the rather bleak scenario, this is, at its heart, both a coming-of-age tale and a love story as Ruby comes to terms with her abilities and the new world in which she must survive.”
—Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

10. A Is for Musk Ox
Erin Cabatingan, Matthew Myers (Illus.) (Roaring Brook Press)
“The ox in question wins every argument with the zebra who is trying to write an alphabet book. 'A is for apple' becomes 'A is for musk ox' when the ox eats the apple. 'K is for kitten' becomes 'K is for musk ox,' because 'musk ox like to kick anyone who disagrees with them.' Even the most jaded will smile at 'X is for musk ox, because 'musk oxen look totally cool in X-rays.' Of course 'Z is for zebra,' but he doesn't get the last laugh. The reader does! A great new book for story hours!”
—Rondi Brouwer, Blackwood & Brouwer, Kinderhook, NY

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Ages 4 to 8

Building Our House
Jonathan Bean (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“It's not unusual to move from the city to the country, but this little girl's family is moving to an empty, weedy field. Soon they settle into a trailer, their 'house on wheels,' where they live for a year and a half while they construct their new house. New experiences like having a frame-raising party with all their relatives make the long process into an exciting adventure. With charming illustrations and engaging text, Bean recreates his own childhood experience.”
—Heidi Powell, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Chu's Day
Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex (HarperCollins)
“Beautiful illustrations highlight this picture book by the prolific and always enjoyable Gaiman. Little Chu has a BIG problem when he sneezes. Just make sure you're holding onto something! Simple and fabulous!”
—Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC

The Critter Club: Amy and the Missing Puppy
Callie Barkley, Marsha Riti (Illus.) (Little Simon)
“During spring break, Amy is worried about being lonely because all her friends have big plans, and all she is going to do is help her mother at the veterinary clinic and read her new Nancy Drew mystery. Things get exciting fast, however, when Mrs. Sullivan, the intimidating rich lady who lives in the mansion at the end of town, brings her puppy, Rufus, into the clinic and then comes back later that night in tears because Rufus has run away. Suddenly, Amy has a real mystery to solve! Big print, great illustrations, and a story that is clear and easy to follow make this a very good chapter book for young readers.”
—Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

Frog Song
Brenda Z. Guiberson, Gennady Spirin (Illus.) (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
“Reading this book is as good as a trip to the zoo. The descriptions of various frog species are fascinating and whimsical; not only does the reader learn tidbits such as the fact that male Darwin's frogs hatch tadpoles in their mouths, but also the many sounds beyond 'ribbit' that frogs can make. Spirin's illustrations are nothing short of incredible. Each page is lush, detailed, and vibrating with life.”
—Janet Minichiello, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Grumpy Goat
Brett Helquist (HarperCollins)
“The only bad thing about Sunny Acres farm -- the friendliest farm in the country -- is the great big Grumpy Goat. Ignoring the other animals, tearing down fences, and being irritable in general, Grumpy Goat finds himself face-to-face with a dandelion. Suddenly, Grumpy Goat is reminded to enjoy the beauty around him, and before long he is as happy as all the other animals at Sunny Acres. Delightful!”
—Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC

Jangles: A Big Fish Story
David Shannon (Blue Sky Press)
“Everybody needs a good fish tale. Jangles is a fish of epic proportions and, of course, he has eluded fishermen for years. Jangles makes the decisions, and he decides to show a young human his world at the bottom of the lake. Spectacular art makes this fish tale jump off the page. Shannon is at his best here, in a style very different from anything he's done so far.”
—Elizabeth Anker, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, NM

Little Tug
Stephen Savage (Roaring Brook Press)
“Little Tug joins the ranks of beloved vehicular characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, the Little Engine That Could, and Otis the Tractor. Savage follows up Where's Walrus with a certain classic. Little Tug may not be the biggest, the fastest, or the tallest, but when other boats need assistance, Little Tug is there to help. Savage's bold shapes and limited palette are reminiscent of art deco travel posters, and each illustration is worthy of hanging on a child's wall. Now, can Little Tug please have his own series?”
—Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Look! Another Book!
Bob Staake (Little, Brown Young Readers)
“Finally! A follow up to Look! A Book! Staake has created a series of zany illustrations with tons of objects for readers to search and find. From an art museum, to recess, to outer space, each scene is bursting with funny characters and hidden objects. Also, be on the lookout for the funniest book dedication I've ever seen.”
—Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Max & Milo Go to Sleep!
Heather Long, Ethan Long (Aladdin)
“Milo and Max share a bedroom, but when Milo can't sleep, nobody can sleep! Milo noisily searches for a book to read, slurps down a glass of water, and generally disturbs the peace as he 'settles in' for the night. This silly picture book is the perfect bedtime story for active little ones.”
—Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Twelve Kinds of Ice
Ellen Obed, Barbara McClintock (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
“While some grumble about the cold, others wait for their breath to become frosty, for the air to feel silver with ice and cold. Obed captures this feeling, distilling the essence of winter into poetic prose. She traces winter by marking each type of ice that forms and the fun one can have on it. Every sentence begs to be read aloud, and McClintock's illustrations are exquisite. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a wintertime gem, perfect for slipping into a mittened hand, curling up with beside a fire, or tucking into a stocking.”
—Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

