Yurtscope: ALA 2012 discoveries

ALA – it’s a smorgasbord of librarians, publishers, authors, and book lovers, of panels, signings and giveaways, not for the faint of heart, feet, or shoulder muscles – basically a weekend of pure book bliss. I had a ridiculously marvelous time exploring in the world of books this past weekend, and here’s a peek at some of the titles I gleefully discovered there:

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Balzar & Bray, August 28, 2012

The dystopian glut has left me rather leery of dystopians in general, but once I heard this story had a Mary Shelley air, I was downright beguiled. Who can resist a Frankenstein tale set in India?

Book Jacket:

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Scholastic, August 28, 2012

Billed as a YA Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this story also has a strong Bourne Identity flavor to it – a fun, crisp, pacey thriller.

Book Jacket:

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Random House, September 11, 2012

An epic journey, a rebellion, a fresh take on the fey – what’s not to like?

Book Jacket:

Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.

But for Neryn, Shadowfell’s existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone – and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.

Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

This first novel in a new trilogy from enchanting fantasy author Juliet Marillier is a captivating tale of peril, courage, romance, and survival.

Sophia’s War by Avi

Simon & Schuster, September 25, 2012

It’s by Avi, and it’s a Revolutionary War spy story. In short, it looks fantastic.

Book Jacket:

Lives hang in the balance in this gripping Revolutionary War adventure from a beloved Newbery medalist.In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.

Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this riveting novel that is rich in historical detail and rife with action. 

Darkwater (Hall, in the UK) by Catherine Fisher

Dial Books, September 27, 2012

A fantasy/horror blend with Gothic flare, from Catherine Fisher no less – needless to say, I’m in.

Book Jacket:

What would you sell your soul for?

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Trevelyan would give anything to regain the power and wealth her family has lost, so she makes a bargain with Azrael, Lord of Darkwater Hall. He gives her one hundred years and the means to accomplish her objective–in exchange for her soul. Fast-forward a hundred years to Tom, a fifteen-year-old boy who dreams of attending Darkwater Hall School but doesn’t believe he has the talent. Until he meets a professor named Azrael, who offers him a bargain. Will Sarah be able to stop Tom from making the same mistake she did a century ago?

This is smart fantasy mixed with elements of horror from master storyteller Catherine Fisher. She says, “Darkwater Hall is an image of the power and knowledge we all desire. But what will we pay for them, and are they worth the price?

The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons by Barbara Mariconda

Harper Collins, October 2, 2012

A middle grade fantasy adventure with a house that magically turns into a ship? Yes, please.

Book Jacket:

N/A (yet).

And there you have it – just a few of the many delicious books that await us in the near future. And I’d like to send a big thank you to all of the lovely editors, publicists and authors who took the time to chat with me in Anaheim – book people are, without a doubt, the very best. Until next time!