This is my first time at the ALA conference and for someone who is easily over-stimulated, it’s quite overwhelming. And this isn’t even their big one. Imagine booth upon booth of book displays for the latest award-winners, reviewer picks, and up-and-coming releases (with a definite slant towards children and young adult literature). Book-lover / educator paradise.
I had to stay focused or I would have imploded, so my tour of the publishers’ booths was primarily geared toward the upper middle grade reader, especially since I have to create a reading list for an up-and-coming class I’m teaching.
Below is a short list of some of the books I am excited about and I will post more later this week. I’ll list a variety – some literary fiction, genre fiction, non-fiction.
A few of the books I picked are young YA (generally 12+ on the ARC stats) with content that the publishers said would be “all right” for advanced MG readers.
Since I have no shelf-space at home, I might do a few ARC giveaways. If you’re lucky.
1) PARCHED by Melanie Crowder (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)
The poster for this debut release immediately caught my attention. Set in the near future, it’s described as “very real,” not dystopian or post-apocalyptic, but “straight-up apocalyptic.” A world teetering on the brink tips into devastation.
It’s a story told from three points of view about a girl, a boy, and a dog struggling to survive in a parched and barren land.
Sarel knows which tree roots reach down deep to pools of precious water. But now she must learn how to keep herself and her dogs alive. She knows they can’t last long without water—and she knows, too, that a boy is coming; a boy with the water song inside him.
Musa’s talent for finding water got him kidnapped by brutal men, yet he’s escaped, running away across the thirsty land that nearly claims his life. Sarel, Musa, and the dogs come together in what might be their last hope of survival.
This sounds like a fantastic thought-provoking novel with curriculum tie-ins. I WISH I had a copy of this one to give away, but alas, they had no ARCS there.
This one is not brand new, but it’s by a British author and was just published in the US in August. More importantly, I had never heard about it and the publisher’s rep said if she could pick ONE book for me to add to my MG list, this would be the one. She recommends at least 1/2 box off tissues on hand if you pick it up.
From the publisher:
My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.
Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.
To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.
Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.
After the glowing recommendation I received from the rep, I have indeed added this to my student’s reading list.
3) CLOCKWORK SCARAB – by Colleen Gleason (Chronicle Books, 2013)
I feel a bit giddy being able to post this one, as there was a bit of a buzz around it and the fantastic cover is brand new – you can’t even find an image online. It’s a photo of a real bug re-imagined. (for some reason winged creatures were the trend on covers – lots of moths and butterflies).
This one is on the tweens and up end of things and the concept sounds tantalizing: the half-sister of Bram Stoker and niece of Sherlock Holmes team up to solve a murder mystery in a steam-punk London.
An unlikely pair, the fierce Evaline Stoker and logical Mina Holmes must follow in the footsteps of their infamous families—Miss Holmes has inherited her Uncle Sherlock’s keen investigative skills, while Miss Stoker has accepted her family calling as a hunter of the undead. The partners must find a way to work together, while navigating the advances of a strange yet handsome American, a clever Scotland Yard investigator, and a cunning thief, to solve the mystery of the clockwork scarabs . . . Steeped in Egyptian mythology and literary references, with a surprising time travel twist and compelling romantic triangles, Colleen Gleason has crafted a fast-paced and romantic debut young adult novel.
The fact that it has a “love triangle” screams YA, but the publisher said the pace and intrigue will hold the interest of younger readers not interested in romance.
(and I DO have an ARC … we’ll see if I can part with it)
More from the ALA Winter Conference to come (today is the final day).
In the meantime, please check out other Middle Grade Monday posts today at Shannon Messenger’s Blog.