Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Release Spotlight: May 1, 2018

Happy Chinese Labor Day! We were off school today and yesterday, so I am nice and refreshed for the rest of this three-day week. Last week, we had two fabulous authors visit our school. Harry Baker is a world champion slam poet who performed for our 6th-10th graders. Stan Cullimore is an author/musician who brought the house down with performances for our Kindergarteners, 1st, 2nd, and 6th graders. Both authors were absolutely fabulous, and I got loads of positive feedback from our students and teachers.

This week's Spotlight features 20 new titles. Pay special attention to the middle grade section, where I have highlighted several titles in purple this week. The purple-highlighted books are titles that have consistently positive reviews. If your library is limited on funds (and whose isn't?), the purple-shaded books are a great place to start. Interestingly, two of this week's YA books, Tradition and Deep Dark Blue, complement today's #metoo movement and the recent guilty verdict of comedian Bill Cosby. Right now, I just happen to be reading Louise O'Neill's Asking for It, which is about the rape of a drunk, drugged girl at a high school party. All very eye-opening and needed in today's high schools.

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Tradition (Brandon Kiely)
Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook Academy's sexist social codes behind. Hockey scholarship recipient Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook. At a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn't be higher. Recommended for Grades 9+. SLJ and Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction, rape, sexism.
Royals (Rachel Hawkins)
I have read nearly all of Rachel Hawkins's YA novels, and I recommend them all the time in my library. The Hex Hall trilogy still flies off my library's shelves. Daisy Winters is an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who's nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. Recommended for Grades 7+. Romance, humor, royalty.
Ship It (Britta Lundin)
Told in alternating POVs. Claire is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it's a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, when Forest laughs off Claire's assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest's character and his male frenemy. She can't believe her hero is such a closed-minded jerk, and Forest is confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Recommended for Grades 8-11. Coming of Age, GLBT.
Fatal Throne (multiple YA authors)
My friend Michelle is obsessed with all thing Henry VIII, and I have no doubt she'll be reading this very soon. Told by seven current YA authors, this is the story of King Henry VIII and his six wives. Each of Henry's wives attempts to survive an unpredictable king and his power-hungry court. Fiery Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery. Jane Seymour rises from bullied court maiden to beloved queen, only to die after giving birth. Catherine Howard's old lovers resurface and whisper vicious rumors to Henry's influential advisors. Authors include M.T. Anderson, Linda Sue Park, Jennifer Donnelly, and others. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Historical fiction, Tudor monarchs.
The Smoke Thieves (Sally Green)
The Smoke Thieves, book 1. A new series from the author of the Half Bad trilogy. In a land tinged with magic and a bustling trade in an illicit supernatural substance, destiny will intertwine the fates of five players: A visionary princess determined to forge her own path. An idealistic solider whose heart is at odds with his duty. A streetwise hunter tracking the most dangerous prey. A charming thief with a powerful hidden identity. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his kingdom. All are driven by ambition, honor, and desperation on the cusp of war. But who will be left standing when the smoke clears? Recommended for Grades 9-12. Fantasy.
Blink (Sasha Dawn)
Sixteen-year-old Josh falls in love with newcomer Chatham Claiborne, who has come to town to find her missing sister, but when Chatham suddenly disappears Josh unearths a web of lies and secrecy surrounding her life, and in doing so unwittingly discovers vital clues to the town's longest unsolved mystery. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Mystery, missing children.
Deep Dark Blue: A Memoir of Survival (Polo Tate)
Since she was 11, Polo Tate longed to be in the Air Force. It was an unpopular dream for most young girls, but her hard work paid off and at age eighteen, Polo started basic training at the United States Air Force Academy. She does everything right, from academics to athletics. But no one prepared her for what came next: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of her superiors. Harassment from peers who refused to believe her story. Memoir, sexual abuse.
The Lies They Tell (Gillian French)
Six months ago in Tenney's Harbor, an unexplained fire killed four of the five Garrison family members. All fingers point at Pearl Haskins' father, who was the caretaker of the property, but Pearl just doesn't believe it. With her father disgraced and unemployed, Pearl's future doesn't hold much more than waiting tables at the local country club. This year, Tristan, the last surviving Garrison, and his group of affluent and arrogant friends have made a point of sitting in Pearl's section. Befriending the boys could mean getting closer to the truth, clearing her father's name, and giving Tristan the closure he seems to be searching for. Recommended for Grades 9+. Mystery.
Brightly Burning (Alexa Donne)
Debut author! Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship. On the Rochester, there's no water ration, more books than one person could devour in a lifetime, and an AI who seems more friend than robot. But no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet. Space opera, retelling of Jane Eyre.
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now (Dana L. Davis)
Debut author! For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known. Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, African Americans, step-families.


