Stung: A New Dystopian Thriller

Fans of The Hunger Games will love this dystopian remake of Sleeping Beauty. In Stung by Bethany Wiggins, Fiona wakes up from a coma to find a strange tattoo on her wrist. The world has changed while she was unconscious, her house is deserted and her family has disappeared, except for her brother, who immediately tries to kill her. She flees and discovers that since the honey bees’ extinction, the privileged few fight the marked humans who’ve turned into savage beasts. Hunted by both sides, Fiona fights to make sense of what has happened to her before she turns, too. This page turning-thriller will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Stung by Bethany Wiggins; Walker Children’s; $17.99; 14 and up

Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part II

I love middle grade, but more often than not I find myself gravitating to the Young Adult section. There are just such fantastic choices available over there these days! Here are some of my all-time favorites.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryPenguin; 4.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place.”

For fans of: Daddy Long Legs; Betsy-Tacy

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine MarshHyperion; 16.99; Ages 12-adult

Opening line: “Being a court dwarf is no easy task. I know because I failed at it.”

For fans of: The Astonishing Life of Octavian NothingDavid Copperfield

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinHyperion; 16.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line:  “I AM A COWARD I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.”

For fans of: I Capture the Castle; Flygirl

Chime by Franny BillingsleyPenguin; 8.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.”

For fans of: The DivinersFinnikin of the Rock 

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakKnopf (Random House); 12.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.”

For fans of: Milkweed; I Am the Messenger

I Capture the Castle by Dodie SmithSt. Martin’s; 14.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

For fans of: A Brief History of MontmarayJane Austen

We try to always have copies of these books on our shelves! Come by and check them out sometime!

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Shades of London Trilogy

madnessunderneathThe Madness Underneath just came out, and we have signed copies!

For those of you new to the Shades of London trilogy, you’re in for a treat. A very spooky, treat.  In The Name of the Star,  Rory Devaux transfers to a London boarding school where she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.   A Jack the Ripper copycat is terrorizing the East End, and on the night of one of the murders, Rory sees a suspect. The real trouble is, she seems to be the only one who can see him. Worse still, he knows she saw him and soon she becomes a target. Part ghost story, part murder mystery, part boarding school story, Maureen Johnson creates a compelling and original novel.

  The Name of the Star is the first of the trilogy, but I appreciated the fact that it stood well on its own. While I was eager to dive into book 2 after finishing the last page, I was satisfied with the completion of this particular story line. The best news, however, is that book two: The Madness Underneath was just released and so I don’t need to wait for it to come out.

Watch the trailer for The Madness Underneath here.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson; Speak; $9.99

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson; Putnam; $17.99

Five Flavors of Dumb

In search of a funny YA read? Try Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. It’s anything but dumb.

Seattle’s newest high school band is Dumb. That is literally their name and Piper thinks it fits. But when Dumb wins the battle of the bands, Piper inadvertently becomes their manager. There are just a few problems-they only know one song, one member can’t even play guitar, they don’t have a drummer, and Piper is deaf. But she’s in desperate need of cash and determined to turn Dumb into a real rock band.

This fun foray into rock-n-roll is a great, quick YA read about the world’s most unlikely high school rock band. Antony John sends his characters on a crash course through Seattle’s rock history, while raising some interesting questions about being a deaf teenager.  Piper’s often snarky voice will make you laugh as she tries to transform Dumb into a band that really rocks.   — Erin

Five Flavors of Dumb,by Antony John, Speak, $8.99

Graceling by Kristin Cashore


Graceling
has been out since 2008, but because the third book in the series was recently released, I thought it was high time to catch up!  And I’m glad I did; Graceling has the kind of rich, pulse-pounding fantasy adventures I love to read about.  As a bonus, it stars one of the coolest female protagonists I’ve read about in a while: Katsa.