The Very Helpful Hedgehog
Rosie Wellesley (Trafalgar Square)
“This book wins all the cute awards! The hedgehog in question is adorable, the dilemma of dealing with an apple stuck to his spines is hilarious, and the solution comes in an unexpected form. This is a lovely story of what it means to learn to be a friend.”
—Elizabeth Anker, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, NM

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Ages 9 to 12

Amelia Bedelia Means Business
Herman Parish, Lynne Avril (Illus.) (Greenwillow)
“Hooray for Amelia Bedelia! Readers know her as an adult, who brings her own unique brand of lunacy to life with her literal interpretation of, well, everything. But where did that start? Was she always like that, even as a child? Thanks to this new series of Amelia Bedelia chapter books, we now have the answer ' yes! These books are well-developed and well-paced for young readers, and there are some cute illustrations sprinkled throughout. I look forward to continuing to enjoy Amelia Bedelia for years to come!”
—Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook
Shaun Tan (Arthur Levine/Scholastic)
“According to Tan, 'drawing is its own form of thinking.' The Bird King is an invitation from the Academy Award-winning artist to browse through his elegant, whimsical, and mysterious thought processes. Each page of this deceptively small collection will both capture you by providing a glimpse into the origins of Tan?s previous works and bid you to create your own story to accompany his images. This volume is an attractive and key addition to the collections of aspiring artists, writers, and fans of graphic novels.”
—Kerri Poore, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
Michelle Markel, Melissa Sweet (Balzer + Bray)
“Immigrant Clara Lemlich finds herself working in appalling conditions in a shirt-making factory in New York City. Rather than accept her fate, Clara joins fellow workers in striking against the company and their conditions. What begins small spreads throughout the country. This is an excellent historical portrayal that does justice to the immigrant work experience.”
—Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC

The Candy Shop War Book 2: Arcade Catastrophe
Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain)
“This is a wonderful sequel to The Candy Shop War. Once again, Nate and his friends must investigate strange goings-on in their town. With nonstop action at Arcadeland, a local amusement center, this new installment is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.”
—Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

The Candy Smash
Jacqueline Davies (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
“This is a terrific addition to Davies' beloved Lemonade War series. Davies understands and respects kids -- both as her characters and as her readers. Jessie and Evan are back, as are Megan and Scott, and with Valentine's Day approaching Mrs. Overton's 4th-grade class is bursting with cards, crushes, and mystery. Who is leaving forbidden boxes of candy hearts in everyone's desk? Just like Evan, readers will be inspired by Mrs. Overton's infectious love of poetry. This is a perfect book for middle readers!”
—Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Darwen Arkwright and the Insidious Bleck
A.J. Hartley, Emily Osborne (Illus.) (Razorbill)
“When Darwen goes on a school trip to Costa Rica, he and his friends must find a new way into the magical world of Silbrica to solve the mystery of several kidnappings. There's a giant tentacled monster called the Insidious Bleck involved, but that's just a tool in a much bigger scheme. Add to that the challenges Darwen has on the friendship front, and this book is a great adventure read that any kid who has had problems with friends can relate to. A worthy sequel to Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact.”
—Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Expeditioners
S.S. Taylor (McSweeney's)
“Make way for the Wests -- Zander, Kit and MK -- three orphans living in the near future, where computers and electricity have failed. They are determined to discover what happened to their father, the famous cartographer Alexander West, on his last expedition but must lay low so that evil government officials don?t learn that they no longer have adult supervision. The plot thickens when a mysterious stranger finds Kit in a market and hands him half a map, which the kids immediately recognize as one of their father's. The children interpret this as a sign to find the other half and set off to discover why this map is so important. An exciting start to a new series.”
—Lisa Christie, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

