Tuesday, September 25, 2018

New Book Releases for Kids & Teens: September 25, 2018

Is it fall yet? Next week is our fall break, but it's still pretty warm here in Shanghai. We've has cooled off a little in the past few days, but we are still in the low 80s and as always, quite humid! Eventually, it will get cold here--close to freezing even--but it may be November before it gets cold enough to wear a jacket. I remember riding the metro last November wearing a skirt and t-shirt and still being hot.

This last week of September keeps with this month's theme of tons of new releases. My TBR has grown quite tall in the past few weeks, and I will be bringing some of the new books home to read over our break. Don't miss three new graphic novels this week, a Frankenstein retelling from Kiersten White, and--ooh yeah--some otherworldly short stories with art from Shaun Tan!What are the newest books for teens and kids in 2018?

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A Winter's Promise (Christelle Dobos, trans. by Hildegarde Serle)
Debut author! Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what's more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Trans. from French. Recommended for Grades 9-12. SLJ and Publishers Weekly starred. Fantasy.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Kiersten White)
I never met a Kiersten White book I didn't love, so I'll be reading this for sure. Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets...until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend. Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Publishers Weekly starred. Thriller, retelling.
The Great Escape (Neal Bascomb)
At the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners--and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war. Recommended for Grades 7-11. Multiple starred reviews. Narrative nonfiction, WWI, prisoners of war.
A Blade So Black (L.L. McKinney)
Debut author! The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew. Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Booklist starred. Retelling (Alice in Wonderland), fantasy.
Tales from the Inner City (Shaun Tan)
Collection of 25 illustrated poems and stories. As always with Shaun Tan, strange, bewildering, and dreamlike. Recommended for Grade 7-12. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred. Short stories, art, fantasy, magical realism.
Black Wings Beating (Alex London)
The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists. Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe. Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Booklist starred. Fantasy, LGBTQIA.
For a Muse of Fire (Heidi Heilig)
Jetta's family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick--a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But ever since the colonizing army conquered their country, the old ways are forbidden, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family's way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad Emperor has a spring that cures his ills--and could cure Jetta's, too. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues her. Recommended for Grades 9-12. SLJ starred. Fantasy, mental illness.
The War Outside (Monica Hesse)
It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Multiple starred reviews. Historical fiction, WWII, Texas.
Give the Dark My Love (Beth Revis)
Seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy with only one goal in mind: master the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn't quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen. Until she meets Greggori "Grey" Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that's for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the north, and it's making its way toward the cities. Recommended for Grades 7+. Fantasy.
Rabbit & Robot (Andrew Smith)
Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they'll be stranded alone in space forever. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Booklist and Publishers Weekly starred. Science Fiction, space opera.
The Agony House (Cherie Priest)
Seventeen-year-old Denise Farber, her mom, and her stepfather are moving back to New Orleans, into the Argonne house, which is over 100 years old, and really showing its age, but which her mother plans to turn into a bed-and-breakfast--but old houses have histories, and sometimes ghosts, and a mysterious old comic book that Denise finds in the attic may hold the answer to a crime and the terrifying things that keep happening in what she thinks of as the "Agony" house. Recommended for Grade 7-10. Booklist starred. Mystery, haunted houses, ghosts, graphic novel.
Witch Born (Nicholas Bowling)
Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch's mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she's been sealed off from -- a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she'll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother's past. Recommended for Grades 6-10. Fantasy.
Grand Theft Horse (G. Neri, Corban Wilkin)
Gail Ruffu was once a respected racehorse trainer known for her unconventional training methods. Then she became part owner of the Thoroughbred called Urgent Envoy, and everything changed. Her co-owners pushed her to speed up Urgent Envoy's training and eventually made her race him too early, until he developed a shin fracture. One more race would kill him. But nobody heeded her warning. Gail had to act. So on Christmas Eve, Gail stole her own horse. A modern-day outlaw, she lived out of her truck in order to move the horse to safe havens. Recommended for Grades 7+. Booklist and SLJ starred. Graphic novel, animal rights, realistic fiction.
500 Words or Less (Juleah del Rosario)
Nic Chen refuses to spend her senior year branded as the girl who cheated on her charismatic and lovable boyfriend. To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League-obsessed classmates, Nic begins writing their college admissions essays. But the more essays Nic writes for other people, the less sure she becomes of herself, the kind of person she is, and whether her moral compass even points north anymore. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Free verse, realistic fiction.



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The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (M.T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin)
Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom. Includes mixed-media illustrations. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Multiple starred reviews. Fantasy.
The Backstagers and the Ghost Light (Andy Mientus, Rian Sygh)
The stage crew at St. Genesius Prep--or Backstagers, as they like to call themselves--are ready for whatever the theater world can throw their way: the madness of tech week, inevitable prop malfunctions, and all the paranormal activity that goes on behind the scenes. Luckily Jory, Hunter, Sasha, Beckett, and Aziz are up for the job! But lately, someone--or something--seems set on ruining their production of Phantasm. It all started when an actor brought a Spirit Board to the cast party, and the ghost light blew out. Every good theater kid knows that a ghost light must be left on to keep ghosts from moving in the shadows of an empty theater. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Graphic novel, theater, LGBTQIA.
The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare (Zillah Bethell)
Originally published in the UK in 2017. Auden Dare is colorblind and lives in a world where water is scarce and families must live on a weekly, allocated supply. When Auden's uncle, the scientist Dr. Bloom, suddenly dies, he leaves a note to Auden and to his classmate Vivi Rookmini. Together, the notes lead them to Paragon--a robot. As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon try to uncover Paragon's purpose and put together the clues Dr. Bloom left behind, they find out that Dr. Bloom's death was anything but innocent, that powerful people are searching for Paragon--and that it's up to Auden and Vivi to stop them. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Science fiction, mystery.
Small Spaces (Katherine Arden)
When eleven-year-old Ollie lost her mother in a plane crash, she sought solace in her books. So when she stumbles upon a distraught woman standing on the banks of the river intent on throwing a book into the water, Ollie stops her, steals the book and rides away on her bike. Upon reading, Ollie discovers a chilling ghost story about a girl, Elizabeth Morrison, who is being chased through cornfields filled with scarecrows by two brothers with deadly intent. When she finds the graves of Elizabeth Morrison and her tormentors, Jonathan and Caleb, on a farm during a school trip, on a day already full of odd occurrences, Ollie starts to think this book is more than just a book. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Booklist and Kirkus starred. Horror, adventure, paranormal.
Thoreau at Walden (John Porcellino)
I read Walden many years and have been thinking about reading it again now that I've gotten into minimalism. This is a graphic novel interpretation of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, featuring the actual words from the text in which Thoreau describes his experiment in simple living. I've found no professional reviews of this title.


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Imagine (Juan Felipe Herrera)
When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. Publishers Weekly starred.
Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (Anna Harwell Celenza, Don Tate)
Ellington's band memebers were not so sure that a classical ballet could become a cool-cat jazz number. But Duke and Billy, inspired by their travels and by musical styles past and present, infused the composition with Vegas glitz, Hollywood glamour, and even a little New York jazz. CD recording of the Ellington/Strayhorn composition included.
Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone (Janet Fox, Marlo Garnsworthy)
Leads readers on a tour of Yellowstone National Park, from the wolves, elk, bears, and mountain goats that live there today to the supervolcano that exploded thousands of years ago.

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

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