The talented and versatile Candace Fleming, who writes novels and delectable picture books as well as groundbreaking nonfiction for young readers, shows why there’s so much excitement about nonfiction in children’s literature these days. The fall of imperial Russia and the fascinating story of the Nicholas II and Alexandra might seem more suited for a college history class. But in Fleming’s capable hands, readers will find themselves caught up in one of the most intriguing—and sometimes heartbreaking—stories of the 20th century.
Senior year is a stressful time, especially at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy for Girls, outside of Boston. Between prepping for AP History pop quizzes, jostling for class rank and trying not to compete with her friends for top college acceptances, Colleen has enough on her mind even before a mysterious illness suddenly strikes the most popular girls in school. A media frenzy follows as more and more students show strange and varied symptoms. Possible explanations abound, but none seem right to Colleen until she makes an extraordinary connection.
Set in the Chinatown neighborhoods of the fictional California city San Incendio, The Shadow Hero is the tale of a young man’s discovery of his noble and ancient powers. Hank, the 19-year-old son of two Chinese immigrants, is content to work in his father’s grocery store and lead a quiet, uncomplicated life. When his mother is saved by the local superhero, she starts scheming to make Hank into a superhero as well. Out of respect for his mother, Hank trains in martial arts, but on his first night as a superhero, he bumbles into a fight with members of the Tongs gang, the Chinese organized crime ring that controls Hank’s town. Failing to wear a mask, Hank exposes his identity and puts his whole family at risk. Luckily for him, a kind, ancient spirit has been watching over Hank for years, and it makes him a promise that changes his life.
There are all kinds of lies and prevarications in the aptly titled The Kiss of Deception, the new book from award-winning author Mary E. Pearson. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia (or Lia, as she prefers to be called), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, does not want to marry the unseen prince from a neighboring country. Lia—accompanied by her lady’s companion, Pauline—forsakes her parents’ wishes and runs away on her wedding day.
Katherine Howe’s new YA novel Conversion alternates between two narratives. In one, contemporary high school student Colleen Rowley’s senior year at the high-pressure St. Joan’s Academy for Girls is interrupted by the outbreak of an unexplained illness. In the other, set at the beginning of the 18th century, a woman confesses to the role she played as a teenager in perpetuating the Salem witchcraft panic of 1692. Taken together, the two stories dare their reader to rethink the differences between past and present, rumor and truth, and science and magic.
BookPage caught up with Howe to find out more about her writing process, her most influential book and her unusual family history.
Poor Cinderella. Poor, sweet Cinderella. Or maybe it's a little more complicated than that. Tracy Barrett's new novel for teens, The Stepsister's Tale, offers a necessary update to the classic rags-to-riches story.
In the first in a thrilling new young adult mystery series from best-selling author April Henry, three teens join Portland’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team for very different reasons. For Nick, who lost his father in the Iraq War, volunteering with SAR represents true courage and leadership. For Alexis, SAR means overcoming a broken home and standing out on college applications. But for awkward and lonely Ruby, SAR is everything.
Hannah loves the game of seduction. She dresses to tease and unabashedly enjoys the pleasure of sex. Her one unassailable prohibition is no sex without a condom. So Hannah is shocked when she discovers that she’s pregnant, not only because of the impending scandal, but because the only person who could be the father is the one person Hannah cannot name. More than one guy at Hannah’s high school is sweating things out when Aaron Tyler, new transfer student, announces that Hannah’s baby belongs to him.
If Meg Cabot wrote an episode of “Downton Abbey,” it might end up being this delightful debut novel in which two teenage girls inadvertently switch roles at an English estate in 1938.
The first book in a new series from 19-year-old author Lucy Saxon, Take Back the Skies offers readers an incredibly fast-paced mixture of fantasy and steampunk. It’s full of twists and turns that will shock even the most ardent fantasy fan.