Here are the new releases of fantasy and science fiction books for children and teenagers, from the middle to the end of December. There are many here that I'm looking forward too; in particular, I want The Ever Breath, by Julianna Baggott--when I read The Prince of Fenway Park for the Cybils, I added her to my mental list of "authors whose future books I will automatically read."
For nine to twelve year-olds:
A Different Day, A Different Destiny (The Snipesville Chronicles, Book 2), by Annette Laing. "When you wake up in the year 1851 on a Scottish hillside...Or in an English coal mine...Or on a plantation in the Deep South, you know you re in for a bad day. Nothing for Hannah and Alex Dias has been normal since they moved from San Francisco to the little town of Snipesville, Georgia. Bad enough that they and their dorky new friend Brandon became reluctant time-travellers to World War Two England. Oh, sure, they made it home safely (just) but now things are about to get worse. Much worse. From the cotton fields of the Slave South to London's glittering Crystal Palace, the kids chase a lost piece of twenty-first century technology in the mid-nineteenth century. But finding it is only the beginning of what they must do to heal Time."
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, by Jo Nesbo. "Nilly is new to the neighborhood, but he is quick to make friends: Doctor Proctor, an eccentric professor; and Lisa, who is teased by the twin terrors Truls and Trym. Nilly and Lisa help Doctor Proctor develop his latest invention, a powder that makes you fart. The powder makes Nilly and Lisa very popular at school when they sell it for fifty cents a bag. And they get revenge on Truls and Trym by giving them a dose of extra-strength fart powder that shoots them up into a tree. All is good farty fun. Until someone steals the industrial-strength fart powder -- which was supposed to make Doctor Proctor famous -- to use for evil purposes...."
The Ever Breath, by Julianna Baggott. "In a world where locust fairies flutter and firebreathers burst from snowbanks, two children are having the adventure of their lives. Truman and his twin sister, Camille, have just met their grandmother . . . and she’s a little strange. She whispers a tale about something called the Ever Breath, an amber orb that maintains the balance between our world and a dreamy one of imagination—and evil. Soon Truman and Camille find themselves in the Breath World, a magical place where ogres clash and a mouse holds the key to a mystery. Some creatures want to help them—and some want them D-E-A-D. That’s because the Ever Breath has been stolen, and an epic battle is raging to bring it safely back. Can the twins save not only one world—but two?"
Gamers' Quest, by George Ivanoff Tark and Zyra are teenaged thieves on a quest. In a world of magic and science, where dragons and mages exist alongside drones and lasers, they endeavor to reach the haven of Designers' Paradise. But their world is not what it appears to be and their haven is about to come under threat of destruction. Can Tark and Zyra save Designers' Paradise ... and their own world?
Hat Trick, by Jason M. Burns. "Hat Trick follows the adventures of Ray, a would-be magician who is introduced to a world of magic through his famous uncle's top hat. With the help of a few of the world's inhabitants, including a six-foot tall talking rabbit named Poof, Ray must uncover his true potential and defeat the evil that is enslaving the world."
I So Don't Do Spooky, by Barrie Summy. "Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Phoenix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula, and the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone’s trying to hurt her. I really don’t want to get involved—my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of brainiac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it’s not like I can just ignore what’s going on. Especially since my mom is competing at the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time. And that means I’ve got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery."
The Jungle Vampire (Awfully Beastly Business), by Dave Sinden, Matthew Morgan, & Guy Macdonald. "Ulf the werewolf is training to become an official Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts (RSPCB) agent. His mission takes him to the jungle in search of a legendary jungle vampire. But the evil Baron Marackai is hot on his trail. Can Ulf and his friends find the vampire first? The future of the RSPCB depends on it...."
Lone Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond), by Kathryn Lasky. ''A wolf mother has given birth, but the warm bundle snuffling next to her brings only anguish. The pup, otherwise healthy, has a twisted leg, and the mother knows what the harsh code of the pack demands. Her pup will be taken from her and abandoned on a desolate hill. The pack cannot have weakness - the wolf mother knows that her pup is condemned to die.But alone in the wilderness, the pup, Faolan, does not perish. This his story - a story of survival, of courage, and of love triumphant. This is Faolan's story, the wolf pup who rose up to change forevever the Wolves of the Beyond."
Pathways to Adventure, by Sandra June Upchurch. "How Angie, Alexis, and James came to be in the same mysterious forest at the same time is as big a mystery to them as it is to anyone else. They soon find themselves entangled in bizarre, other-worldly encounters with talking animals, giant, predatory spiders, and numerous strange pathways, none of which seems to lead back home! Join these adolescents on their odd adventures as each new path they take leads them to some new and daunting challenge. Will they ever find their way back home? Find out in Pathways to Adventure."
