Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Release Spotlight: Sept. 20, 2016

Tuesday again! Time for this week's new releases! This week, I've added a chapter books section and defined my grade levels, both of which I will continue to do for my new releases posts from now on.
Among this week's 29 new release spotlights: a Baba Yaga/Vassalisa retelling (!), a new steampunk from Kristen Simmons, a kidnapping thriller/mystery reminiscent of that movie I Know My First Name Is Steven, a "how they came to be" story of Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, two middle-grade GLBTs, and a picture book creation story. Whew!

YOUNG ADULT (grades 8+):

Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake)
Three Dark Crowns, book 1. This book sounds fantastic, even if early reviews are a bit all over the place. Three sisters, each with a power all her own, vie for the crown. The problem is, two of the sisters' powers are epic fails, a fact they hide from their sister.
Frost Like Night (Sara Raasch)
Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe. Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, Meira jumps at the chance.
Witch's Pyre (Josephine Angelini)
Worldwalker, book 3. Lily Proctor has come a long way from the weak, sickly girl she used to be. She has gained power as a witch and a leader, found her way home, chosen to face battle again, and (after losing her first love and being betrayed by her new love) she has learned more about loss and grief than she ever wanted to know.
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Jessica Cluess)
Kingdom on Fire, book 1. Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. Fantasy.
The Female of the Species (Mindy McGinnis)
Three years ago, Alex's older sister Anna was raped and murdered. When her murderer walked free on a technicality, Alex made sure he never walked again. Now, Alex lives in the shadows of her high school, separating herself from the social tiers separating her peers. This book is dark and violent, and there is teen sex and drinking. It's real though, and it does reflect our violent world today, where rapists do walk free and no one really "sees" anyone else. Mystery/thriller.
Kids of Appetite (David Arnold)
This is the second book from the author of Mosquitoland (who I always mix up with another author, David Almond). Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell. It begins with the death of Vic’s father. It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle. Tragicomedy, realistic fiction.
Metaltown (Kristen Simmons)
The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does. Dystopia, steampunk.
Swan Riders (Erin Bow)
Sequel to: The Scorpion Rules. Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path. She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI. Science fiction, GLBT.
Vassa in the Night (Sarah Porter)
Yes! This is a Baba Yaga retelling set in Brooklyn. I LOVE the Baba Yaga story, ever since my Dad creeped me out with stories of a house on chicken legs. In this one, Vassa lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. Retelling, fantasy.

Ripple (Heather Smith Meloche)
Tessa lives in a pressure-cooker with her disapproving grandmother and step-father. Jack is a thrill-seeker who lives with and tries to take care of his mentally ill mother. Both teens turn to self-destructive behaviors to deal with their situations, but when they meet, they ultimately find peace and strength in one another. Romance.

Afterward (Jennifer Mathieu)
This reminds me of that 1980s movie, I Know My First Name is Steven. That movie really stuck with me, and I would imagine this book will, too. When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. Realistic fiction.
The Odds of Lightning (Jocelyn Davies)
Pair with Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Before they know what's hit them, four former friends embark on an epic all-night adventure to follow their dreams, fall in and out of love, reconcile the past, and overcome the fears that have been driving them since that one lost summer. Magical realism.
Stalking Jack the Ripper (Kerri Maniscalco)
Pair with May's The Falconer or Donnelly's These Shallow Graves. Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life. Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine.

MIDDLE GRADES (grades 5-8):

