New Release Radar: Just Published Books You Should Really Check Out

Summer is just around the corner, when you’ll have time to read for fun again (right? right?), but there are already a ton of excellent books out there for every kind of reader. Here’s some highlights of some of my favorite, and most-anticipated, recently published books. Most of these have just come out in April, making them the newest of the new, and all are available for check out at the library.

Pure, by Julianna Baggot. Released February 2012.
Pressia was just a little girl holding a doll when the Detonations hit, but when the bombs ended, she was as irrevocably altered as the world itself, her hand fused with the doll’s head. Those who survived found themselves mutilated and fused to whatever creatures or objects were most near – some people fused with animals into Beasts, others with people and become Groupies, some even with the earth and became Dusts. The only people that survived intact were in the Dome, a protected enclave of people now known as Pures. Patridge is one such Pure, living a safe but controlled life of genetic enhancements and behavioral control, but his discovery that his mother may still be alive and outside prompts him to escape the Dome in search of her. When Pressia and Partridge meet, they begin to uncover the dark truth about the creation of the Dome, the destruction of the world, and their inevitable connection to each other. Those of you looking for something grittier and scarier than your standard teen dystopia should check out this new series about the dark, violent life after the Detonations.

Black Heart (Curse Workers, Book Three), by Holly Black. Released April 2012.
This is Book Three of Black’s standout Curse Workers series, about a family of paranormally-gifted criminals working for the magical mob, starring Cassel Sharpe, the charming con man turned good guy who is torn between his decision to work for the federal government and his love for Lila, who has become a leader in her father’s mob. Now that the entire trilogy is available, it’s the perfect time to give this funny, twisty series a try. It’s been one of my favorite paranormal mystery series since it first appeared in 2010.

The Wicked and the Just, by Jillian Anderson Coats. Released April 2012.
I’m still waiting to get my hands on this, but for those of you interested in historical fiction, this tale sounds like a brutal, complex look at both sides of the English occupation of Wales in the 1200s. It follows English girl Cecily who comes to Wales with her family to settle new land and keep down the “vicious” Welshmen, and Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh girl who must wait hand and foot on her new English mistress until the Welsh rebel against their new masters.

The Obsidian Blade, by Pete Hautman. Released April 2012.
Time travel? Alien worlds? A family in peril? This adventurous science fiction novel, the start of a trilogy, is perfect for readers looking for both action and introspection. After thirteen-year-old Tucker Feye’s parents disappear, he suspects that the strange disks of shimmering air that he keeps seeing are somehow involved, and, when he steps inside one, he is whisked away on a time-twisting journey trailed by a shadowy sect of priests and haunted by ghostlike figures.

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers. Released April 2012.
Next on my to-read-NOW list because of two words: Assassin Nuns. Seventeen-year-old Ismae avoids an arranged marriage by making a place for herself at the convent of St. Martin, where she learns of her unique gifts and must determine whether she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. This is a dark and romantic historical fantasy.

I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga. Released April 2012.
People are describing this as a teen Dexter by way of Criminal Minds, and it fits! This is an excellent, funny, scary psychological thriller about a boy struggling to overcome his family’s history of murder. From the publisher: “What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad? Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say. But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view. And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod. In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?”

Froi of the Exiles (Chronicles of Lumatere, Book Two), by Melina Marchetta. Released March 2012.
This sequel to high fantasy Finnikin of the Rock is even better than anyone could expect. It’s tense, full of equal parts political intrigue, dangerous events, and slow-burning romance. Marchetta writes characters that captivate in a fantasy world that is so detailed and imaginative, it feels like a real place. This series has a special place in my heart and any hardcore fantasy fans should give it a try. From the publisher: “Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior’s discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.”


New Books March 2012

All Good Children, by Catherine Austen. Y Austen.
In the not-too-distant future, Max tries to maintain his identity in a world where the only way to survive is to conform and obey.

Pure, by Julianna Baggott. Y Baggott.
In a post-apocalyptic world, Pressia, a sixteen-year-old survivor with a doll’s head fused onto her left hand meets Partridge, a “Pure” dome-dweller who is searching for his mother, sure that she has survived the cataclysm.

Sometimes It Happens, by Lauren Barnholdt. Y Barnholdt.
With help from her best friend Ava and Ava’s boyfriend Noah, Hannah is recovering from being dumped by her boyfriend Sebastian, but on the first day of their senior year in high school, Ava learns that Hannah and Noah betrayed her while she was away.

Every Other Day, by Jennifer Barnes. Y Barnes.
Every other day, sixteen-year-old high school student Kali transforms into an invincible demon hunter, but when she sees that a popular fellow-student is marked for death in the next twenty-four hours, unfortunately it is the wrong day for Kali.

