Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Releases--February 6, 2018

Welcome to February! Here in China, February means Chinese New Year, a huge event in China where most people have several days to up to a month off work. This year is the Year of the Dog. Most businesses will close for several days, and young people living in the cities will head home to visit their parents in more rural locations. Other traditions include hanging red and gold decorations (particularly red Chinese lanterns), and exchanging hong bao, red envelopes stuffed with crisp money. For expats like us, we either stay in China and enjoy the empty cities, or we use our extended vacation time to visit other parts of Asia. My school is closed for two weeks, and my family is headed for our annual trek to Bali, Indonesia. This will be our fourth visit to beautiful Bali!

I've been talking about this week's LONG list of new releases for several weeks now. I found 43 new books worth talking about this week!

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When My Heart Joins the Thousand (A.J. Steiger)
Alvie Fitz doesn't fit in, and she doesn't care. She's spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy. If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she'll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she'll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home. Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is--a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. Recommended for Grades 9-12. SLJ and Kirkus starred. Romance, autism spectrum disorder.
Tempests and Slaughter (Tamora Pierce)
The Numair Chronicles, book 1. Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm's most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class, Arram has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness--and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the "leftover prince" with secret ambitions. But as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram's heart, Arram realizes that one day--soon--he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. Though all professional reviews and early Goodreads reviews are strong, no stars for this one. Recommended for Grades 7+. Fantasy.
Winter Folk (Janel Kolby)
Rain is a homeless teen living with her father in the woods outside Seattle, near a community of other homeless people called the Winterfolk. She finds safety and sanctuary in this hidden world—until the day that safety is shattered when she learns the city plans to clear the woods of everyone who lives there. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction.
American Panda (Gloria Chao)
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies. With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, Asian-American.
Broken Beautiful Hearts (Kami Garcia)
When soccer star Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend's dark secret, she confronts him--and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton's knee--and maybe her dream of going pro--is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her. With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind--until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law. Author Kami Garcia based this story on her own experience with dating violence. I found only one professional review, which recommends Ages 15+. Romance, dating violence.
Americanized: Rebel Without a Greencard (Sara Saedi)
I've already placed an OverDrive hold on this one, and I am in position #1! At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn't learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn't because she didn't have a Social Security number. Multiple starred reviews. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Memoir.
All We Can Do Is Wait (Richard Lawson)
Debut author! In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital, hoping to hear that their loved ones have survived the collapse. Chapters alternate among multiple viewpoints. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction.
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (Shaun David Hutchinson)
Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth. This can be scientifically explained (it's called parthenogenesis), but what can't be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she's had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all--that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it. Recommended for Grades 8+. Multiple starred reviews. Science fiction, apocalypse, unreliable narrator.
The Queen's Rising (Rebecca Ross)
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. But despite all Brienna's preparations, her greatest fear comes true when the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron. When a disgraced lord offers Brienna his patronage, she is suspicious of his intent. But Brienna is out of choices and reluctantly accepts his offer. There is much more to his story though, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. A trilogy is planned (currently unnamed). Recommended for Grades 8-12. Booklist starred. Fantasy.
The Last to Let Go (Amber Smith)
Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind. But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own. Recommended for Grades 9-12. VOYA and Booklist starred. Realistic fiction, abusive parent.
The Belles (Dhonielle Clayton)
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Booklist and Kirkus starred. Fantasy.
Speak: The Graphic Novel (Laurie Halse Anderson, Emily Carroll)
Based on the novel. A new high school freshman, Melinda is an outcast because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Recommended for Grades 7+. Booklist and SLJ starred. Realistic fiction, rape.
Fade to Us (Julia Day)
Brooke's summer is going to be epic--having fun with her friends and a job that lets her buy a car. Then her new stepfather announces his daughter is moving in. Brooke has always longed for a sibling, so she's excited about spending more time with her stepsister. But she worries, too. Natalie has Asperger's--and Brooke's not sure how to be the big sister that Natalie needs. After Natalie joins a musical theater program, Brooke sacrifices her job to volunteer for the backstage crew. She's mostly there for Natalie, but Brooke soon discovers how much she enjoys being part of the show. Especially sweet is the chance to work closely with charming and fascinating Micah--the production's stage manager. Recommended for Grades 7+. Realistic fiction, romance, theater.

