NYMBC's blog

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Candlewick
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tales

In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.
Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar's army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg -- a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age. When the two girls' lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and -- in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured -- Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.

With great gusto and enthusiasm, Maguire spins his literary magic on this whimsy of a fairy tale. Set in Tsarist Russia, in the poverty-stricken village of Miersk. Thirteen-year-old Elena Rudina works hard to take care of her ill mother with no food or medicine, and with one brother working abroad and the other conscripted into the army. Ultimately, Elena convinces herself to travel to St. Petersburg to ask the Tsar for help. Meanwhile, Mademoiselle Ekaterina de Robichaux (Cat for short) is traveling with her governess to be presented at the Tsar's ball (also in St. Petersburg). As fate would have it, the train is derailed in a nearby abandoned village. It is there that Cat and Elena meet. The two girls immediately notice that they have similar facial and body features. When the train takes off unexpectedly, Elena is trapped aboard and Cat is sent tumbling out the door and into the path of the folkloric figure Baba Yaga--a hilariously sarcastic child-eating, metal-toothed crone who dwells in a hut carried along on a pair of chicken legs. Baba Yaga forewarns of the disasterous consequences that would come should the natural order not be restored to it's former glory. Cat and Baba Yaga head to St. Petersburg (and Elena) to alert the Tsar. All three characters must band together to restore the world's order and magic. Maguire manages to knit together a tale that incorporates the elememental foundations of known tales such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Twain's The Prince and the Pauper. This book is a worthwhile adventure that people of all ages will enjoy. 
Carla from Books Inc. Airport T3

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Ember
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.

This book--this book!! I cannot even begin to properly describe my love for this book.

All her life Kami has had a voice in her head - she calls it her imaginary friend. It's normal for her, comforting even. Then one day, a boy moves in to town and this boy has a special voice, a familiar voice. Yes, he is the voice inside Kami's head. But how did this link become forged? Why?

The book is choc-full of sorcery, romance, hilarity, life-and-death situations - in short, it's near perfect. Brennan's dialogue is quick and easy and rings true. It's a fantastic summer read for teens who want something fun with a dash of supernatural and a pinch (ok maybe a few pinches) of romance. And make sure you're on the look out for Untold - the follow-up to Unspoken. And if you enjoyed this one, check out Brennan's other series The Demon's Lexicon. Just as fun!!
Katherine from Books Inc. Laurel Village

Looks like new releases are slowing down, but that doesn't make them any less AWESOME!


What will you be picking up this week?

The Prey by Tom Isbell
Publication date: January 20th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page count: 416 pages

The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. Orphaned teens, soon to be hunted for sport, must flee their resettlement camps in their fight for survival and a better life. For in the Republic of the True America, it's always hunting season. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At one such camp, the sixteen-year-old "LTs" are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: "LTs" doesn't stand for lieutenant but for Less Thans, feared by society and raised to be hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with the Sisters, twin girls who've suffered their own haunting fate. Together they seek the fabled New Territory, with sadistic hunters hot on their trail. Secrets are revealed, allegiances are made, and lives are at stake. As unlikely Book and fearless Hope lead their quest for freedom, these teens must find the best in themselves to fight the worst in their enemies.

Why we can't wait: I've been looking forward to a new, awesome, dystopian trilogy and I think this will be it. The Prey sounds like weird, YA take on that short story, The Most Dangerous Game which has always been one of my favorites. Hunting kids for sport?! Yeah, I'm in!
Anna from Books Inc. Palo Alto

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Disney Press
Page Count: 243 pages

"What if who you are on the outside doesn't match who you are on the inside? "
Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: "he" is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender's body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson's true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher's wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit?
Debut author Ami Polonsky's moving, beautifully-written novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

What we think: I am love, love, LOVING this book. Grayson is the kind of character you just want to be friends with. She's kind-hearted, but slightly damaged and her secret is killing her. I also love that this is a novel about a transgender middle school kid rather than a teen. This whole thing is fabulous. Just read it.
Anna from Books Inc. Palo Alto

 

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Action/Adventure

"730. That's how many days I've been trapped.""18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out."
DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....
JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....
MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....
In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

Jin, Dai, and Mei Lee are three teenagers trapped in Hak Nam, a walled slum of greasy brothels, desperate poverty, feral gangs, and the bloodthirsty Brotherhood governing all. Mei Lee is a prostitute desperate to escape. Jin is a street urchin looking for a sister sold into slavery. Dai is a disgraced son left in the city to reclaim his own honor, with a set number of days before the doors to the outside world are shut forever. Walled City has a cool film-noir in Shanghai feel, and I personally appreciated having three well-rounded, diverse protagonists. Perfect for fans of action, adventure, and characters with fresh and engaging story-lines.
Marie from Books Inc. Chestnut St.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Page Count: 384 pages

Paolo Bacigalupi, "New York Times"-Bestselling author and National Book Award Finalist, dives once again onto our uncertain future with his first thriller for adults since his multi-award winning debut phenomenon "The Windup Girl."
In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg-breaker, assassin and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel "cuts" water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet, while the poor get nothing but dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with no love for Vegas and every reason to hate Angel, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything that she represents. With bodies piling up, bullets flying, and Phoenix teetering on collapse, it seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of a river. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other's hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

What we think: I know this isn't YA, but Paolo Bacigalupi is an AMAZING author and The Water Knife is no excpetion. I'll read anything he writes, knowing I'll love it before I even open the book. The Water Knife is adventurous, exciting, and fast-paced. Plus it's eerily close to a reality we could be living if this drought keeps up. If you're as big a fan of Paolo as I am, you don't want to miss out on this one!!
Anna from Books Inc. Palo Alto

 

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