Gil Marsh, by A. Bauer. Y Bauer.
High school track star Gil Marsh comes to terms with the loss of his close friend and teammate Enko and his own mortality while on a journey to find Enko’s grave in this modern retelling of the ancient Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh.

Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books, by Francesca Lia Block. Y Block.
The collected Weetzie Bat books: Weetzie Bat — Witch Baby — Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys — Missing Angel Juan — Baby Be-Bop.

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls, Book Five), by Ally Carter. Y Carter.
Cammie Morgan wakes up in an alpine convent and realizes that she has no memory of the several months that have passed since she left Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from an ancient organization known as the Circle of Cavan.

Lenobia’s Vow (a House of Night Novella), by P.C. Cast. Y Cast.
Sixteen-year-old Lenobia, the illegitimate child of a baron who watches her half-sister get everything she wants and longs to fit in, finds herself with a group of other young girls on her way to New Orleans where she will be married off to a rich man, and, during the journey, she tries to hide from an evil bishop who had his eye on her before they left and secretly visits the ship’s stables and a handsome young man whose horses are being kept in them.

The Whisper (sequel to The Roar), by Emma Clayton. Y Clayton.
Twins Ellie and Mika use their psychic powers to read the mind of Gorman, who has rejuvenated his body with potent Everlife pills and plans to carry out his diabolical schemes with his new teenage body, and plot to force him out into the wilderness he fears.

Legacy, by Molly Cochran. Y Cochran.
Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow students seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield, Massachusetts, is the place where her mother committed suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was a small child, and as dark forces begin to converge on Whitfield, it is up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.

Unraveling Isobel, by Eileen Cook. Y Cook.
When seventeen-year-old Isobel’s mother marries a man she just met and they move to his gothic mansion on an island, strange occurrences cause Isobel to fear that she is losing her sanity as her artist father did.

Bloodrose (Nightshade, Book Three), by Andrea Cremer. Y Cremer.
Calla Tor faces new challenges as the alpha member of her shape-shifting wolf pack, and while she tries to prove herself to her pack, Calla must protect Ansel, decide whether saving Ren is worth evoking Shay’s wrath, and find a way to bring about the end of the Keeper’s magic.

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley. Y Crowley.
Told in alternating voices, an all-night adventure featuring Lucy, who is determined to find an elusive graffiti artist named Shadow, and Ed, the last person Lucy wants to spend time with, except for the fact that he may know how to find Shadow.

Tilt, by Alan Cumyn. Y Cumyn.
When Stan’s dreams of making the JV basketball team fall through, he finds himself aware of the unexpected attention of mysterious Janine Igwash. Then Stan’s father arrives on the scene with his four-year-old half brother, and things become truly tilted.

Outlaw, by Stephen Davies. Y Davies.
The children of Britain’s ambassador to Burkina Faso, fifteen-year-old Jake, who loves technology and adventure, and thirteen-year-old Kas, a budding social activist, are abducted and spend time in the Sahara desert with Yakuuba Sor, who some call a terrorist but others consider a modern-day Robin Hood.

The Savage Grace (Dark Divine, Book Three), by Bree Despain. Y Despain.
After a brush with death, Grace Divine must find a way to prevent her one true love Daniel from being stuck in wolf form, while also seeking to save her family from destruction.

Fever (Chemical Garden trilogy, Book Two), by Lauren DeStefano. Y DeStefano.
In a future where genetic engineering has cured humanity of all diseases and defects but has also produced a virus that kills all females by age twenty and all males by the age twenty-five, teenaged Rhine escapes her forced marriage and journeys back to New York to find her twin brother.

The Traitor’s Smile (sequel to The Pale Assassin), by Patricia Elliott. Y Elliott.
In 1793, Eugňie de Boncoeur arrives at the home of her English uncle and cousin, but the French Revolution has pursued her in the form of Guy Deschamps, who is determined to bring her back to Paris to marry the Pale Assassin.

The Butterfly Clues, by Kate Ellison. Y Ellison.
Penelope “Lo” Marin’s copes with the stress of constantly moving by collecting–sometimes stealing–things from each new place, a habit that has become more compulsive since the death of her brother, but while she is wandering around Cleveland, Ohio, Lo finds a butterfly pendant at a flea market she recognizes as something stolen from a recently murdered girl and begins to piece together clues to find out the truth behind her death.

Harbinger, by Sara Wilson Etienne. Y Etienne.
In a near future in which the diminishing oil supply has led to mass rioting, sixteen-year-old Faye is sent to an educational facility for “delinquents and crazies,” where she is tormented by strange visions of a being sent to destroy the earth in order to save it.

Read the rest of this entry »