Waste of Space.
By Gina Damico.
July 2017. 512p. HMH, $17.99 (9780544633162);
e-book, $17.99 (9780544633315). Gr. 9–12.
Science just isn’t cool enough for funding
anymore. Reality TV has hit a dead zone as
well, so there’s a compromise to be made: a
show that sends teenagers into space. It’s all
fake, but American viewers—and the kids
on board the “spaceship”—don’t need to
know that. Network CEO Chazz joins forces
with NASAW (the National Association for
the Study of Astronomy and Weightlessness; NASA declined to participate) to trick
the world into thinking 10 teens have been
shot into space. America tunes in, ratings skyrocket, and all is going according to plan . . .
until it isn’t. Chazz isn’t pulling the strings he
thinks he is, and it won’t be long before the
jig, which grows steadily more ominous, is
up. Told almost entirely through transcripts
of phone calls, video recordings, and unaired
footage, this is a bitingly satirical look at the
world of reality TV in the vein of Libba Bray’s
Beauty Queens (2011). A sure pick for fans of
sci-fi spoofs, black humor, and unusual formats. —Maggie Reagan
When I Am Through with You.
By Stephanie Kuehn.
Aug. 2017. 304p. Dutton, $17.99 (9781101994733).
Ever since his father left, high-school senior
Ben has been making sacrifices—like saving
his mother by killing his abusive stepfather,
and giving up his future to take care of her
after her car accident. It was different with his
girlfriend Rose, though; she chose him, and he
gave what he could to make her happy. When
Ben and Rose join the orienteering club, their
relationship is tested as a simple backpacking trip with six other students and a teacher
turns into a nightmare of bad luck, terrible
decisions, and disastrous consequences. Not
everyone will make it back down the mountain, but of those who return, only Ben knows
what happened to Rose. Ben, a sympathetic
but increasingly mysterious narrator, tells the
story from jail, an effective suspense-building
tactic. Kuehn’s (Delicate Monsters, 2015) solidly crafted novel is a complicated psychological
study, which never breaks with Ben’s perspective to further explain his motives, and a
tense survival thriller involving sudden snowstorms and, less realistically, escaped convicts.
This chilling, twisty tale will leave readers
grappling with its uncomfortable ending.
Who’s That Girl.
By Blair Thornburgh.
July 2017. 400p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062447777).
Nattie in a nutshell: 17, good at dead lan-
guages, allergic to strawberries, almost been
kissed (twice—once by her good friend Zach,
once by now-graduated hottie Sebastian
Delacroix). Nattie’s content with her wacky
family and her core group of friends—they’re
all members of the gay-straight alliance, and
Nattie’s BFF Tess is the president, currently
leading a charge to raise money for an LGBT-
friendly winter formal. But then Sebastian
rolls back into town with his band, Young
Lungs, and their new hit single, “Natalie.”
For Nattie, whose musical taste leans more
toward Joni Mitchell than hipster rock, this
is both flattering and alarming. Is she really
that Natalie? Do she and Sebastian, who has
started messaging her on social media, actu-
ally have a connection? If they do, what does
that mean for Nattie’s friendship with Zach,
the boy who’s always been there? Charmingly
awkward and rooted in the bonds of friend-
ship more than romance, this is a sweet, funny
debut. Readers will sympathize with Nattie as
she pushes herself out of her comfort zone.
Wicked like a Wildfire.
By Lana Popović.
Aug. 2017. 416p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99
(9780062436832); e-book, $17.99 (9780062436856).
In a village in Montenegro, 17-year-old Iris
lives with her sweet, musical twin sister, Malina, and her harsh, icy mother, Jasmina. Each
possesses a gleam, or unusual magical art:
Jasmina bakes confections that bring to mind
specific locations, while Malina works moods
and emotions into her music. But Jasmina
has forbidden the sisters to speak of their
gleams or to fall in love, for fear of heightening their powers, and Iris’ gift has suffered
as a result. Once, she saw the whole world in
kaleidoscopic fractals, but now only flowers
are magical for her. When Jasmina is attacked
and left all but dead, Iris and Malina come
face-to-face with hidden truths. With the
help of their oldest friends—a pair of Romani
siblings—the twins delve into the secrets of
the ancient, cursed family they never knew
they had. Atmospheric and often sensual, this
first in a duology is a slow-burning fairy tale
about the power of love and the bonds between siblings. Patient readers will find much
to savor. —Maggie Reagan
By Cory Putman Oakes.
July 2017. 320p. HMH, $17.99 (9780544765573); e-book, $17.99 (9781328698902). Gr. 8–11.
After the second inquisition, Natural and
Learned witches find safety in havens. Macie
O’Sullivan jets from one haven to another
with her Natural witch mother, pulling off
cons and then erasing the memories of those
they left behind. When the opportunity
comes to pull off their biggest con at the biggest haven, Witchtown, Macie begins having
doubts, which are compounded when she
learns that Witchtown is harboring powerful
secrets. This genre-blender—think Ocean’s 11
meets Charmed—is an enjoyable coming-of-age tale sure to be a hit with readers who like
their romance or mystery with a hint of the
paranormal. Its story is clever and engaging,
What does it take
to be an astronaut?
And what happens to your
body in outer space?
Find out from someone
who’s been there!
TO BURP: 978-1-55451-853-1 pb
GO FOR LIFTOFF!: 978-1-55451-914-9 pb
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Read a sample chapter on our website.
Read a sample chapter on our website.