Thursday, March 5, 2015

Review: Heartside Bay 1 & 2 by Cathy Cole

The New Girl by Cathy Cole (February 2014, Scholastic, ISBN: 1407140469);
The Trouble With Love by Cathy Cole (February 2014, Scholastic, ISBN: 1407140477)

The New Girl is the first book in the (currently) twelve-book Heartside Bay series. Heartside Bay is a small sea-side town full of romance and fifteen-year-old Lila and her family have moved there from London as Lila has been in trouble and the family want a fresh start.

Staring a new school is daunting but Lila is soon befriended by Polly and catches the eye of football-star Ollie. On the other hand she soon makes an enemy of Eve, the richest and nastiest girl in the school who has always wanted to date Ollie.

The New Girl follows the interactions between the three plus a fourth – Rhi an old friend/ex-friend of Lila's from her past.

In The Trouble With Love, the second book in the series, the point of view changes from Lila to Polly. Polly is a transplanted American who struggles with anxiety issues and has a crush on Ollie. In this book she meets a new boy and her absent father enters her life with an amazing offer. Polly has some decisions to make.

This is a lovely clean-teen series which is a British version of the high school dramas we see on the tv a lot. The books are quick reads and the point of view rotates between the main members of the group. And it's set in an idyllic sea-side town, what's not to like?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Publishing Deal - Veronica Roth

Very exciting news today - HarperCollins have signed two books by Veronica Roth. Scant details so far but here's what the Bookseller knows:
HarperCollins has acquired two new titles by bestselling YA author Veronica Roth.

Katherine Tegen, vice president and publisher of her eponymous imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books in the US, acquired the world English rights from Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary. In the UK, the books will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books UK.

The first book is yet untitled and will be published in 2017. It tells the story of a boy who forms an unlikely alliance with an enemy, and how they help each other attain what they most desire. The sequel will follow in 2018.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass (June 2012, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, ISBN: 0007466692)

The Selection is the first book in the series and is set in a dystopian America now called Illea. Society is now structured into castes with One being the Royal Family and Eight being the lowest worker. America Singer is a Five and is in love with Aspen, a Six.

It is tradition for the princes of the Royal Family to choose a bride via the Selection process – where one girl from each of the 35 provinces is sent to the palace and the numbers decrease until the Prince finds his mate.

At the beginning of the book, the letters have gone out to all young women eligible for the Selection which includes America. She does not want to enter as she is in love with Aspen and wants to marry him despite it being a downgrade in status. He, however, persuades her to enter anyway and when they break-up due to his pride she is grateful for the opportunity to get away when she is chosen for the Selection.

Prince Maxon is the young man looking for a bride and is not as stuffy and as arrogant as America fears and indeed they strike up a friendship. America makes it clear she has no feelings for him however she cannot control his...

As the Selection process progresses America gets to learn more about the state of the country and experiences two Rebel advances on the palace. And when an old acquaintance joins the palace staff, she becomes confused about why she is at the palace and what she should do about her growing feelings for Maxon.

The Selection wasn't what I was expecting – I was worried about it being all catty and nasty with all those girls competing, however there is only one spiteful girl with the rest bonding together – as even the girls who don't get chosen get a permanent increase in caste and other benefits. In fact not a great deal happens in The Selection, it very much sets the scene for the next books, and I hope these contain plot threads about the state of the country and how Illea can be improved, in addition to America's love life. Nonetheless it was an enjoyable read and there is a lot of potential for a more dramatic continuation of the series.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 longlist

The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 longlist was announced this week.

From the press release:
The books longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal are:

My Brother's Shadow by Tom Avery (Andersen Press)

Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler (Little Brown, Young Readers)

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

The Company of Ghosts by Berlie Doherty (Andersen Press)

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)

Tinder by Sally Gardner (author) and David Roberts (illustrator) (Orion Children's Books)

Monkey and Me by David Gilman (Templar)

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children's Books)

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan Children's Books)

Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman (Walker Books)

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Books)

Hello Darkness by Anthony McGowan (Walker Books)

More Than This by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls (Marion Lloyd Books)

Trouble by Non Pratt (Walker Books)

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (Penguin Books)

Smart: a Mysterious Crime, a Different Detective by Kim Slater (Macmillan Children's Books)

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Electric Monkey)

The shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 will be announced on Tuesday 17th March, with the winner being announced on Monday 22nd June at a special event at the British Library.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Publishing Deal - Jennifer Donnelly

This sounds fab!

