Tuesday, June 30, 2009

James Frey writing YA series

Having just read Roswell High book (1) The Outsider, Frey & co's proposed series sounds good to me. From the New York Times:

James Frey, the author of “A Million Little Pieces” and “Bright Shiny Morning,” is working with another writer and anonymously shopping a young adult novel called “I Am Number Four.”

A source familiar with the project said that Mr. Frey, who was famously caught embellishing details in “A Million Little Pieces,” his memoir of drug addiction and recovery, came up with the idea of what is proposed as a six-book series and is working with another writer to write the actual text.

A manuscript of the first book in the series has been circulating among editors at several large New York publishing houses. The story is about a group of nine children from a planet called Lorien who have been attacked by a hostile race from another planet. The nine children and their guardians evacuate to Earth, where three are killed. The protagonist, a Lorien boy named John Smith, hides in Paradise, Ohio, as a human and tries to evade his predators.

Update: A second article in the New York Times.

Prequel to Patrick Ness's The Knife of Never Letting Go

From today's Book2Book:

The award-winning author Patrick Ness has written an exclusive short story for the reading charity Booktrust, where he is currently writer in residence.

The winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008 and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2008 began his role as Booktrust's first writer in residence in March 2009. Since then he has produced a fortnightly blog, tips and advice for writers and a video of his work in schools.

The story, entitled 'The New World: A story of Chaos Walking,' is a prequel to his award-winning novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in his bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy.

Set before the first meeting of the heroes Viola and Todd, 'The New World' tells the dramatic story of Viola's arrival on the planet she's spent her entire life travelling towards. Ness explores Viola's relationship with her family as he reveals the trauma of her terrifying introduction to this alien world, which she must now face alone.

The story can be read online or downloaded at the Booktrust website.

Synopsis of The Knife of Never Letting Go:

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he's going to have to run...

Patrick Ness's website is here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Links from the Blogosphere (2)

Here are a few links from this week's blogosphere as well as those listed in my expanding blogroll:

Guardian - Siobhan Dowd wins Carnegie medal for Bog Child

Publishers Weekly - teenagers review recent YA fiction.

Reading Matters reviews The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.

Toronto Library - Word Out Teen Summer Reading Programme Book List - sign up or just check which books they're reading this summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kiss of Life in Waterstone's

According to amazon.co.uk, the UK edition of Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters isn't out until 6 July but I spotted it today in Waterstone's.

Kiss of Life is the sequel to Generation Dead.

The UK cover is on the left, the US edition, which was published in May is on the right.

Synopsis: The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

Daniel Waters's website/blog is here.

Library Loot (2)

I've added the following books from the library to my TBR pile this week:

Ellen Schreiber - Vampire Kisses
Kelley Armstrong - The Summoning
Cynthia Leitich Smith - Tantalize
Rosie Rushton - Love, Lies and Lizzie
Aprilynne Pike - Wings
Melinda Metz - Roswell High (4) The Watcher
A J Butcher - Spy High (1) The Frankenstein Factory

Any advice on which to read first?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant (Apr 2009, Egmont Books Ltd, ISBN: 1405242345)

First Lines: One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.

Review: Gone is the first part of a projected six part series; I didn't know this when I first started it. The second part, Hunger, is now available in the US and the UK edition will be out next April.

In the blink of an eye, everyone fifteen and older vanishes leaving the Californian coastal town of Perdido Beach in chaos, from babies losing their carers to cars losing their drivers. It soon becomes clear that Perdido Beach is cut off physically and electronically from the world they knew before. The area is nicknamed the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone).

The eldest people left do the best they can to maintain a system with rudimentary healthcare, food provision and daycare. The natural leader is Sam Temple, who already prevented a bus crash a few years ago, but he shies away from the job and instead goes off with his friend Quinn and Astrid the Genius to search for her autistic four year old brother, Little Pete.

His reluctance leaves the way open for Caine and his followers to come down from the private school, Coates, and take charge. However their rule is based on power and intimidation and soon some very unpleasant things are happening, including murder. The scene is set for a showdown between good and evil and Caine plays dirty.

Each chapter heading shows how many hours are left until Sam turns 15. What will happen to him? Can he take out Caine before then and leave the FAYZ safe?

Gone is a thrilling read, the 570p fly by. The story moves between many characters and how they are coping with their new situation. There are some hints as to what caused the FAYZ but very little is explained about the how and why and in fact the people of Perdido Beach are not exactly normal themselves. Or at least not all of them. Some of the animals are rather strange as well...

The showdown at the end of the book is comparable to the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but whereas we waited 7 books for that final confrontation, this is only the first book, so what happens next? Roll on next April...

Cover: The running figure screams "thriller" and is perhaps aimed more at male readers. It's certainly eye catching - it got my attention in the book shop.