Katsa is a Graceling, which means she has a magical talent.  But unlike other Gracelings who might be good cooks or dancers, Katsa is Graced to be a talented killer.  She hates her Grace and longs for the freedom to be something other than a hired thug, which is the only job she’s ever had.  When she meets Po, a Graced fighter who has a very different view of Katsa’s potential, she begins to realize she has the freedom to help people instead of hurt them.  It’s good timing, because she and Po soon uncover a truly scary conspiracy, and only two people with Graces like theirs have a chance at stopping it.

If you’re a fan of Katniss from The Hunger Games or of any of Tamora Pierce’s books, you’ll love Katsa.  And if you’ve gotta have some romance with your fantasy, well, there’s a little of that too.  A great summer read (Katsa’s trek through the snowy mountains will make you feel freezing cold!) and a great overall fantasy adventure.

—Emily

Graceling by Kristen Cashore; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 9.99; Ages 14+

Amanda loves Peaches!

Amanda loves peaches. Peaches to eat, peaches to read about. Summer is the perfect time to do both! Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson is an excellent middle-of-summer book to read in-between summer reading selections for school.

The story of three girls placed at a failing peach orchard in Georgia to work for the summer just screams hot, humid weather and juicy peach deliciousness. Birdie is the slightly overweight daughter of the orchard owner, very insecure and very lonely in her Georgia peach world. Since her mother ran off, a lot of the orchard responsibility has been placed on Birdie and she takes her job very seriously.

Leeda is Birdie’s rich and spoiled cousin and she opts to spend the summer at the orchard instead of planning her sister’s wedding. Leeda is incredibly jealous of her sister and wants nothing to do with making plans and knows she isn’t exactly wanted around the peach house either.

Murphy is the resident bad girl. She is sentenced by the town judge to work at the orchard as community service for petty crimes she continuously commits. She has great attitude and adds some excellent dramatic flair to the story.

Though putting distance between themselves at first, the girls grow closer as the summer moves on and find they actually have quite a bit in common. They work together through boyfriend problems, family dramas, and the doubt that the peach orchard will survive. This was a lovely and refreshing book, with believable friendships. I wanted to be friends with these girls!

This is the first in a series, so if you love it, follow it up with The Secrets of Peaches and Love and Peaches. Make sure you have a bowl of fresh PEACHES to eat while you read. Yum!

Great for fans of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares or those that love books by Sarah Dessen.

Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson; $8.99; HarperTeen; Ages 14+

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Yes, as you might have guessed, this story takes place in Neverland. Yes, we meet Peter Pan and Wendy and Captain Hook. But if you’re expecting the sugary cartoon escapades of the Disney film, or even the dark magic of J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan and Wendy, you’re in the wrong place. This is something else entirely, something new and a little surprising.

Tiger Lily has never quite fit in with her tribe. Adopted by the shaman, Tiger Lily has been raised in the tiny village but never truly accepted. Still, she abides by the rules: never wander off, never oppose the pirates, and avoid the Lost Boys at all costs. Everyone on the island knows their place, and so Neverland stays in a sort of uncomfortable balance. But when Tiger Lily saves a strange Englishman from shipwreck, she finds herself slowly but surely challenging the status quo. And when she meets the mysterious, impish Peter Pan, her entire world is flipped upside down. In the end, a terrible choice must be made: leave and grow up with Peter, or stay in the home she has always known.

Here’s the thing about this book: it doesn’t care about expectations. It’s not restricted by preconceived notions of who Peter Pan is and where he comes from, or even what becomes of him in the end. It’s not a slave to Barrie’s plot or characters. It is not, most certainly, a retelling of the original.

DC-based author Jodi Lynn Anderson  gives a voice to a character that is usually left silent, and it’s the sort of unique, multi-faceted voice that keeps you interested and engaged. This is a great read for teens who have fond memories of their own Neverland games, or who perhaps are swept up in the many current stage/film/TV spinoffs of Pan’s tale.

Also, can we gaze at the cover for a brief moment? It looks like a flower (a tiger lily, even?), but look closer. It’s a leaping girl in a dress! Surprise! I usually dislike the “girl in prom dress” covers so prevalent in the YA section, but this one’s creative. I give it a thumbs up.

Read on, readers!

Megan

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson; HarperTeen; 17.99; Ages 12+