From The Bookseller:
Hot Key Books has acquired a new standalone fiction title from Carnegie Medal winning author Jennifer Donnelly in a six-figure pre-empt deal.

Junior editor at Hot Key Books, Naomi Colthurst, struck a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights to These Shallow Graves [] These Shallow Graves is described as “a return to the style of A Gathering Light, with a thrilling plot that is part murder mystery and part historical romance”.

The book centres on Josephine Montfort, a girl from one of New York’s oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Jo’s future looks set for marriage she has other dreams and desires that make her long for a more meaningful and exciting life as an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly. However, when her father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than she would wish.

Colthurst said: “These Shallow Graves is everything a historical novel for young adults should be – Jennifer deftly illustrates an exciting and dangerous time for New York whilst keeping her characters and story wonderfully vivid and completely relatable for a modern audience. Jo is a fantastic heroine who I know will inspire a whole new generation of Jennifer’s readers to be brave and question the status quo, in just the same way Mattie from A Gathering Light inspired me.”

Hot Key will publish These Shallow Graves simultaneously in hardback with Delacorte in the US in October 2015.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Free ebook: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Kiera Cass's The Selection is currently* free on UK Kindle and Kobo.

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.


*Update 21.1.15: Not free any more.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Instances of Prufrock

T S Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", commonly known as "Prufrock" has popped up twice in my reading recently. I hadn't come across it before, having studied no poetry except for Chaucer at school - that I can remember at least.

The first time I noticed it, I didn't realise it was "famous" - and it was on the cover of Ally Condie's Atlantia:



Human Voices Wake Us,
And We Drown

however I'm currently about halfway through The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and lead female character Hazel has been  quoting the whole poem and when she used the lines mentioned above I got googling.

So I've learnt something. Plus I knew Val McDermid had borrowed the title The Mermaids Singing from Eliot but I hadn't realised it was this poem.




Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Age of Miracles (Redux)

Karen Thompson Walker's fabulous The Age of Miracles has just been re-released as a Young Adult Edition by Simon & Schuster:

I first read The Age of Miracles when it came out in 2012 and I loved it. It still haunts me and I really look forward to Ms Walker's next book.

The accompanying paperwork to my copy suggests 14+ as a guideline - though the protagonist Julia is around eleven. In my review I felt that the book would appeal to older readers ie adults more than teenagers, so I'm eager to have feedback from younger readers.

I shall be popping a copy on my upcoming 'Crossover Fiction' display at work (library).

My original review is here.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Favourite Read of 2014

My favourite read of 2014, across all the genres I read - crime, SF and YA - and the only one to get a 5 star rating on Good Reads was ... Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I absolutely adored this book and yet it took the film coming out to nudge me to read it. I watched the DVD and didn't want it to end. I immediately read the Free Four knife-throwing scene then hunted out my copy of Divergent the book. Though there are some differences I think the film captured the book very well and the casting was good (more on this in a moment). Of course once I'd finished Divergent I had to immediately read Insurgent and similarly then Allegiant and finally Four.

Tris alone narrates the first two books however Allegiant is split between Tris and Four and unfortunately this didn't work for me at all. The voices were similar and Four becomes a weaker character and this is where Theo James as Four will have a lot of work to do to carry it off. In the Divergent film he (is and) seems older and wiser than Tris and yet the roles become reversed in Allegiant.

For me the series went from 5 (Divergent)  to 4 (Insurgent) to 3 (Allegiant) stars - nonetheless I'm glad to have read it and wonder what Ms Roth will write next.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Maze Runner Prequel Announced

In today's Booktrade, James Dashner is to write a prequel to The Maze Runner:
Chicken House Publishing Ltd. will publish the fifth novel in James Dashner's #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, which has sold 7 million copies worldwide, as announced today by publisher Barry Cunningham.

THE FEVER CODE reveals the time directly before The Maze Runner and will tell the story of how Thomas, Teresa and the Gladers found themselves trapped in the Maze and how it was created. Dashner's The Maze Runnner movie will be released in cinemas in the UK on 10th October. It opened last month in the USA at #1 at the box office.
The second movie based on the series, entitled Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, is scheduled to release on 18th September 2015.

'From the very beginning, I've always wanted to write a prequel about Thomas, Teresa, Newt, Minho, Alby and all the Gladers that leads up to the very moment Thomas enters the Box. There are so many things hinted at that will be fun to reveal in depth. For years, fans have made it abundantly and enthusiastically clear that they want the same thing, so now seems like the perfect time to give readers the story of how the Maze began.' JAMES DASHNER
Read the whole article here