Down and Across (Arvin Ahmadi)
Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion. With college applications looming and his parents pushing him to settle on a "practical" career, Scott sneaks off to Washington, DC, seeking guidance from a famous psychologist who claims to know the secret to success. Recommended for Grades 8+. Publishers Weekly and SLJ starred. Realistic fiction, romance, runaways.
Your One & Only (Adrianne Finlay)
Jack is a walking fossil, the only human among a sea of clones. It's been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she's different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn't help. As Althea and Jack's connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Kirkus starred. Science fiction, cloning.
The Book of Pearl (Timothee de Fombelle, Sarah Ardizzone)
Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in -- a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place -- an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Translated from French. Age recommendations vary widely, from Grades 5-11. Booklist and Kirkus starred. Fantasy, France.


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Checked (Cynthia Kadohata, Maurizio Zorat)
Hockey is Conor’s life. His whole life. He’ll say it himself, he’s a hockey beast. It’s his dad’s whole life too—and Conor is sure that’s why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad’s chemotherapy. But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad’s crying bouts, and his friend’s difficult family life. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Booklist and Publisher's Weekly starred. Realistic fiction, hockey, grief.
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire (John August)
Arlo Finch is a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Colorado, a tiny town of mystery and magic, but he's already attracted the attention of dark and ancient forces. At first he thinks these increasingly strange and frightening occurrences are just part of being in Rangers, the mountain scouting troop where he learns how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods. But soon Arlo finds himself at the center of a dangerous adventure, where he faces obstacles that test the foundations of the Ranger's Vow. A sequel is planned. Recommended for Grades 4-8. Fantasy, adventure.
Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time By Her Granddaughters (Charlotte Jones Voiklis, Lena Roy)
Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles--a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing--and eventual triumph. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Biography.
100 Scientists Who Made History (Andrea Mills)
Full of the true-life stories of scientists and innovators who have shaped our society and how we see the world around us, this book puts major scientific discoveries into context. Readers learn who inspired whom, and which discoveries laid the groundwork for more amazing innovation. Biologists, chemists, physicists, doctors, coders, and astronauts are all featured, including Hippocrates, Aristotle, Watson & Crick, Franklin, Kepler, Salk, Turing, deGrasse Tyson, and more. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Nonfiction, collected biography, science.
The Book of Boy (Catherine Gilbert Murdock)
This reminds me of The Inquisitor's Tale. Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town--until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy's climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed and suspensful expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter. Recommendedfor Grades 4-6. Kirkus starred. Fantasy, adventure, middle ages.
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley (April Stevens)
Eleven-year-old Frances is an observer of both nature and people, just like her idol, the anthropologist Margaret Mead. She spends most of her time up on the rocks behind her house in her "rock world," as Alvin, her kindhearted and well-read school bus driver, calls it. It's the one place where Frances can truly be herself, and where she doesn't have to think about her older sister, Christinia, who is growing up and changing in ways that Frances can't understand. But when the unimaginable happens, Frances slowly discovers that perhaps the world outside her rugged, hidden paradise isn't so bad after all, and that maybe--just maybe--she can find connection and camaraderie with the people who have surrounded her all along. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Kirkusstarred. Realistic fiction, grief.
Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story (Jennifer Roy, Ali Fadhil)
On January 17, 1991, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States. Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Fictionalized, but based on author Ali Fadhil's own childhood in Basra. Recommended for Grades 4-7. School Library Connection starred. Historical fiction, war, Iraq.
Frederik Sandwich and the Earthquake That Couldn't Possibly Be (Kevin John Scott)
Eleven-year old Frederik Sandwich awakens to an earthquake that couldn’t possibly be. His town is nowhere near a fault line and no earthquake has ever been recorded there. But when he questions what could have caused the shaking, he realizes he may have uncovered more than he bargained for. Quirky, along the lines of Lemony Snicket books. Recommended for Grades 4-7. School Library Connection starred. Mystery, adventure.
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine (Sally J. Pla)
Nobody knows comics trivia like Stanley knows comics trivia. It's what he takes comfort in when the world around him gets to be too much. And after he faints during a safety assembly, Stanley takes his love of comics up a level by inventing his own imaginary superhero, named John Lockdown, to help him through. Recommended for Grades 4-8. Kirkus starred. Realistic fiction, sensory processing disorder, anxiety.
Geeked Out: A Lame New World (Obert Skye)
Waddle Jr. High has become a dystopian outpost with divided cliques--Pepville, Jockstown, Staffland, and even Geekdom. Society may be in danger but middle school must go on. Enter geeky Tip and all his friends: easy-to-blush Owen, coding master Xennipher, and brilliant, dependable Mindy, who've all had enough of being bullied and decide to take a stand. Together, they form a secret vigilante group: the League of Average Mediocre Entities, better known as LAME. With everything that's going on in the world, their school could use a few heroes. Illustrated and a great choice for fans of Patterson's Middle School series. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Humor, dystopia.
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen (Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann)
A heavily-illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s. When movie director Larry Trimble travels to Berlin searching for his next big star--a dog!--he finds Etzel, a fierce, highly trained three-year-old German shepherd police dog. Larry sees past the snarls and growls and brings Etzel back to Hollywood, where he is renamed Strongheart. Along with screenwriter Jane Murfin, Larry grooms Strongheart to be a star of the silver screen. But when Strongheart is accused of attacking a girl, he must prove his innocence--and it will take his best acting skills to do so. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Booklist starred. Nonfiction, dogs, 1920s, film history.
Bringing Me Back (Beth Vrabel)
Noah's mom is in prison, and he lives with his mom's boyfriend, who he's sure is just waiting until his mother's six month sentence is up to kick him out. Noah is officially hated by everyone at his middle school, including his former best friend. It's Noah's fault that the entire football program got shut down after last year. One day, Noah notices a young bear at the edge of the woods with her head stuck in a bucket. As days go by, the bear is still stuck--she's wasting away and clearly getting weaker, even as she runs from anyone who tries to help. And she's always alone. Though Noah ignores the taunts at school and ignores his mother's phone calls from jail, he can't ignore the bear. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Realistic fiction.
Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World (Keltie Thomas, Belle Wuthrich, Kath W.)
The Earth's oceans are on the rise. Since 1900, global sea levels have risen steadily each year to a global average of about 8 inches (20cm) today, and they're still rising. By 2100, the sea could climb as much as 14 feet (4.3m) to 32 feet (9.75m). Photographs juxtapose the present-day with that same area's projected future. The shocking images will help readers understand the urgency for action and help them understand key issues in today's climatology news. 64 pages. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Nonfiction, climate change.