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Bob (Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead)
Five years ago, Livy and her family visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Five years ago, Livy made a promise that she has now forgotten. But Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who—or what—he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise. Multiple starred reviews. Illustrated. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Fantasy, friendship, Australia, grandparents.
Across the Dark Water (Jennifer Lynn Alvarez)
Riders of the Realm, book 1. Deep in the jungles of the Realm, the Sandwen clan live amongst deadly spit dragons and hordes of warring giants. But with their winged battle horses, they manage to keep their people safe. Twelve-year-old Rahkki is a stable groom for the Riders in the Sandwen army, taking care of his brother's winged stallion. The Sandwens believe they have tamed all the wild pegasi in their land, and turned them into flying warhorses. But when a herd of wild steeds flies over their village, Rahkki and his clanmates are stunned. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Fantasy, adventure, animals.
Out of Left Field (Ellen Klages)
Set in 1957. Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she's a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it's a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy's game and always has been. It's not fair, and Katy's going to fight back. Inspired by what she's learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she's not the only girl who plays baseball. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Multiple starred reviews. Historical fiction, gender roles, civil rights, baseball.
The Magical Mix-Up (Zach King)
Long homeschooled, Zach's finally comfortable at public school. Even though he's missing his magical powers, he's got a best friend, a super-popular YouTube channel, and a crush on Rachel, the prettiest girl in school. Zach is confident enough to muster up the courage to ask Rachel to the big school dance. Just as he's just about to do it, Hogan, the new kid from Australia, shows up and steals his thunder. But when Zach learns that Hogan is just using the dance as a way to embarrass Rachel and ruin her chances of becoming class president, Zach knows he has to stop him somehow. Illustrated novel, along the lines of Wimpy Kid. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Fantasy, middle school.
The Last (Katherine Applegate)
Endling, book 1. Byx is the youngest member of her dairne pack. Believed to possess remarkable abilities, her mythical doglike species has been hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra. After her pack is hunted down and killed, Byx fears she may be the last of her species. The Endling. So Byx sets out to find safe haven, and to see if the legends of other hidden dairnes are true. Illustrated. Recommended for Grades 4-8. Multiple starred reviews. Fantasy, adventure.
Positively Izzy (Terri Libenson)
Our 5th and 6th grade girls are insatiable for Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer Holm, so I'll need multiple copies of this one! Middle school is all about labels. Izzy is the dreamer. There's nothing Izzy loves more than acting in skits and making up funny stories. The downside? She can never quite focus enough to get her schoolwork done. Bri is the brain. But she wants people to see there's more to her than just a report card full of As. At the same time, she wishes her mom would accept her the way she is and stop bugging her to "break out of her shell" and join drama club. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Graphic novel, school stories.
All Summer Long (Hope Larsen)
Another graphic novel that will fly off my library shelves! Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together,but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it's up Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first, it's a lot of boredom, bad TV and guitar practice. Things look up when Bina finds an un-likely companion in Austin's older sister, Charlie -- they like the same music, and Charlie actually seems to think Bina is cool. But then Austin comes home fromcamp acting weirder then when he left. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Kirkus starred. Graphic novel, summertime, friendship.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Stacy McAnulty)
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school! Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, bullying, depression.
Evangeline of the Bayou (Jan Eldredge, Joseph Kuefler)
Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants. With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors. But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots. Illustrated. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Fantasy, New Orleans.
The Length of a String (Elissa Brent Weissman)
Twelve-year-old Imani, the only black girl in Hebrew school, is preparing for her bat mitzvah and hoping to find her birth parents when she discovers the history of adoption in her own family through her great-grandma Anna's Holocaust-era diary. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Diaries, Holocaust, Jewish people.


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

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