New young adult titles

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2011

New books for young adult readers are shelved with adult fiction but distinguished by their yellow-green stickers.

I am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore.

Just like Superman, fourteen year old Pitticus Lore was sent from his home planet, Lorien, on the eve of its destruction, but unlike Superman, he had company. Eight other kids are along for the year-long trip to Earth, each accompanied by his or her own adult guardian. Once they arrive on Earth, the pairs separate and blend into human communities, driven apart so that they will not all be wiped out at once by those who destroyed Lorien. A protective charm ensures that they can only be killed in order, and the longer it takes for the Mogadorians to kill them, the more likely the kids will have come into their Legacies, their special powers that will set them apart from humans and give them a fighting chance against their enemies. Three children have died in the ten years since the tiny band of survivors left home: Pitticus Lore is Number Four. And his Legacies are nearly upon him.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King.

Vera never expected to be haunted by anyone, much less her ex-best friend, Charlie. Of course, when they were in grade school, in middle school, and on into junior year, Vera didn’t expect he’d ever be an “ex” anything. But then came Jenny, who decided that Vera stood between her and Charlie. Secrets got out into the open – embarrassing things, that pitted the two friends against each other, even though the really awful secrets stayed hidden. But now Charlie’s ghost wants Vera to tell the world the truth. About his death, about his life, about everything. And so, weaving back in forth in time, she does in this hard-hitting novel.

Jumpstart the World, by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

When Elle’s mom gets a new boyfriend who doesn’t want anything to do with teenagers, everything about Elle’s life changes. She gets moved into her own apartment just a few days shy of her 16th birthday, and, furious at her mother, does something she knows will push her mom’s buttons: Elle buzzes her hair, not the best idea when she’s starting a new school. Good thing she’s a loner anyway, because she’s immediately shunned as “queer” by most of her new classmates, but taken in by a group who are themselves outsiders. The only bright spot in her new life is her next-door-neighbor, Frank, on whom she develops a crush. But Frank has a girlfriend, Molly, and a secret that Elle simply doesn’t want to face.

The Ruby Notebook, by Laura Resau.

Every year, 16-year-old Zeeta and her mom, Layla, move to a new country: this year, they are in France, and Wendell, Zeeta’s boyfriend from last year’s country (pick up The Indigo Notebook for that adventure) is coming to stay with them. Shortly before he arrives, though, Zeeta acquires a watcher, a fantome admirer, who seems benevolently persistent in slipping her gifts and mysterious notes. At the same time, she meets Jean-Claude, a handsome accordionist with a troupe of traveling performers. By the time she and Wendell are reunited, she’s questioning her feelings about their seemingly-indestructible romance. In the short-term, though, they seem meant to be together as they become entangled in the search for a secret underground spring that allegedly bestows immortality, and come closer and closer to revealing the identity of Zeeta’s fantome.

A Little Wanting Song, by Cath Crowley.

It’s summer vacation in Australia and Charlie and her dad are going for their annual Christmas visit to her grandfather’s home in the country. Charlie, an accomplished songwriter and musician, has brought her ipod, her guitar, and her recording equipment to keep her busy, but what she really wants is a friend. Next door to her grandfather lives Rose, who really wants to get out of her tiny town and move to the city to use her scholarship prize at the science school. Though Charlie’s many previous visits have never resulted in a friendship, Rose’s ulterior motives bring them together this year. Charlie’s so hungry for a friend that she’ll never notice she’s being used, right? Rose and Charlie tell their alternating chapters in distinct voices, Rose’s impatient and angry, Charlie’s soft and full of music, both full of wanting.

•••

The Douglas library’s Family Movie will be shown on Sunday, Jan. 16. Be there by 3 p.m. for snacks and a great “new classic” film for nearly the whole family (little ones may not find this one so enjoyable). See the library website for more details.



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