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Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School (Janet Halfmann, London Ladd)
Born into slavery around 1821 in Petersburg, Virginia, Lilly Ann Granderson secretly learned to read and write from her master's children. Lilly Ann read everything she could get her hands on, and through newspapers, she learned of places in the North where slavery had been abolished. She longed to have that freedom too. As Lilly Ann's reading and writing skills improved, she shared her knowledge with others by starting a school. After toiling for their masters all day, Lilly Ann's students would slip nervously into the night to attend her "midnight" school. Every noise reminded them of the painful punishment they faced if they were found out. But the students were willing to risk any danger for the chance at an education. Over the years, hundreds of enslaved men and women learned to read and write under their teacher's patient guidance. Kirkus starred.
Maggie: Alaska's Last Elephant (Jennifer Keats Curtis, Phyllis Saroff)
Elephants are social animals. Maggie and Annabelle used to live together at the Alaska Zoo. But after Annabelle died, Maggie was all alone. For years, zookeepers tried to keep her happy (and warm). But ultimately they sent Maggie to live at a sanctuary (PAWS). Now she is happy and at home with her new herd of other elephants. Includes 30 pages of free online teaching materials. 32 pages.
Girl Running (Annette Bay Pimentel, Micha Archer)
Because Bobbi Gibb is a girl, she's not allowed to run on her school's track team. But after school, no one can stop her--and she's free to run endless miles to her heart's content. She is told no yet again when she tries to enter the Boston Marathon in 1966, because the officials claim that it's a man's race and that women are just not capable of running such a long distance. So what does Bobbi do? She bravely sets out to prove the naysayers wrong and show the world just what a girl can do. Kirkus starred. 32 pages.

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

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