New YA: February 1-7.
The Ruining, by Anna Collomore:
Until today, the movies Shutter and House of the Devil were the only others that had reached the I’m-so-scared-I-might-actually-throw-up heights of Session 9, but now, Anna Collomore’s The Ruining has become the first book to enter those most hallowed ranks.
Hysteria, by Megan Miranda
The Twelve-Fingered Boy, by John Hornor Jacobs
Unbroken: A Ruined Novel, by Paula Morris:
Rebecca is the sort of unfortunate heroine who could save herself a lot of trouble if she would either: stop dithering about whether or not to ask people (her father, her best friend) for help, and/or interrupting people when they are trying to give her vital information. While both of those things get old (in this book specifically, but also in general), neither are entirely outside of the realm of believability... EXCEPT for one specific situation, which was so ridiculous that I felt the need to set the book down and get all ranty to Josh for a few minutes*. Character-wise, I would totally support chucking Rebecca and Anton (who for the most part is super milquetoast and kind of a jerk) under the bus and giving Best Friend Ling and New Dude Phil their own series, because they were TOTALLY AWESOME and easily my favorite thing about the book.
Unravel Me (Shatter Me), by Tahereh Mafi
The Whole Stupid Way We Are, by N. Griffin
The Kiss (Witch & Wizard), by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski
The Ballad of Jessie Pearl, by Shannon Hitchcock
City of a Thousand Dolls, by Miriam Forster
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School), by Gail Carriger:
Clever and funny and fast-paced, with chapter headings like The Teaching Habits of Werewolves and How Not to Flirt, and character names like Mrs. Barnaclegoose and Pillover Plumleigh-Teignmott. In addition to the General Air of Fun, there are threads that deal with social and economic class. While it deals with issues surrounding differences of all sorts, Sophronia herself has a nicely blase attitude of inclusiveness in re: characters who are different from her in terms of ethnicity, social class, species, etc.
Homeland, by Cory Doctorow
The Lying Game #5: Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, by Sara Shepard
Me & My Invisible Guy, by Sarah Jeffrey
Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick:
I GUARANTEE that some readers are going to want to throw it at the wall. (Perhaps you have already done so?) But something about it resonated with me. It's not just that I'm impressed by the structure—I am—or that I love Sedgwick's writing and skillful atmosphere creation—I do—or that I was blown away by how each segment was so different, but how (even discounting the physical details: the names, the flowers, the hare) each one was also so clearly part of a larger whole.
Perfect Scoundrels, by Ally Carter
Pieces, by Chris Lynch
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles), by Marissa Meyer:
It has all of the first book's strengths—plucky heroine, really cool worldbuilding INCLUDING a setting centered OUTSIDE of the United States (WOO!), political intrigue and threads about cultural and economic and physical differences and YES, ROMANCE—and, like Cinder, in Scarlet, Meyer takes a familiar story and makes it fresh and new and compelling and surprising.
Who Done It?, edited by Jon Scieszka:
I appreciated the idea of the project more than the actual result. Who Done It? is a compilation of pieces by, like, 3/4a of the Who's-Who of the kidlit and YA world, edited by Jon Scieszka, and benefiting 826NYC. Which SOUNDS awesome: great people writing, awesome guy editing, super-deserving beneficiary.
New paperbacks (that I've written about and/or read):
Pantomime, by Laura Lam:
Micah's narrative voice is super—a little bit overly fond of the word 'exotic', maybe—honest, sensitive, insightful, brave, observant, and curious. Much of this story is about control and identity and acceptance—about the desire to make one's own choices, about the search to discover who (and even what) you are, about finding people who don't want to squash you into a box, people who love you as you are—and all of those threads are likely to resonate strongly with the YA audience.
Beneath a Meth Moon, by Jacqueline Woodson: I never wrote about this one, but if you're familiar with Jacqueline Woodson's writing, you'll know what to expect: it's spare, careful, lyrical. And, you know, it's about meth. WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH THE MOST DEPRESSING THING EVER.