YurtScope: BEA 2011 discoveries

Who doesn’t love finding new titles to covet? BEA was an embarrasement of riches all around, but one of my absolute favorite things about wandering the expo floor was discovering titles and authors I had never heard of before to add to my ever growing list of must reads. Here are the fruits of my wanderings, the books I was delighted to stumble upon in the wilds of the Javits convention center:

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsberg

Release Date: 10/25/11

Brilliant authors writing stories based on gorgeous illustrations by none other than the man who brought us Jumanji and The Polar Express – I’m downright salivating at the very idea of this book. Holy smokes I can’t wait to read it!

Book Jacket:

One Pulitzer Prize, five Newbery Medals, three Newbery Honors, two Caldecott Medals, one Caldecott Honor, three National Book Awards, seven National Book Award nominations, and five Coretta Scott King Awards. This is only a partial list of all accolades earn by the contributors of this book.

This inspired collection of short stories is based on the original illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg in his esteemed and mysteriousThe Mysteries of Harris Burdick, originally published in 1984, and features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children’s literature: Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.

Van Allsburg’s Harris Burdick illustrations have evoked such wonderment and imagination sinceHarris Burdick’soriginal publication in 1984; many have speculated or have woven their own stories to go with his images. More than ever, the illustrations send off their eerie call for text and continue to compel and pick at the reader’s brain for a backstory—a threaded tale behind the image. In this book, we’ve collected some of the best storytellers to spin them.

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

Release Date: 10/3/11

I hear this book takes us on a tour of the historic immigrant neighborhoods of New York City, only in this story each culture has a magic of their own (which the author based on each culture’s myths and legends). History, magic, and a quintessential American tale – I’m seriously crushing on this book.

Book Jacket:

Being an Inquisitor is no job for a nice Jewish boy. But when the police learn that Sacha Kessler can see witches, he’s apprenticed to the department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. Their mission is to stop magical crime. And New York at the beginning of the twentieth century is full of crime, with magical gangs ruling the streets from Hell’s Kitchen to Chinatown.

Soon Sacha has teamed up with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, daughter of one of the city’s richest Wall Street Wizards—and a spoiled snob, if you ask Sacha. Their first case is to find out who’s trying to kill Thomas Edison.

Edison has invented a mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history. Every magician in town has a motive to kill him. But as the investigation unfolds, all the clues lead back to the Lower East Side. And Sacha soon realizes that his own family could be accused of murder!

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Release Date: 9/13/11

Oh, this looks like fun. Despite the fact that I’m a little OD’d on dystopian YA, having been disappointed one too many times, this one has me raising my head like a pointer who just caught the scent of a fox. I like…

Book Jacket:

It could happen tomorrow…

A cataclysmic event. An army of “The Changed.”
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human…

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom—a young army veteran—and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

“Gripped me from the beginning to end—-dark, creepy and suspenseful. I loved it” – James Dashner

“A haunting and epic story of survival in a shattered world. ASHES is a must read.” – Michael Grant

Frost by Marianna Baer

I’m such a sucker for this type of story – any kind of Book/TV show/movie that raises the question of what’s real and what’s in our heads instantly has my regard. It’s also nice to see a YA paranormal daring to be a little different.

Book Jacket:

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate — confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. FROST is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological…well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Release Date: 11/1/11

Oh, how I love period flavor – and who can resist a book that looks like such a fun mash up of classic tales? And I have to say, I am seriously digging this Victorian New York thing that seems to be going around. Color me intrigued.

Book Jacket:

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart’s latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing…

Jonathan Denbury’s soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

And there you have it – five titles I will be pouncing on at the first opportunity. Thank you, BEA!