Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Reads

For many of us, young and old, summer means hot, lazy days sipping lemonade while engrossed in a book. In fact, you may have already begun that list of books you plan to devour, right? Here's a few MG and YA mysteries and thrillers some of our SSA authors thought you may want to add to your list:

Nothing But Blue by Lisa Jahn-Clough

All dead. No one survived. All dead.

This morbid chant haunts seventeen-year-old Blue as she trudges through the countryside with just the clothes on her back, heading to her childhood home on the ocean. Something absolutely awful has happened, she knows it, but she doesn’t know what. She can’t even remember her name, so she calls herself Blue. This gripping survival story—peppered with flashbacks to bittersweet times with her boyfriend, Jake—strips life down to its bare bones. Blue learns, with the help of a seemingly magical stray dog and kind people along the road, that the important thing is to live.

Laura Ellen: I thoroughly enjoyed this YA mystery - but be forewarned, you may not make it through the end without needing a tissue!

Shallow Pond by Alissa Grosso

Sisters uncover an unbelievable family secret

Barbara “Babie” Bunting is constantly mistaken for her sisters, but she’s determined not to end up like her family. She doesn’t plan to stick around Shallow Pond after graduation, and she certainly won’t be ruined by a broken heart. That is, until fellow orphan Zach Faraday walks into the picture, and Babie can’t deny their chemistry.

When her oldest sister, Annie, comes down with a mysterious illness—initially dismissed as “love sickness”—Babie and Zach start investigating what exactly killed the girls’ mother and why their late father became so consumed by grief. What they find changes everything.

Laura Ellen: This doesn't come out until July 8th, but it is definitely worth the wait. I couldn't put it down and the twists in this YA thriller kept me guessing right until the end.

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die by April Henry

Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.

Laura Ellen: This one comes out June 11th, but I had the pleasure of reading it early. It is definitely a must-read! Don't miss April Henry's Interrogation Interview here on the SSA blog June 24th too.

In the tradition of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars, Reid's new series for young adults features edgy characters with a multicultural twist, as 16-year-old Chanti Evans tries to balance prep school, boys, and solving mysteries.

With barely a foot in the door, fifteen-year-old Chanti gets on the bad side of school queen bee Lissa and snobbish Headmistress Smythe. They've made it their mission to take Chanti down and she needs to find out why, especially when stuff begins disappearing around campus, making her the most wanted girl in school, and not in a good way. But the last straw comes when she and her Langdon crush, the seriously hot Marco Ruiz, are set up to take the heat for a series of home burglaries--and worse. . . .(
Sarah Skilton: I recently read this, and immediately snapped up the next two books in the Langdon Prep Series.  These contemporary YA mysteries are perfect for summer. They have it all: a smart female protagonist with a sense of humor, a multicultural cast of characters, clever whodunits, a fast pace, and compelling relationships -- both friendship and romance-wise. Also, check out our Interview with Kim Reid here.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.
Diana Renn: Rising sixth grader Mo LeBeau is one of the most engaging young sleuths I've come across. I love her voice -- the mix of humor, hubris, and vulnerability -- and I love her total confidence as a child detective. It's rare to find a middle grade novel that tackles a murder mystery as the main crime, yet this 2013 Edgar Award finalist pulls it off. At the same time, Mo's personal mystery -- to discover where her "upstream mother" went, and whether she is alive --  adds heart to this page-turning, funny mystery. Oh, and it's set in the south. YES. Can we have more children's mysteries set in the south, please?
Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into "Stanfurd" that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission. From the offbeat creator of Pearls Before Swine comes an endearingly bumbling hero in a caper whose peerless hilarity is accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets you snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further — or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment — making this a comics-inspired story (the first in a new series) that truly stands apart from the pack.
Diana Renn: Like Mo LeBeau in Three Times Lucky, Timmy Failure is a highly confident, professional detective, who runs a detective agency (Total Failure, Inc.) with his business partner, a polar bear named Total. But despite his professional affect, Timmy consistently fails to solve his client's problems and misses clues that are right under his nose. The humor and delight for the reader comes in interpreting the language and the comic-style drawings throughout, solving the crimes a step ahead of Timmy. But there's real pathos here, as clues about Timmy's personal struggles and family life are parceled out to us. I assure you this novel is not merely lighthearted and cartoonish. I rooted for Timmy the whole way to succeed -- to NOT live up to his inauspicious surname -- and I suspect you will too!

And don't forget recent/soon-to-be released books by our SSA authors:

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).

At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.

Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?

Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a REAR WINDOW twist. This comes out June 18th!

Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.


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