Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Book Bets - 7/10/12

Summer is in full swing!  
Pick the book escape of your choice (or what the school told you to read), ice the cooler, head for the beach and to quote Kurt Vonnegut, “…wear sunscreen.”
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
The follow up to the wildly adult A Discovery Witches continues the All Souls Trilogy, a world where witches conspire with vampires and a myriad of historical figures. Christopher Marlowe is side by side with Sir Walter Raleigh. Shakespeare, even Elizabeth I join the fray to unravel the magical power of a legendary manuscript. A unique combination of fantasy fluff whipped up with stellar literary skill as the author lends her scholarly expertise to making the 16th century breathe life. Lovers of speculative historical fiction or all out genre fantasy will both be satisfied with the spell Harkness weaves all the way to the novel’s  tantalizing cliffhanger ending.
Albert of Adelaide by Howard Anderson
Sometimes you just have to take a recommendation on faith. This book is one odd duck, or rather, duck-billed platypus. The title character, Albert, is such an oddity. Add more of the wilds of the Australian outback like wombats, dingoes and Tazmanian devils, strip away humans altogether and you get one of the most touching tales of friendship and self discovery to come along in a long while. Albert escapes from the zoo and embarks on his own personal walkabout encountering one adventure after another, a band of assorted miscreants and potential friends. Think an Aussie version of Rango. It is written for adults but a sharp witted, deep feeling teen would get Albert’s dilemma. No animal narrated book has touched me this much since Fine Art of Racing in the Rain.
The Other Woman’s House by Sophie Hannah
It’s all about the twist, isn’t it? Many you see it a mile away, others are well set up but when all is said and done you read the last page unfulfilled. Enter Sophie Hannah, she is an author who knows how to deliver and does so in this unnerving novel. Lovers of Tana French will love following detectives Zailer and Waterhouse (no worries, this can be read as a stand-alone book) as they work with a woman named Connie. She may have seen a horrendous crime scene only to have all evidence of it removed moments afterwards. Once we learn the Connie may be a victim herself, to mental illness, we are left to search for the truth where the lines between reality and madness blur. 
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
(trade paperback) From Edgar Award-winning author Abbot comes a chilling coming of age tale about 13 year old Lizzie. Her suburban life is shattered when her best friend goes missing. She thought she knew everything about her BFF but as she performs some Nancy Drew in the real world investigating she stumbles across secrets never shared. They question the friend’s picture-perfect world her best friend was raised in. This tale of the end of innocence is adult in nature though well grounded seniors will find the tale of consequences intriguing.

Railsea by China Mieville
Ahoy! Here’s a YA novel that doesn't write down to the teen level, it challenges them with a post-modern awareness of all the grand sea adventures that preceded it. Here oceans are desert wastelands littered with twisted railroad ties and rusted salvage, the ships that sail them, trains. At first glance Railsea is a steampunk reimagining of Melville's Moby Dick. You wouldn't be entirely wrong if you replace the white whale with a massive mole. Replace Ahab with a female sea captain named Miss Naphi and you're even closer. Her arm has been replaced with robotics, the arm rumored to be taken by the great pale, sound familiar? But as the first line declares (and reverberates throughout) this is really about something else altogether, a blood-stained boy/hero. 
 in Dark Tales for Teens at

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