The Fire Chronicle
John Stephens (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
“Three siblings with a mystical destiny tied to books of magic are tossed into the fray again. In this sequel to The Emerald Atlas, middle brother Michael must rise to incredible challenges, while older sister Kate tries to thwart a grim prophecy. The cast of characters widens as more becomes known about The Books of Beginning and those who hunt them. Fabulous settings and richly drawn characters set this fantasy trilogy head and shoulders above most.”
—Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Lana Krumwiede (Candlewick)
“Twelve-year-old Taemon lives in a parallel world in which part of the population possesses psi -- the ability to move and manipulate everyday objects in every facet of daily life. When Taemon loses his power and must live with those who use their hands to eat, work, dress, and play, he finds his old ways of living thrown into question. This is a book with battles, secret doors, sporting tournaments, and power-hungry priests, but it?s the bigger question of how we live that leaves the reader, no matter what age, with a sense that this kind of a world may someday intersect with our own. It's this uneasy feeling that makes this story unforgettable.”
—Jenesse Evertson, bbgb books, Richmond, VA

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
Barry Deutsch (Amulet Books)
“Everyone's favorite troll-fighting, sword-wielding, adventure-scheming 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl is back! Once again, Mirka is dodging chores (especially knitting--she HATES knitting), trying -- and failing -- to beat her wiley stepmother at chess, and seeking mischief and mayhem whenever possible, but this time with the help of a Mirka look-alike named Metty. Deutsch's drawings are a delight. His characters burst off the page, and he portrays Mirka's insular community with humor, just enough cheekiness, and plenty of warmth.”
—Elizabeth Sher, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Hyde and Shriek: A Monsterrific Tale
David Lubar (Starscape)
“This is a wonderful retelling of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. When Ms. Clevis suddenly splits apart into two different personalities, it's up to the kids in her sixth grade science class to put her back together again. This is a fun and slightly creepy new series that should have kids on the edge of their seats.”
—Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

Navigating Early
Clare Vanderpool (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
“Newbery Award-winner Vanderpool has done it again! This terrific coming-of-age story begins as WWII comes to an end and so many people have lost so much. After Jack Baker's mother dies suddenly, his father returns from the front lines, uproots him from the only home he's ever known in Kansas, and enrolls Jack in a boarding school near his naval base in Maine. Jack has learned how to count on his own sadness and loss, but when he meets Early Auden, sometime-student and full-time puzzle, Jack's life takes a surprising turn. Fall break finds the boys on a quest to find a bear, a timber rattler, and, maybe, a brother. I read this in one sitting, and you will too!”
—Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Never Say Die
Will Hobbs (HarperCollins)
“Half-grizzly and half-polar bear? The ferocious man-eating Grolar Bear is no myth as 15-year-old Nick Thrasher discovers up close and personal. Hobbs delivers a taut mash-up of Inuit culture, the beauty of the Alaskan Arctic, lessons on global warming, and one memorable river trip. You'll never say 'climate change' again without remembering the Grolar Bear and this thrilling tale of survival.”
—Julie Shimada, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO

Red Thread Sisters
Carol Antoinette Peacock (Viking Juvenile)
“When Wen is adopted from a Chinese orphanage, a rarity for a child at age 11, she must leave behind the only home she's ever known along with her best friend, Shu Ling. Wen promises to find a family in the United States to adopt Shu Ling and sets her sights on that mission as soon as she arrives in America. As Shu Ling's adoption deadline slowly creeps closer without Wen finding a way to bring her to the U.S., Wen becomes increasingly desperate to see her friend again while still attempting to fit into her new life and her new family. I have never read a book that displayed the true meaning of friendship in a better way than Red Thread Sisters, and I can't recommend it highly enough.”
—Amanda Snow, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Stick Dog
Tom Watson (HarperCollins)
“Watson has created a fun, appealing new character in the form of a stick-figure dog, because -- as the school-age narrator, also named Tom, tells us, 'I don't know how to draw. I mean, I do know how to draw -- I just don't know how to draw very well.' We follow Stick Dog and his other stick-dog friends Poo-Poo the poodle, Stripes the Dalmatian, Mutt the mutt, and Karen the dachshund, on a grand adventure to steal hamburgers from a family cooking out in the park. The dialog is hilarious, and Watson manages to develop amazingly well-rounded personalities for all of his stick-figure characters. Let's hope we get to enjoy many more adventures with these four-footed, right-angled friends.”
—Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket
John Boyne, Oliver Jeffers (Illus.) (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
“Mr. and Mrs. Brocket pride themselves on being normal and avoid standing out in any possible way. Then they have a son, Barnaby, who floats -- the most abnormal thing any child could do! When the Brockets let Barnaby loose -- quite literally! -- he gets to meet lots of fun characters who also wouldn't fall into his parents' definition of normal. This is a great book for any kid who can't seem to fit in, and it will challenge readers' ideas of exactly what normal is -- and isn't.”
—Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