A Witch's Kitchen (Dianna Sanchez)
Millie's a witch, so why can't she do magic? Despite her mother’s best efforts to teach her, every spell Millie tries goes horribly wrong, but she’s a fabulous cook. When Millie conjures chocolate sauce instead of a transformation potion, her mother gives up and sends her to the Enchanted Forest School, where she’s bullied by goblins, snubbed by an elf, and has her hat stolen. Fantasy.
Landfall and Windborn (Jennifer Alvarez)
The Guardian Herd, books 3 and 4. Two books in this series published this week. I've never heard of this series, but I just put it on our next order. Reviews are strong, and I've seen several comparisons to Hunter's Warriors series and the multi-author series Spirit Animals. Animal fantasy.
The Best Man (Richard Peck)
When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man—Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Archer recounts his life through elementary school: the outspoken, ever-loyal friends he makes, the teachers who blunder or inspire, and the family members who serve as his role models. Realistic fiction, GLBT.
The Initiation (Ridley Pearson)
Lock & Key, book 1. James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. James is paired with an unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve the mystery. Mystery, retelling.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (Jeannine Atkins)
A novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists. Maria Merian studied and painted the life cycles of butterflies. Mary Anning discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past. Maria Mitchell discovered a new comet after years of studying the night sky. Science, narrative nonfiction, free verse.
The Other Boy (M.G. Hennessey)
Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. He loves pitching for his baseball team, working on his graphic novel, and hanging out with his best friend, Josh. But Shane is keeping something private, something that might make a difference to his teammates, to Josh, and to his new crush, Madeline. Realistic fiction, transgender.
Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West (Candace Fleming)
Everyone knows the name of Buffalo Bill, but few these days know what he did or, in some cases, didn't do. Was he a Pony Express rider? Did he ride with Wild Bill Hickok? Did he "scalp" countless Native Americans, or did he defend their rights? Biography, narrative nonfiction.
The Forgetting Machine (Pete Hautman)
Absentmindedness in Flinkwater, a town overflowing with eccentric scientists and engineers, is nothing new. Recently, however, the number of confused, forgetful citizens has been increasing, and no one seems to know why.
Truth or Dare (Barbara Dee)
When Lia returns after a summer with her eccentric aunt, it feels like everything has changed within her group of five friends. Everyone just seems more…dramatic. And after playing a game of Truth or Dare, Lia discovers how those divides are growing wider, and tells a few white lies about what really happened over the summer in order to “keep up.” But is “keeping up” with her BFFs really worth it?
The Golden Compass: Graphic Novel, Volume 2 (Adapted by Stéphane Melchior-Durand, Philip Pullman, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie)
Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her dæmon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, and a mysterious substance known as Dust.

YOUNG READERS (chapter books for grades 1-4):

Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep (Abigail Hanlon)
Great for fans of Junie B. Jones and Clementine. Ever since Dory met Rosabelle, a real true friend whose imagination and high spirits match her own, school has been pretty good. But now the class is learning to read, and it's proving to be a challenge for Dory. While Rosabelle can read chapter books in her head, Dory is stuck with baby books about a happy little farm. Realistic fiction, school stories.

PICTURE BOOKS (all ages):

The Cookie Fiasco (Mo Willems, Dan Santant)
First book in the new Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series. Elephant and Piggie introduce a new book, The Cookie Fiasco, where Hippo, Croc, and The Squirrels argue about how to divide three cookies among four people. One Goodreads reader recommended using this to teach Marxist Theory with HS students. It could also be a springboard to discuss Hippo's anxiety.
We Are Growing! (Laurie Keller, Mo Willems)
Elephant & Piggie Like Reading, book 2. Walt and his friends are growing up! Everyone is the something-est. But...what about Walt? He is not the tallest, or the curliest, or the silliest. He is not the anything-est! As a BIG surprise inches closer, Walt discovers something special of his own!
Otis and the Kittens (Loren Long)
On the farm where Otis the tractor lives, it hasn't rained in a long time and farmers all over the valley have grown anxious with water in such short supply. One hot afternoon, Otis spots something moving down in the valley—an orange tabby cat headed straight for the old barn. But then Otis sees something else that causes his engine to sputter...a swirl of smoke coming from the same barn.
This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are And Where We Came From (Jamie Lee Curtis)
ALL of my students are international, coming from countries all over the world, so I think this book will resonate well with them. A teacher tells her class about her great-grandmother’s dislocating journey from home to a new country with nothing but a small suitcase to bring along. And she asks: What would you pack? Includes a pop-up suitcase in the back.
In Plain Sight ( Richard Jackson, Jerry Pinkney)
Sophie lives with Mama and Daddy and her wheelchair-bound grandpa, who spends his days by the window. Every day after school, Sophie runs to Grandpa's room to help him find things he's "lost" throughout the day.
First Light, First Life ( Paul Fleischman, Julie Paschkis)
Combining elements of the creation story from different traditions, this narrative weaves together one complete picture of how the world began.

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