The official Gone website is here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Publishing Deal - Maryrose Wood (The Poison Diaries)

From today's Bookseller:

HarperCollins has signed a trilogy of children's books, The Poison Diaries, inspired by the real-life Poison Garden in the grounds of Alnwick Castle in the north east, which also doubles as Hogwarts in the "Harry Potter" films.

The novels are written by Maryrose Wood, based on a concept by the Duchess of Northumberland, who is mistress of Alnwick Castle.

The first book is scheduled for global publication in summer 2010.

"This trilogy stands apart from other supernatural teen novels because of its original premise, as well as the very real and rich world of The Poison Garden that inspired it."

"The novels explore the tension between the plants' power to cure or kill within the context of a love story. It's a fascinating paradox that will be incredibly appealing to teens."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Moon - Movie Tie-in Cover

Eonline reveals the stunning movie tie-in cover for New Moon:

The site also has a poll:

Who wins the Twilight sequel's new book cover staring contest?

Waiting on Wednesday - Dani Noir

I'm looking forward to this one: Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma, to be published in September (US). (Spotted on Sharon Loves Books and Cats). What a gorgeous cover...

Life is nothing like a noir movie. Or so you think.

Fade-in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Dani’s stuck in her nowhere mountain town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art Movie Theatre to keep her company. But when a big secret invades the scene in real life, Dani decides to bring the truth to light. Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery, and learns more about herself than she ever thought she could. All she knows is someone’s been lying and thinks they can get away with it. And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights…

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Links from the Blogosphere (1)

Here are a few links to recent reviews and articles that have been posted over the last few days:

Confessions of a Wandering Heart reviews Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

A Passion for Books reviews Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

Kittling reviews Extras by Scott Westerfield.

Chronic Rift suggests some Summer Reading plus More Teen Summer (And Fall!) Reading Suggestions.

BiblioBuffet writes about why she (and many other adults) loves YA fiction and includes a recommended reading list.

Woman Around Town lists 7 Reasons to love YA Literature plus some ideas on where to get more reading suggestions.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review: Uninvited by Amanda Marrone

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone (November 2007, Simon & Schuster Children's, ISBN: 1847381820)

First Line: "I close my eyes, hoping he won't come tonight."

Review: Jordan suffers from a social anxiety disorder and relies on her small group of friends to accompany her around school. Outside of school she has the help of alcohol and drugs. Of late though she's not been out at night. She can't, as "he" will get her. The "he" is Michael, an ex-boyfriend who is supposedly dead and buried but is now haunting her bedroom window every night asking "to be let in". Jordan's watched too many tv shows not to know what creatures have to be invited in but as her life becomes more miserable, her resistance begins to crumble.

I really clicked with Uninvited and couldn't put it down. The tension became unbearable; how was Jordan going to resolve the Michael issue? To resolve that issue Jordan has to address her own life, her own needs and make some decisions and in the end she has help from an unexpected source.

There is an "advisory adult content" sticker on the back cover and the book has references to being 'wasted', 'flyby' sexual encounters and some mild drug usage however they are not described in any great detail.

Cover: I wasn't too taken with the cover. The colour is a bit drab and I may not have picked it up if it hadn't been recommended. There's a nice touch on the title - the V has a red point.

Uninvited is also reviewed at Chicklish

Amanda Marrone's website is here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Library Loot (1)

I have a huge pile of books out of the library at the moment. The bottom half of the pile (blue spots) is from my local library and are ones I've picked up over the last two weeks. The top half (red spots) is from a different library service, the one I work for, and I've had these for over a couple of weeks as I've been on leave (back on Monday). I always have more books out than I can possibly read in a month so I shall have to prioritise. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening has been reserved so that will be fairly close to the top of the list. I picked that up after watching the trailer for the tv series. I must steel myself to read Breaking Dawn, but I'm so reluctant to finish this series...

Amanda Marrone - Uninvited
Michael Grant - Gone
Stephenie Meyer - Breaking Dawn
Scott Westerfield - Uglies
Catherine Hardwicke - Twilight Director's Notebook
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Rachel Caine - The Dead Girls' Dance
Meg Rosoff - How I Live Now
Daniel Waters - Generation Dead
Gemma Malley - The Resistance
L J Smith - The Vampire Diaries 1 & 3
Sandra Glover - Somewhere Else
Jaclyn Moriarty - Feeling Sorry for Celia
T E Berry-Hart - Escape from Genopolis
Melissa Marr - Wicked Lovely

Friday, June 19, 2009

14 is a good age...

Well according to these two books, fourteen is a good age to stay.

Firstly, in Gone by Michael Grant, everyone fifteen and over vanishes in an instant in the small Californian coastal town of Perdido Beach.

