Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Release Spotlight: April 3, 2018

Aah, finally spring break! Time to open the windows, take 90-walks, enjoy my coffee while it's still hot...and work on massive textbook order for school? And complete an IB online class? Sadly, yes. I had sworn up and down that I would not work on these two projects over spring break, but there is just no way I'm ever going to finish either of them during school hours. I hate that I'm having to do this during my break, and I am promising myself that it won't ever happen again. At least both will be out of my life by the end of April. Hurry up, May!

I did manage to take a break to work on this week's New Release Spotlight (which is way more fun than those other two spring break projects). The one that really stands out to me is Munmun, about a world where your wealth determines your physical size. How fun is that?

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Munmun (Jesse Andrews)
In an alternate reality a lot like our world, every person's physical size is directly proportional to their wealth. The poor are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers. Warner and his sister Prayer are destitute--and tiny. Their size is not just demeaning, but dangerous: day and night they face mortal dangers that bigger richer people don't ever have to think about, from being mauled by cats to their house getting stepped on. Warner and Prayer know their only hope is to scale up, but how can two littlepoors survive in a world built against them? Recommended for Grades 9+. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred. Dystopia, social class.
Antipodes (Michele Bacon)
When American teen Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she's determined to overcome her losses of swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin's chances of a good future. Once Erin meets her uninspiring host family and city, though, she's not so sure. Before Christchurch, Erin wasn't always intense and focused. When had her priorities gone upside down? Recommended for Grades 8+. Realistic fiction, overachieving teens, New Zealand.
The Call of the Rift: Flight (Jae Waller)
The Call of the Rift, book 1. Debut author! Seventeen-year-old Kateiko doesn’t want to be Rin anymore--not if it means sacrificing lives to protect the dead. Her only way out is to join another tribe, a one-way trek through the coastal rainforest. Killing a colonial soldier in the woods isn’t part of the plan. Neither is spending the winter with Tiernan, an immigrant who keeps a sword with his carpentry tools. Then the air spirit Suriel, long thought dormant, resurrects a war. For Kateiko, protecting other tribes in her confederacy is atonement. For Tiernan, war is a return to the military life he’s desperate to forget. Recommended for Grade 9+. Kirkus starred. Fantasy.
Rebel With A Cupcake (Anna Mainwaring)
Debut author! Although she has never worried about her weight, a problem with her outfit and an encounter with a bully make Jess question her lack of concern with her own image. Pair with Julie Murphy's Dumplin'. Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, weight loss, bullying.
Dread Nation (Justina Ireland)
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Multiple starred reviews. Historical fiction, paranormal, zombies, US Civil War.
I Was Cleopatra (Dennis Abrams)
Fictional memoir of John Rice, an Elizabethan-era actor believed to be the original actor playing many of Shakespeare's female roles. The story begins when John is age 13 and leaving his family to join the King's Men theater troupe in London as an apprentice boy actor. Over the next few years, John hones his acting skills, learns to memorize lines, and perfects his female gestures and mannerisms. John becomes a friend, and eventually a lover, of Alexander, a boy actor who is getting too old to play female roles. And he works closely with Shakespeare himself, who coaches him through the roles of Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra, among others. Recommended for Grades 7+. Historical fiction, fictional memoir, Shakespeare, LGBT.
Starry Eyes (Jenn Bennett)
Ever since last year's homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn't hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely. Recommended for Grades 9+. Kirkus starred. Romance, adventure, survival.
Losers Bracket (Chris Crutcher)
When it comes to family, Annie is in the losers bracket. While her foster parents are great (mostly), her birth family would not have been her first pick. And no matter how many times Annie tries to write them out of her life, she always gets sucked back into their drama. But when Annie's nephew goes missing, Annie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends, her foster brother, and her social service worker, Annie puts the pieces of the puzzle together, determined to find her nephew and finally get him into a safe home. Recommended for Grades 7-10. Booklist starred. Realistic fiction, foster families.
The Summer of Jordi Perez (Amy Spalding)
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby's been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she's thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she's competing against the girl she's kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship. Realistic fiction, GLBT, internships.
All Out of Pretty (Ingrid Palmer)
Debut author! Andrea, or "Bones" as her mom calls her, thinks of herself as smart, but intelligence only gets you so far and she finds herself nowhere near as smart or as tough as she thought. Bones needs to figure out what really matters to her and how to take care of herself in a world where there are no responsible adults for her to rely on. How do you survive a drug-addict mother and her dealer boyfriend? Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, poverty, abuse, drug addiction.


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Rebound (Kwame Alexander)
Prequel to The Crossover. Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshipping, basketball star his sons look up to. Recommended for Grades 6-9. Booklist and Kirkus starred. Free verse, basketball.
They Lost Their Heads!: What Happened to Washington's Teeth, Einstein's Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts (Carlyn Beccia)
From the kidnapping of Einstein's brain to the end of Louis XIV's heart, the mysteries surrounding some of history's most famous body parts range from medical to macabre. This book explores the misadventures of noteworthy body parts through history and uses them as springboards for exploring topics such as forensics, DNA testing, brain science, organ donation, and cloning. Give this to fans of Bragg's How They Croaked. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Booklist starred. Nonfiction, science.
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition) (Sam Kean)
I love the Periodic Table, and I know I have some students who get into it also. Presents historical background for the periodic table and follows the elements as they play out in human history and the stories of the scientists who discovered them. Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? Adapted for a middle grade audience. Recommended for Grades 5+. Nonfiction, chemistry, Periodic Table of the Elements.
Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth (Sheila O'Connor)
Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. When eleven-year-old Reenie Kelly's mother passes away, she and her brothers are shipped off to live with their grandmother. Adjusting to life in her parents' Midwestern hometown isn't easy, but once Reenie takes up a paper route with her older brother Dare, she has something she can look forward to. As they introduce themselves to every home on their route, Reenie's stumped by just one--the house belonging to Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse. When he doesn't answer his doorbell, Reenie begins to leave him letters. Slowly, the two become pen pals, striking up the most unlikely of friendships. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Historical fiction
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword (Henry Lien)
Peasprout Chen dreams of becoming a legend of wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating. As the first students from their rural county to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, Peasprout and her little brother, Cricket, have some pretty big skates to fill. They soon find themselves in a heated competition for top ranking. Tensions rise when the dazzling pearl buildings of the academy are vandalized, and Peasprout is blamed for the attacks. Now she must uncover the true vandal to ensure peace--all while becoming a champion. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Publishers Weekly starred. Action-adventure, martial arts.
The Stone Girl's Story (Sarah Beth Durst)
A girl made of stone, forever twelve years old, has outlasted the father who carved her and gave her life, but now the magical marks that animate her are fading and she must leave her mountain home and find help in the valley below if she wants her story--and those of her family--to continue. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred. Fantasy, adventure.
Class Action (Steven B. Frank)
Pair this with Dan Gutman's The Homework Machine. With the help of his older sister, his three best friends, and his elderly neighbor, sixth grader Sam Warren brings a class action suit against the Los Angeles School Board, arguing that homework is unconstitutional, and his case goes all the way to the Supreme Court. I think this will be an easy-sell at my school! Recommended for Grades 4-8. Realistic fiction, school stories, Supreme Court, homework.

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

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