Song #3 (The Mysterious Mr. Spines), by Jason Lethcoe. "The third and final book in this series. "Edward McLeod is almost at the end of his journey. He has battled his way through the afterlife, mastered his Guardian powers, and even learned how to fly. Now he must take on the Jackal and fight for all of the trapped souls in the Woodbine. But the Jackal and his formidable army will not be easy to defeat. Is Edward really the destined “Bridge Builder” or will he too fall to the Jackal’s evil forces?"
RuneWarriors: Sword of Doom, by James Jennewein & Tom S. Parker. "Can life get any worse for Dane the Defiant? The same villagers who once praised him for his courage in defeating Thidrek the Terrifying now blame him for everything that has gone wrong since then: The torrential downpours. The dwindling food supplies. Even the rampant outbreaks of armpit lice. Dane's deceased father would never have let things get so bad, the village elders say. But then Dane is summoned to the fortress of King Eldred, where he receives the final piece of his father's legacy: an ancient secret written in mysterious runes that leads to no less than the treasure of the gods. But the treasure, he learns, is cursed, and his mother is kidnapped. And so, braving an army of angry trolls and warring frost giants (and other fantastic creatures there isn't space here to describe), Dane and his friends must decipher the cryptic clues and embark on a quest to find the enchanted treasure and save her life. Oh, and all the while battling ultimate evil. Can Dane be the hero he has always wanted to be? Or will he fall prey to the curse and betray those he loves?
A Whole Nother Story, by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. "The three Cheeseman children, their father, and their psychic dog are all on the run. From whom? Well the CIA, naturally. But also corporate agents #5, #29, and # 207, plus two international superspies -- one of whom happens to be a chimpanzee. They all want Dr. Cheeseman and his late wife's greatest invention–a machine with unspeakable powers–OK, I'll say it. It's a time machine. But it's not working right yet, so put all ideas of time travel out of your head. Instead, please enjoy this high stakes, high action, hijinx-filled chase, and the bizarre characters our Cheeseman friends will meet as they protect not just their parents' invention, but their mother's sacred memory. It's an adventure novel like no other."
The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain. ''Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held. The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.''
Dark Hunter (Villain.net), by Andy Briggs. ''When a mysterious benefactor springs him from Diablo Island penitentiary, Jake Hunter is back on the run, trying to locate the man who wiped out his family’s memories of him and dodging the efforts of the hero Chameleon to track him down. Unfortunately, his benefactor wants something in return—for Jake to kidnap the president of the United States. Sure, Jake’s the most powerful supervillain on earth, but will the ordinary schoolkid in him be up to the deadly challenge? Dark Hunter is an action-packed adventure, full of even more dastardly villains and exciting showdowns and intricately linked to the anti-series, Hero.com.''
Darklight (Wondrous Strange), by Lesley Livingston. ''Faerie can't lie . . . or can they? Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt. Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself. When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power. Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.''
Fallen, by Lauren Kate. "There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her."
Hearts at Stake: The Drake Chronicles, by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry. ''On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family. Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.''
Magic Under Glass, by Jaclyn Dolamore. ''Nimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.
My Soul to Save (Harlequin Teen), by Rachel Vincent. "When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies. So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn't wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can't cry for someone who has no soul. The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad's ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend's loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can't possibly understand. Kaylee can't let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk…."
Stupid Cupid, by Rhonda Stapleton. ''Felicity's no ordinary teen matchmaker...she's a cupid! Felicity Walker believes in true love. That's why she applies for a gig at the matchmaking company Cupid's Hollow. But when Felicity gets the job, she learns that she isn't just a matchmaker...she's a cupid! (There's more than one of them, you know.) Armed with a hot pink, tricked-out PDA infused with the latest in cupid magic (love arrows shot through email), Felicity works to meet her quota of successful matches. But when she bends the rules of cupidity by matching her best friend Maya with three different boys at once, disaster strikes. Felicity needs to come up with a plan to set it all right, pronto, before she gets fired?and before Maya ends up with her heart split in three.''
Virus Attack (Hero.com), by Andy Briggs. ''The villain Basilisk is back, and his nefarious plan to infiltrate Hero.com and take it offline has worked—leaving Toby, Pete, Lorna, and Emily as the only Downloaders left on the planet! It’s up to the four friends to stop Basilisk before his computer virus completely destroys the Hero Foundation . . . but with glitchy, short-circuiting powers and some contention among their ranks, it’ll be no simple task to outwit, outpace, and outplot the evil mastermind. Virus Attack is an action-packed adventure, full of even more creative and exciting powers and intricately linked to the anti-series, Villian.net.''
The Shadow Project, by Herbie Brennan. ''Danny Lipman is a thief . . . until one night he robs the wrong house. He inadvertently breaks into the headquarters of the Shadow Project, a secret government organization where teenage spies are trained to leave their bodies, using astral projection to travel around the world on deadly missions. Danny is captured, but the Project leaders quickly realize he has a special gift. And when a key operative—the director's daughter, Opal—goes missing, he is offered a choice: join the Shadow Project or go to jail.''
Witch & Wizard, by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet. "The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they'd never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents--and maybe the world?"