"The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive.But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power...Even kill."

Gone is the first part of a planned six book series and is available in the UK as well as the US.

Read more from Gone at the publisher's website.

Later in the year, 3 September in fact, Charlie Higson's The Enemy will be published in the UK and here the adults become zombies:

The Enemy is the first title in a chilling series of books which will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It is set in an eerie, modern-day London after a mystery illness attacks everyone over the age of fourteen. Those afflicted either die or become so crazed by disease they are little more than wild animals. Gangs of kids are left to fend for themselves, dodging the zombie adults who remain.

Read the rest of the press release at the Young Bond Dossier.

The Enemy will be published by Disney-Hyperion in the US.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas wins Award

From BookBrunch:

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne has been voted the Penguin Orange Readers’ Group Book of the Year. Votes were collected via the Spinebreakers website and from people entering the 2009 Penguin Orange Readers’ Group Prize. The award has previously been won by Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, which claimed the top spot three years in a row. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight came second.

Visit the Spinebreakers website, here.

Simon & Schuster Teen Social Network Site (US)

From Publishers Lunch:

Simon & Schuster has developed a book-focused social networking site for teens aged 14 to 18 called Pulse It.

Site members can read one book a month online for free. S&S says books "will be a combination of titles that have just been released or are soon-to-be published." Participants earn points for reviews and other posts and site actions, and can win free books and other prizes.

Simon & Schuster says the site was a natural outgrowth of their Pulse It Advisory Board, which provided 3,000 teens with free books in exchange for feedback.

The website is here. To become a member you must: "be a legal resident of one (1) of the fifty (50) United States or D.C. and between the ages of 14 and 18".

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Melissa Marr signing at Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego)

Time: Saturday, June 27, 2009 2:00 p.m.

Location: Mysterious Galaxy

Title of Event: Melissa Marr signs Fragile Eternity

Spend an enchanted summer afternoon with MG fave Melissa Marr on Saturday, June 27, at 2:00 PM, with her latest young adult fantasy novel, Fragile Eternity.

The Mysterious Galaxy website is here.

Fragile Eternity is the third in the Wicked Lovely series after 1) Wicked Lovely, 2) Ink Exchange.

According to the HarperTeen website, there will be further signings on:

Sunday, July 19, 2009 at
5871 Crossroads Center Way Baileys Crossroads, VA 22041


Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at
5501 W Broad ST Richmond, VA 23230

Merlin debuts on NBC

The fantasy drama Merlin, already shown in the UK, debuts in the US on NBC this Sunday (21st). Programme summary taken from the NBC Merlin website:

"Merlin" is a new drama series that updates the story of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a new audience. The mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began; a fantastical realm of legendary beasts and mysterious people; a dangerous world in which magic has been banned by the ruthless tyrant, Uther Pendragon.

When Merlin, a young man gifted with extraordinary magical powers, arrives in the kingdom, he quickly makes enemies including the heir to Uther's crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur. But guided by Uther's wise physician Gaius, Merlin is soon using his talents not just to survive but also to unlock Camelot's mystical secrets. As he does so he discovers that his destiny and that of the kingdom's young leader in waiting, Arthur, are inextricably linked.

There are a couple of dull episodes and some dodgy CGI but overall it's a very pleasant way to spend an hour. There are a lot of funny lines and good acting from the cast, which includes Anthony Stewart Head and Richard Wilson. I'm looking forward to the second series...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Teenage Previews: July

Taken from the Bookseller magazine print edition, three books that will be published in July and that I'm looking forward to:

Michelle Lovric - The Undrowned Child
Orion Childrens
Synopsis - It's the beginning of the 20th century; the age of scientific progress. But for Venice the future looks bleak. A conference of scientists assembles to address the problems, among whose delegates are the parents of eleven-year-old Teodora. Within days of her arrival, she is subsumed into the secret life of Venice: a world in which salty-tongued mermaids run subversive printing presses, ghosts good and bad patrol the streets and librarians turn fluidly into cats. A battle against forces determined to destroy the city once and for all quickly ensues. Only Teo, the undrowned child who survived a tragic accident as a baby, can go 'between-the-linings' to subvert evil and restore order.

Sophie McKenzie - The Set Up
Book 1 of the Medusa Project
Simon & Schuster
Synopsis - Fourteen years ago, scientist William Fox implanted four babies with the Medusa gene - a gene for psychic abilities. But Fox died and the babies were hidden away for years. Now the children are teenagers - and unaware that their psychic powers are about to kick in. Cocky, charismatic Nico thinks his emerging telekinetic abilities will bring him money, power and the girl of his dreams. He's about to find out just how wrong he is...