True Colors
Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
“Blue Spooner was only two days old -- or so the doctor guessed -- when she was left in an iron kettle on Hannah Spooner's doorstep with no clues to her origins except the worn quilt she was wrapped in. Ten years later, Blue is a bright, hard-working farm girl who loves her home and the woman who has raised her, but she is still secretly waiting for her real mother to come back for her. When the editor of the town's weekly paper asks Blue to fill in for their regular gossip columnist, she sees it as an opportunity to do some sleuthing into her own past. True Colors brings rural 1950s Vermont and the characters of Blue's community vividly to life.”
—Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

The Vengekeep Prophecies
Brian Farrey, Brett Helquist (HarperCollins Juvenile Books)
“Jaxter Grimjinx and Callie Strom mix mysticism, science, magic, potions, guile, and fantasy in somewhat, but not altogether, equal proportions in their quest to save their village from an unintended prophecy of doom. In this first book of a fast-paced and exciting adventure, both Jaxter and Carrie emerge wiser about the world they live in and are well positioned in their new roles for what is to come in the second book of the Vengekeep Trilogy.”
—Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother, Washington, DC

Will Sparrow's Road
Karen Cushman (Clarion)
“Once again Newbery medalist Cushman takes us back to Elizabethan England, this time to 1599, when Will Sparrow has been traded by his father to an innkeeper in exchange for ale. After stealing some food from the innkeeper, Will fears that he will be sold again, so he runs away. Life on the run is filled with adventure, danger, and hunger. Will becomes attached to an Elizabethan fair troupe with an unusual cast, including a hairy girl, a juggler, and a pig. An intriguing story for middle readers who will find this tale a fun medieval romp.”
—Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

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Teen Readers

Ashen Winter
Mike Mullin (Tanglewood Press)
“Set six months after the super volcano under Yellowstone erupts, this sequel to Ashfall finds Alex and Darla trying to cope with their new, primitive world. Mullin makes the reader feel the reality of what would happen following such a catastrophe. I could not put Ashen Winter down!”
—Allison Skaggs, Lowry's Books, Three Rivers, MI

Rachel Cohn (Hyperion Books for Children)
“Elysia is a Beta, a teenage clone. Another girl had to die in order for Elysia to exist for the sole purpose of being a companion for the children of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on Earth. Being soulless, she should not experience taste sensations, feelings, or care for others, but Elysia finds she does enjoy chocolate, feel pleasure when swimming, and cares for a boy who is considered off-limits to her. If discovered, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. Bestselling author Cohn's latest endeavor is a highly original look at a decadent society in the first of a four-book series that will leave you both dazzled and disturbed.”
—Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Black City (Black City Chronicles)
Elizabeth Richards (Putnam Juvenile)
“Richards hits it out of the park with her dystopian love story set in the aftermath of a bloody vampire war. The tale alternates between the voices of Natalie, the human, and Ash, the half-blood Darkling, allowing the reader a deeper look into two very different aspects of society. The wall that separates the Darklings and the humans gives the illusion that things are getting back on track, but one chance meeting between Natalie and Ash changes everything. Their story is part romance, part thriller, and completely amazing, and you will not be able to put this book down. I can't wait for the sequel!”
—Alexis Duell, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Daniel Waters (Hyperion Books for Children)
“Veronica is used to seeing ghosts. They became visible after the Event, and no one seems to know exactly why, but they are now a fixture in everyday life. As Veronica and her friend Kirk set about documenting the various poltergeists in their suburban town, they stumble upon a long-buried murder mystery that may change everything. A suspenseful thriller!”
—Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

April Linder (Poppy)
“Following Jane, a new look at the classic Jane Eyre, the second Bront' retelling by Lindner is Catherine, a contemporary version of the masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Lindner reinvents the mystery of the original, and many of its odd, unanswered questions are addressed and overcome. Lindner cuts to the heart of the original story, pulling out the themes and character dynamics that make up the foundation and then expertly twists them. I absolutely loved it!”
—Krys Tourtois, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

