NYMBC's blog

"Mike doesn't have any time to scream before she thrusts her hands into his chest, tearing through skin and muscle. She pushs her arms out to the sides, like she's forcing her way through a closing door, and Mike Andover is torn in half."

Gives me chills just picturing it! The first installment of this bloodstained ghost tale is sure to keep you turning the pages, even when you really think you don't want to. Kendare Blake has written scenes so vivid, its like you are actually there watching her float along her victorian house in her torn dress dripping with blood along the floor.

You can't resist our hero, Cas Lowood. He's your average teenage boy... if average was being a professional at slashing ghosts with a wicked obsidian blade. His job? To go where no one else would dare, to kill those who should already be dead and passed but to refuse to leave, and take innocent lives while haunting.

This book truly has it all: Sarcastic humor, forbidden romance, and bloody good scares that will be sure to keep you up at night. I loved every second of it, and hope you will as well. Ages 14+
 
--Reviewed by Courtney from Books Inc. Burlingame
A teenage girl who is sent away to boarding school after the death of her father chronicles her junior year in a leather-bound journal. She is obsessed with her roommate Lucy, who is in turn obsessed with Ernessa, the new girl across the hall. It quickly becomes apparent that there is something very odd about Ernessa, and Lucy begins to behave strangely as well, and then falls mysteriously ill. Our nameless narrator soon comes to believe that Ernessa is a vampire, which is never conclusively proven nor mis-proven. Is she? Or is it the fevered adolescent imaginings of the narrator?

For the vampire aficionado who is looking for something a more substantial than Twilight, ages 13+.

 --Lori From Books Inc. Palo Alto

 

 

On the small island of Thisby, each year in November they hosts The Scorpio Races. Men from the island ride capaill uisce, carnivorous horses that come from the sea. These horses are vicious, fast and almost impossible to control.  It isn’t unusual for men to be attacked, killed and eaten during training. Due to bad family fortune, this year’s race will see its first female rider Puck Connolly . Sean Kendrick is the returning champion, and one of the few trainers who has some control over the capill uisce. Neither one is prepared for the friendship that comes during training, too bad only one of them can win the race. 

Having never read one of Stefvater's books, I was pleasantly surprised with how great this was. I was hooked in by the characters and the capaill uisce. Told in alternating voices between Puck and Sean, you get insight into what motivates both characters to participate in a potentially deadly race. The way this story is written you really feel like you can take a boat to Thisby and watch these gory races; this is magic realism at its best. Another high point for me is the friendship between Sean and Puck. It is clear that there is a mutual love interest brewing but it has its foundation in a strong friendship.  Don’t be fooled by the cover, this book is accessible to both guys and girls.

 --Shani 

 

For those of you who grew up reading the Theodosia or Nathaniel Fludd Series, it's no surprise that Robin LaFevers can write an amazing story. But say, by some mistake, you didn't read Theodosia. (Go ahead and do so now, we'll wait.) Then this debut YOUNG ADULT novel from Robin's gonna blow your mind.

You know, scratch that. Even if you DID grow up read Theodosia and Nathaniel Fludd, your mind's STILL gonna be blown. Why? Because Grave Mercy (book one of the His Fair Assassin trilogy) has all the crossbow weilding, dagger throwing, political skulduggery and murderous nuns (that's right, you heard me) you can handle. Fans of Kristin Cashore (Graceling, Fire), rejoice-- Grave Mercy is just the book to tide you over until Bitterblue comes out in May! 

Set in medieval Brittany, Grave Mercy features Ismae, a girl who escapes a brutal arranged marriage by joining a convent of assassins. And while tough female leads who kill dudes are a dime a dozen these days in YA (not that we're complaining-- bring on all the tough chicks!)Ismae sets herself apart with likeable vulnerability and fondness toward other characters. Her sense of empathy is not dulled by the fact that she has been thrust into an impossible situation, which serves as a brilliant counterpoint to the amount of killing she does.

So if you feel like reading something that's so fun it'll kill you (literally) pick up Grave Mercy. You're welcome.

 

Local author and upcoming NYMBC guest Nina LaCour's newest (and aptly titled) The Disenchantments is cool. The characters are cool, the settings are cool, the subject matter is cool. Even the VW bus is cool, in a retro, we-don't-have-any-of-our-own-money-so-we-borrowed-this-bad*ss-old car kinda way. I almost peed myself from the coolness lent to the story by a graffiti artist the protagonist befriends. 

But I don't just love this book because it's cool. Or because it's about a bunch of kids from San Francisco. Nor do I love it because it takes place along that long drive from San Francisco to Oregon (with a brief foray into Washington), which is a drive I've taken at least 5 times now. I don't just love it because the writing is crisp, and lovely, and simple and evocative. But those are all parts of it.

I love it because it perfectly emulates the sensation of being done with high school, and realizing that, oh sh*t, this is when real life is supposed to start. And it illuminates this feeling perfectly, honestly, with touches of humor and with elegant prose. I haven't read a book this evocative of a particular moment in my own life since I read Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid (which, if you haven't read, then you should, as it perfectly embodies what it feels like to be in your early twenties, a little pissed and a lot realizing that first person perspective is inherantly a little lonely.) 

(By the way, if you're wondering about all the * in the swear words, I know, it's lame. But this also isn't my personal website, so professionalism, yo, it is a must.)

(Also, if you're annoyed about all the parenthetical asides, sorry. There's no excuse for that.)

Nina relies on no stereotypes, no tropes and no shortcuts in this coming of age story. She creates real, honest, pissed, confused, hopeful, loving teenagers. So if you know any of those, or are (were) one yourself, then pick up The Disenchantments. It's just for you.

--Maggie

 
Meet author Caitlin Kittredge at our FAB Berkeley event next week!
 

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