February might be the month of love, but it’s also the month for daring escapes, thrilling races, blood-soaked tales of revenge, and revolution . . . at least in the YA world! There are some fantastic voyages awaiting YA readers in February, from the streets of Dan Wells’ new science fiction world of Mirador to Victoria Scott’s action-packed mechanical horse racetracks. Join Tommy Wallach on a three-day romp through the streets of San Francisco with the ultimate manic pixie dream girl; delve into the world of adolescent best-friendship with Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom; or start a revolution with Victoria Aveyard. Whatever you love to read, you’ll find a great match in this month’s new releases.
Here are the titles I’m most excited to book-push in February!
I was lucky enough to get an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of this book from my agent in October, and was absolutely blown away by Modesto’s style. Not only is this one of the most creative books I’ve read in a while, but Modesto blends the fantasy, steampunk, and Western genres almost seamlessly. I adore Westie, Modesto’s tough and somewhat irascible heroine, a girl willing to do whatever it takes to see her family avenged. Though it’s still early yet, REVENGE AND THE WILD is already one of my favorite books of the year.
Please, please, please read this book. Then stop by the reference desk so we can chat about it, I’m dying to talk to other readers about this one!
From the publisher:
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.
Speaking of heroines who rely on artificial arms, let me introduce you to Marisa Carneseca—gamer, hacker, and science fiction super-sleuth. While BLUESCREEN’s drawing a lot of comparisons to M.T. Anderson’s novel FEED, I personally think is sounds like more of a young adult SNOW CRASH (Neal Stephenson), which is nothing short of awesome. A Utah native, Dan Wells has given us some fine science fiction in the past, so I have high hopes for his newest offering. Plus, you can check out the fabulous BLUESCREEN artwork on his blog now!
From the publisher:
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.
Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.
Ruta Sepetys’ novels are always automatically added to my TBR pile, and her newest novel, SALT TO THE SEA, is no exception. Sepetys has a remarkable ability to render the past with vivacity, eloquence, and empathy; and Salt to the Sea is already being hailed as Code Name Verity’s spiritual successor. Maggie Stiefvater says this book is “swift-footed, kind-hearted . . . [and] is intensely satisfying in just about all the ways a novel can be satisfying.”
Honestly, if Maggie Stiefvater loved this book, I know I’m going to love it too.
From the publisher:
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
I remember hearing about this one when it first sold—Victoria came up with the idea of mechanical horses while watching a car commercial and drafted the entire concept that night. While the concept comes off as a little SCORPIO RACES-esque—it’s been pitched as NASCAR meets NATIONAL VELVET—still, I’ve heard amazing things from people who’d had the opportunity to read this one early.
From the publisher:
Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.
She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.
But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.
Make sure not to miss . . .
THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE, by Tommy Wallach
GLASS SWORD, by Victoria Aveyard, book two in the RED QUEEN trilogy
THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, by Emily Henry
THE SHADOW QUEEN, by C.J. Redwine
THE PAGES BETWEEN US, by Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom
BEHOLD THE BONES, Natalie C. Parker
Find these and other great, brand new YA titles in the Teen Corner in the first floor reference wing!
Find them in the catalog:
The Attic at Academy Square sometimes feels like a secret--you can only access it by elevator in the Academy Wing, and in terms of this building's rich history, the Attic is still relatively new. However, we don't want it to be a secret--we want everyone to come! We've got some exciting exhibits planned for this next year, including our second annual Homegrown Art Show (now accepting entries!). Our next exhibit will open on February 16; come and find us on the 4th floor of the Academy Wing.
Whenever someone learns that I work at a library, they usually ask one of three questions:
1. What’s your favorite book?
2. What are you reading?
3. What do you recommend?
The last two are usually more enjoyable to answer than the first question, but lately those questions have been very difficult for me. I’m going to be honest here. Yes, I work at a library, but I am not a librarian. I’m also the parent of a one-year-old, and so right now between working full time and parenting that little fellow, the answer is that I read a lot of the same five books. Over, and over, and over again. I hope that some time in the next year I will learn how to get dinner on the table before 8:30 at night; I hope that I will find time and space to read for myself again; I hope that maybe Calvin will learn to like more books (he will). But for now, it’s these five. So I present to you Calvin’s (the one-year-old) favorite five books, which I somehow still don’t hate even though I read them each at least five times a day.
The premise of this book is simple: four words, combined in varied ways, create new pictures. I don’t want to spoil the jokes, so I’ll leave the description there. Calvin loves to be asked, “Where’s the bear?”; the bear looks slightly different on every page, so it feels like a challenge. Plus, I roar when he finds it, so there’s that.
This was the first book Calvin actually listened to in its entirety. And then asked to hear again. And again. In Calvin’s eyes, this book has three real strengths: first, it’s not too long. Second, it’s filled with a variety of animals. Third, as each animal represents a different emotion, the opportunities for silly and changing voices abound. This one’s a great read-aloud for little ones, and I’m still amused by the book’s final insistence that “A difficult mood is not here to stay. Unless you’re that duck. He’s always this way.”
It’s always satisfying when your child loves a book that you loved as a child, so when Calvin willingly sat in my lap and listened as we read about all these variously positioned, colored, and tempered feet, we both felt as fuzzy inside as “fuzzy fur feet”. This book is fun for all the usual reasons that a Dr. Seuss book is fun: delightfully silly rhymes, that signature art style, the way that something so ordinary becomes whimsical. After we’re done reading, Calvin loves to open up to either the very front or very back pages (which have tons of images of the main character) and we just keep saying, “Feet! Feet! Feet! Feet!” This is a part of the story his Dad invented, and it’s his favorite.
This is probably the book we spend the most time with. Our copy is a large board book that we picked up at the Library’s Used Book Store, and Calvin loves to carry it around because his first love is carrying objects that seem much too large for him (at grandma’s house, his favorite thing to play with is her steam mop. But I digress…). This one is great for especially young kids; lots of animals, each isolated on a bright colored background (making it easy to distinguish them from one another and point to your favorites). Calvin’s favorite is the bunny. The chicken and the giraffe are close seconds.
I fully expect Calvin to move on from a few of these books before he can really comprehend their message, but this is one I hope he sustains interest in long enough to really understand the story. In I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE, a child prolongs his bedtime routine by posing an escalating series of “what if?” scenarios to his patient, patient mother. “What if I smelled so bad my name was Stinky Face? What if I was a terrible meat-eating dinosaur? Would you still love me?” The book is silly and playful, but reinforces maybe the best lesson: that no amount of bad breath, big teeth, or bug-eating can stop a parent from loving their child.