Crash (Visions)
Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse)
“The term 'page-turner' does not even begin to describe this latest book from McMann! From the moment readers meet Jules and begin to get a glimpse inside her life -- a life without friends, spent working in her parent's pizza shop, and with a recurring vision of the death of her estranged best friend -- they'll be hooked. Jules is a flawed character in all of the best ways, and McMann has created a plot that will have the reader flipping pages faster and faster to find out what happens next. An excellent start to a new series!”
—Amanda Snow, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Gennifer Albin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“Adelice lives in a world managed by women who are able to weave time and events. Every aspect of life is controlled by the Guild and all resources by the Spinsters, a group of women who are able to spin threads of time and matter and thus control the population. This accomplished debut is ideal for fans of The Hunger Games with the promise of a sequel to come!”
—Patricia Worth, River Reader LLC, Lexington, MO

Falling Kingdoms
Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill)
“What's the difference between those who are raised to be great and those who need to become great? Falling Kingdoms follows four teenagers, some royal, on their paths towards becoming legends in their own lands. Subterfuge, magic, battles, and politics collide as their disconnected lives begin to intertwine in ways that the reader cannot predict. I can't wait to read the next one!”
—Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

Fish in the Sky
Fridrik Erlings (Candlewick)
“When Josh turns 13, his father sends him a stuffed falcon. Other than his aunt's pear tart, it is the only good thing that happens to him. His 17-year-old female cousin moves into the storage room connected to his room, he thinks he's in love, his best friend seems babyish, and his body begins changing ' all of which makes school unbearable. Josh stops going, and instead wanders, trying to figure out this terrible person that he feels he is becoming. Erling portrays Josh's emotions with brutal honestly, capturing the confusion of becoming a teen with realistic detail.”
—Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Game Changer
Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
“A softball game goes awry and eighth grade star pitcher KT blacks out. When she wakes up, it is an upside down world. Instead of her softball game, she is in a world where you only get to practice sports, and all the competitions are, instead, focused on academics. Haddix creates a world where ideas run counter to mainstream society, and she challenges readers to think 'What if?'”
—Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

The Madman's Daughter
Megan Shepherd (Balzer + Bray)
“This is Shepherd's inventive reimagining of the H.G. Wells gothic classic, The Island of Doctor Moreau. In this thrilling and masterfully crafted vision of 19th century life, Juliet is caught between the seemingly irreconcilable yet equally prescriptive forces of scientific discovery and human morality. She begins to uncover the extent of her father's scientific experimentation, disturbing the precarious peace on their isolated island home, with dangerous consequences for all of its inhabitants.”
—Courtney Burtraw, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Not Exactly a Love Story
Audrey Couloumbis (Random House Books for Young Readers)
“By day, Vinnie Gold, new to Queens, faces locker room confrontations and has a new step-dad. By night, Vincenzo Gold anonymously calls his attractive next-door neighbor, Patsy. Patsy initially hangs up on her nightly midnight caller, but, as conversations grow longer, Patsy becomes intrigued by the mystery. This hilarious, clever story heats up when Patsy falls in love with the caller, and Vincenzo knows it's time to reveal his true identity!”
—Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Paper Valentine
Brenna Yovanoff (Razorbill)
“Hannah Wagnor is having a hard enough time trying to figure out where she belongs and what exactly her feelings are for juvenile delinquent Finny Boone without her best friend Lillian's ghost sticking her nose into things. Then there is a murderer on the loose killing young girls, and Hannah doesn't know what to do. Lillian insists that she get involved, and Hannah suddenly finds herself at the center of a terrible secret. This intriguing mystery will draw you into Hannah's world of regrets, horror, friendship, and young love and won't let you go until the resolution.”
—Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

A. G. Howard (Amulet Books)
“Alyssa thinks that her mother's side of the family is cursed. Her mother is in a mental institution for hearing talking bugs and plants. Now Alyssa finds she is hearing them as well. It's not until she returns to Wonderland by way of the rabbit hole that she starts to find answers to what's really going on. This is a fun revisit to Alice in Wonderland with just as much adventure as the Lewis Carroll original.”
—Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

The Tragedy Paper
Elizabeth Laban (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
“A coming-of-age story of the caliber of John Knowles' A Separate Peace, LaBan's debut novel will make you think about what it means to be yourself and to be a friend. When 17-year-old Duncan arrives at a prestigious boarding school, he discovers a trove of CDs left for him by the former occupant of his room, Tim Macbeth. As Duncan prepares for the dreaded Tragedy Paper, a senior thesis assigned by his English teacher, he listens to Tim's own tragic story of obsession with the wrong girl. Compelling!”
—Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Under the Bridge
Michael Harmon (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
“Harmon uses simple, relatable prose to place readers front and center in this world of skateboarders, drug dealers, and family dynamics. This emotionally acute tale of brotherly love will have even the most reluctant reader hooked.”
—Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA