Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Release Spotlight: May 22, 2018

Last week, the students and teachers at my school got a free day off due to a planned power outage on the street in front of our school. It was like getting a snow day in May! Though this is not typical in Shanghai, there is another day planned this week for low power. We have school this time, and our school has dubbed it "Electricity Awareness Day." The only thing we are supposed to run is our air-conditioning (because it's getting hot in Shanghai!).

This week's Spotlight focuses more on YA than MG. It's just a sparse week for middle grade releases.

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YOUNG ADULT (GRADES 7+):

Furyborn (Claire Legrand)
Epyrium trilogy, book 1. This reminds me of Shadow & Bone. When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. Recommended for Grades 8-12. School Library Connection and Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred. Fantasy.
Aftermath (Kelley Armstrong)
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter. Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye. Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Thriller, mystery.
Anger Is a Gift (Mark Oshiro)
Moss Jeffries wishes he could be someone else—someone without panic attacks, someone whose father was still alive, someone who hadn’t become a rallying point for a community because of one horrible night. Moss can’t even escape at school—he and his friends are subject to the lack of funds and crumbling infrastructure at West Oakland High, as well as constant intimidation by the resource officer stationed in their halls. That was even before the new regulations—it seems sometimes that the students are treated more like criminals. Something will have to change—but who will listen to a group of teens? Recommended for Grades 8-12. Kirkus and SLJ starred. Realistic fiction, race relations.
Always Never Yours (Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka)
Between rehearsals for the school play and managing her divided family, seventeen-year-old Megan meets aspiring playwright Owen Okita, who agrees to help her attract the attention of a cute stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script. Recommended for Grades 9+. Romance.
Monday's Not Coming (Tiffany Jackson)
Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Mystery, missing persons.
From Twinkle, With Love (Sandhya Menon)
Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, romance.
The Brightsiders (Jen Wilde)
As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King's life should be perfect. But there's nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she's branded the latest tabloid train wreck. Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing. Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, romance, GLBT.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik (David Arnold)
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend. Then Noah → gets hypnotized. Now Noah → sees changes—inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories—in all those around him. Recommended for Grades 9+. SLJ and Booklist starred. Realistic fiction.
The Academy (Katie Sise)
Frankie Brooks knows what she wants in life: to become the world's next great fashion editor. All she needs to do is get into the elite American Fashion Academy in New York City. If she gets in, her life plans will be going right on schedule. Anna Wintour, watch out. But after Frankie messes up one too many times--hey, it's hard not to prioritize her acclaimed fashion blog above all else--her parents come up with entirely different plans for her future: military school. How is Frankie, the least athletic person in the world, who knows absolutely nothing about the military, going to survive a whole semester at the famed--and feared--Academy? Recommended for Grades 6+. Realistic fiction, romance.
Driving By Starlight (Anat Deracine)
Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police--secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence--she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it's illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it's a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences. Recommended for Grades 7+. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus starred. Realistic fiction, Saudi Arabia.
Racing Manhattan (Terence Blacker)
Jay Barton has spent her life on the outside, being overlooked and mocked for her tomboy ways. All she wants to do is ride her much wealthier cousin's pony. But when Jay shows a talent for winning the illegal pony races, her uncle starts to push her to take more and more risks. Jay decides to run away, to live the life of a stable hand, but her fortune changes when she meets Manhattan: a pedigree grey racehorse who has used up all her chances and is now neglected and despised. She fights to give Manhattan one last opportunity to show she is the champion she was born to be. Recommended for Grades 7-10. Realistic fiction, horses.

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MIDDLE GRADES (GRADES 4-7):

New Shoes (Sara Varon)
Francis the donkey is the best shoemaker in the village. He uses only the finest materials: coconut wood for the soles, goat’s wool for the insoles, and wild tiger grass for the uppers. One day he receives a special order from his favorite singer: Miss Manatee, the queen of calypso. But he’s all out of tiger grass! To make the perfect pair of shoes, Francis must journey deep into the jungle...and that means leaving his village for the first time. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Publishers Weekly starred. Graphic novel.
This Moment Is Your Life (And So Is This One) (Mariam Gates, Libby VanderPloeg)
This guide to mindfulness features simple exercises and full-color artwork. It provides a starting point for bringing mindfulness into your daily life. Chapters on meditation, yoga, and mindful breathing explain the benefits of these practices, and readers are free to pick and choose what to try. There are quick exercises throughout, and a more extensive tool kit at the end of each chapter. The final chapter offers satisfying five-day challenges that map out ways to pull all of the book's mindfulness techniques together in day-to-day life. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Nonfiction, mindfulness.
A Whale in Paris (Daniel Presley, Claire Polders, Erin McGuire)
Ever since the Germans became the unwelcome “guests” of Paris in the early days of World War II, Papa and Chantal have gone out in the evenings to fish in the Seine. Tonight Chantal spots a whale in the river! Though small (for a whale) and lost, he seems friendly. Chantal names him Franklin, after the American president who must surely be sending troops to rescue her country. Yet Franklin is in danger: The Parisians are starving and would love to eat him, and the Nazis want to capture him as a gift to Hitler. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Historical fiction, WWII.


THIS WEEK'S SEQUELS (MIDDLE GRADES):




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PICTURE BOOKS (ALL AGES):

Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin (Michelle Cusolito, Nicole Wong)
Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot and join scientists at the seafloor to collect samples and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during atypical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. Kirkus starred.


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This list also appears on my New Releases--Weekly Board on Pinterest: