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In the Stacks: New young adult fiction

Posted: March 6, 2014 - 1:05am

New fiction for Young Adults is meant for high school and college-age readers – look for the neon yellow stripe above the spine label on books on the New Fiction shelves at each public library.

“The Lost Sun,” by Tessa Gratton.

In the United States of Asgard, there’s almost nothing more important than the annual ritual of Baldur’s renewal. So when Baldur, the god of light, fails to reconstitute when he’s supposed to (and on national television, no less), the whole country is thrown into chaos. Astrid, a young prophetess, has dreamed about Baldur and knows where he is, but she needs help to get to him. Soren, who has inherited his late father’s berserker rages, is the classmate Astrid enlists to go road tripping with her, but recovering Baldur isn’t as easy as her dreams made it seem. This is the first of a series set in Norse-themed United States, but you don’t have to have a background in Norse mythology to enjoy this.

“Darius and Twig,” by Walter Dean Myers.

Two best friends in an uncertain world, Twig is an outstanding middle-distance runner, while Darius is a writer. Each is afraid that there’s nothing after high school for themselves but the streets, or maybe, if things really get bad, prison. But each is sure that the other has got what it takes to succeed, and they cheer each other, past the doubts of uncles and pains of absent fathers, and the difficulties of being the man in the house and big brother all at once. Beautifully written , this is a window into a world of hardship, hope, and friendship.

“Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up”, by Mark Peter Hughes.

This stand-alone sequel to Lemonade Mouth checks in on the band over the amazing summer when they went from being just a bunch of high-school kids practicing in their free time to being a household name. And not just for their music, though that’s what they were hoping for when they entered to compete on American Pop Sensation, no, this is even better. If you’re the kind of reader who cringes at the American Idol judges’ critiques of performers, you’ll stand up and cheer for Olivia,Wen, Stella, Charlie, and Mo as they let their attitude show and stand up for what they feel is right. Told in turns by each musician, this is lively and fun and thoughtful all at once.

“The End Games,” by T. Michael Martin.

Up in the mountains, 17-year-old Michael and his little brother, 5-year-old Patrick, are playing a first-person shooter game with a real gun, real bullets, and real monsters. For weeks, the Game Master has given Michael instructions, and those instructions have kept the two alive, racking up points against the Bellows who live in the dark. But now they’ve met up with other players whose leader, Captain Jopek, reminds Michael of his abusive step-father. Thanks to him, Michael has to work even harder to keep Patrick from finding out there is no Game. There are no points. And the only thing you get when you win is the chance to fight again. Grimly thoughtful, fans of “The Hunger Games” and “World War Z” are a built-in audience.

“Belle Epoque,” by Elizabeth Ross.

When Maude Pinchon runs away from her village in Brittany, she imagines that the money she stole from her father and her own willingness to work will be enough to sustain her in Paris. But soon she finds herself with one option left: an odd company that specializes in matching ugly women as companions to rich women on the theory that the drab ones will make their employers shine all the more brightly. Maude is matched with Isabelle Dubern, a strong-minded debutante with some avant-garde ideas about how she wants to live her life, but the matching is done by Isabelle’s mother without her daughter’s knowledge. Intrigued by Isabelle, Maude is soon won over and the two are on their way to a genuine friendship, but Isabelle’s mother is outraged and Maude is faced with a terrible dilemma, unwilling to unveil herself as hired help, but equally unhappy at letting a friend down.

•••

The Teen Manga Club is meeting at the Zach Gordon Youth Center at 5 p.m. Friday, March 7. They’ll be talking about Eureka Seven and deciding what to read next.

Author Alert! J. Torres, award-winning, Filipino-born, Canadian graphic novelist whose books include “Lola: a ghost story,” “Bigfoot Boy,” and “The Unkindness of Ravens,” will be at the Downtown Library Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. to talk about his work writing for big companies and on his own.

And, starting Saturday, March 8, at 6 p.m., it’s a week-long, 24-hour a day, celebration of all of Shakespeare’s plays. Pick up a schedule of the Bard-a-thon at the front desk or check our website to see when your favorite play is scheduled and join in as a reader or to listen.

For information about our upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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