Dead Girls Society.
By Michelle Krys.
Nov. 2016. 304p. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780553508024);
lib. ed., $19.99 (9780553508031); e-book, $17.99
(9780553508048). Gr. 9–12.
Hope is under no delusions about her
life. Her cystic fibrosis means she won’t live
as long as everyone else, and she alternates
between being able to go to school and having to stay home for long stretches of time.
Her best friend—and secret crush—Ethan
is supportive, but Hope feels like she holds
him back. So when she receives a mysterious invitation directing her to an abandoned
building, she seizes the opportunity to be
reckless. Soon she becomes entangled with
four other girls, all with secrets of their own,
and through means that are part bribery and
part blackmail, she is forced to play an increasingly dangerous game in the swamps
and streets of New Orleans. The ending
comes abruptly, and readers familiar with the
genre will likely put the pieces together early
on, but that won’t dissuade them from following Hope along her breakneck journey.
Highly readable and featuring a teen with a
disability, this is an addictive mystery sure to
appeal to fans of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little
Liars series. —Maggie Reagan
The Door That Led to Where.
By Sally Gardner.
Nov. 2016. 288p. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780399549977);
lib. ed., $20.99 (9780399549984); e-book, $17.99
(9780399549991). Gr. 7–10.
After acing his English exam and failing
every other one, AJ feels fortunate when
his knowledge of Dickens’ novels helps him
land a job as an office boy at Baldwin Groat,
a London law firm. The old place holds
secrets, though, and among them are a mys-
terious old key, the identity of AJ’s father,
and a means of time travel into London circa
1830. Mr. Baldwin’s murder looms over the
narrative. After AJ helps his two best friends
by hiding them in the nineteenth century, a
decision with lasting repercussions, he must
decide where—or rather when—he will
lead his life. Gardner, author of the Printz
Honor Book Maggot Moon (2013), offers a
genre-blending novel with elements of con-
temporary realism, fantasy, historical fiction,
murder mystery, and romance. The settings
and characters are vividly drawn. Resource-
ful and reflective, AJ makes a sympathetic
protagonist, initially trying to make the best
of his meager options, then trying to com-
prehend what’s happening around him,
and finally taking an active role in setting
things right. An original time-travel novel.
Everton Miles Is Stranger than Me.
By Philippa Dowding.
Nov. 2016. 200p. Dundurn, paper, $9.99
(9781459735279). Gr. 7–10.
In Dowding’s series starter, The Strange Gift
of Gwendolyn Golden (2014), Gwen discov-
ered that she’s a Night Flyer, which is exactly
what it sounds like. Now she’s starting ninth
grade and still smarting over her father’s dis-
appearance, and she gets quite a surprise when
she spots a fellow Night Flyer at her school,
Everton Miles. While soaring by the corn
fields one night, she spots a stranger with
flaming feathers, whom she later learns is a
Rogue Spirit Flyer named Abilith, who tricks
Night Flyers into joining him. She needs to
recruit Everton to help, but he thinks Abilith
is just a story to frighten children. Can she
convince him before it’s too late? Dowding
nicely weaves together the magical elements
of Gwen and Everton’s story with Gwen’s
real-life struggles, and she avoids convoluted
explanations and descriptions, which can be
challenging for struggling readers. This is an
enjoyable tale starring a relatable character
experiencing everyday struggles as well as
magical adventure, and as an added bonus, it
can easily stand on its own. —Lindsey Tomsu
Flip the Bird.
By Kym Brunner.
Nov. 2016. 368p. HMH, $17.99 (9780544800854).
Mercer Buddie, would-be falconer and Romeo, cannot believe his luck when he meets
Lucy Hibbard. She is pretty, funny, and
genuinely interested in him. In an attempt
to spend more time with her, Mercer joins
HALT, the militant animal-rights organization to which she and her parents belong.
Unfortunately, HALT’s dogma is in direct
conflict with his mother’s work as a medical
researcher and his father’s work as the owner
of a facility that rehabilitates raptors—not to
mention Mercer’s ambition to learn to hunt
with his red-tailed hawk, Flip. Mercer soon
becomes adept at half-truths and secrets as he
tries to keep Lucy and his parents ignorant of
each other. Mercer is an easygoing teen whose
braggadocio conceals a lack of confidence in
his ability to live up to the standard set by
his older brother, both as a falconer and a lothario. His experiences with HALT help him
realize the importance of understanding the
difference between information and propaganda, and the value in thinking for himself.
A STUNNING STORY OF ONE BOY’S
REDEMPTION BY DEBUT AUTHOR
“A heartwarming tale…as seen through the eyes of a teen surrounded by
love and determined to press on, no matter what.”—Sharon G. Flake,
Coretta Scott King Award–winning author
“Christine Kendall’s powerful debut is full of hope. Her characters fill
each page with resonance that will linger with readers from the book’s
very first words to its final lines.”—Coe Booth
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