Marcus Sedgwick - Revolver
Orion Childrens
Synopsis - 1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help. Then comes a knock at the door. It's a man, the flash of a revolver's butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father. As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff's connection to his father, Sig finds his thoughts drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father's prized possession - a revolver. When Anna returns alone, and Wolff begins to close in, Sigs choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun, or not?

New editions of Twilight saga books...

From BookBrunch:

In addition to the movie tie-in programme for the New Moon movie (scheduled for UK release on 27 November), Atom will publish a limited edition of Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight Saga, as well as journals featuring the cover artwork from the series.

On 25 June, a limited run of Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse B-formats with red-edged pages will be published to coincide with the paperback edition of The Host. On 4 August, Breaking Dawn Special Edition, imported from the US, will feature an exclusive DVD of the Breaking Dawn Concert Series, including a performance by Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld and a conversation between him and author Stephenie Meyer. Published in hardback, it will also include a reproduction of the personal, handwritten lyrics for "My Never" from Furstenfeld, and a Bella and Edward poster.

A New Moon Collector’s Edition, another US import, comes on 6 October. A deluxe edition, it is slipcased and includes a ribbon bookmark and cloth cover. Alongside it, New Moon: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion features a behind-the-scenes guide to the making of the movie, including photos of the cast, locations, and sets.

The Twilight Journals are due on 13 October, four journals packaged in a collectible, keepsake tin. Each features the Twilight Saga cover art and includes images and decorative quotes from the books, as well as from the literary classics that inspired them. Then, on 27 October, there's the film tie-in edition of New Moon.

In addition, a Twilight Saga Collection, featuring four hardbacks in a boxed set, will be available June/July 2009, again as a US import.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire

Eden Maguire is a British author who spends part of the year living in the US. This book appears to be her first. The second book in the series is due out in October and the third and fourth (and final I assume) will be out in 2010.

Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire (April 2009, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340988614)

I spotted this title in Book Time magazine which is supplied to libraries with their delivery of books and I was fortunate to snap up the first (and only so far) copy in the Birmingham Library system. I have since been recommending it to colleagues and a short waiting list has begun.

The main character is Darina, a sixteen/seventeen year old whose boyfriend Phoenix has recently died from a knife wound in a fight. Phoenix is the fourth of Darina's peers to die in the last year, the other three being: Jonas in a motorcycling accident, Arizona by drowning and Summer by gun-shot wound. All apparently accidents.

Darina is heartbroken and finds herself drawn to the same spot a few miles from home, where the unbelievable happens - she sees Phoenix and the others, apparently alive and well. Is she delusional or are they real?

I don't want to give too much away so I'll just say that Darina is about to get some relief, at least temporarily, from her grief and she will be investigating the deaths of her classmates.

Beautiful Dead 1 does take a while to get going but once I got about a third of the way in I was dipping into it at every opportunity. It has a mystery angle - why did Jonas crash? and a romance between a couple who, in theory at least, do not have a future together - there's more than a similarity to the relationship between Bella (human) and Edward (vampire) in Twilight. It's quite a serious book which shows how grief affects people and what it can drive them to do. I'm very interested in seeing where Eden Maguire takes this series and especially what she decides to do in the final book.

The official Beautiful Dead website is here (nb. it gives more of the plot away than I do).

(review first posted on the Euro Crime blog)

Special Offer on Morganville Vampires series

Currently there are five books available or almost available in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine:

1. Glass Houses
2. The Dead Girls' Dance
3. Midnight Alley
4. Feast of Fools
5. Lord of Misrule (UK: July 09)

Waterstone's have an offer on at the moment - all the above are at half price and UK postage is free.

So far, I own nos 1 & 3 and am likely to fill in the gaps though I really should perhaps try one first!

The sixth book, Carpe Corpus, is recently available in US paperback but the UK publication date is 12 October.

Rachel Caine's website is here.

Publishing Deal - Lauren Kate

From today's Bookseller:

Random House Children's Books has bought the first four titles in a new teen series, 'Fallen' by Lauren Kate. The books were acquired for a "major six-figure sum" in a deal made together with sister company Random House Inc in New York, with Michael Stearns at Tinderbox Books agenting the deal with Annie Eaton and Kelly Hurst at RCHB.

The series, said to feature "angels and menacing demons" and appeal to fans to Stephenie Meyer, features 16-year-old Lucinda who falls in love with a gorgeous boy at her reform school, only to discover he is a fallen angel, destined neither to ascend to heaven or descend to hell.

RCHB publisher Annie Eaton said it was "a delicious mix of temptation, impossible love and the supernatural," promising that no teenage girl will be able to resist the tormented hero.

RCHB said it was planning an "aggressive" marketing and publicity campaign in the UK to launch the series in December this year.